Cultivando Respeto (Cultivating Respect): Engaging the Latino Community
This article addresses an innovative approach to connecting an urban university with the surrounding neighborhoods comprised of Latino immigrants, who represent potential new students or current students’ family members. The National Latino Research Center (NLRC) uses popular education, culturally informed, and linguistically relevant strategies to engage diverse Latino communities in the northern region of San Diego County in California. Methods of engaging the Latino community include cultivating long-term relationships, responding to time-sensitive community crises, facilitating inter-generational connections, presenting material in a culturally informed and relevant way, providing hands-on experiences with civic engagement, and growing partnerships within the university and among non-profits. Preliminary findings described a two-year study on civic engagement testing the effectiveness of a Spanish-language curriculum based on popular education offered (free) to members of urban and rural low-resourced Latino communities. The Center statistically correlated Latino community members’ experiential learning, participating in social media, and voting with gains in civic engagement knowledge.
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