Constant Improvement Through Generosity

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Latin American Community Center
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of the Latin American Community Center is to advocate for and assist the Latino community and others, by offering resources and programs that promote empowerment and an enhanced quality of life while celebrating our diverse cultures.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Latin American Community Center (The Latin Center) is the oldest and largest community service provider focusing on the needs of the Latino community in the state of Delaware. For 40 years the Latin Center’s dedicated bilingual, bicultural staff has provided a wide array of services – helping Latinos meet their immediate needs while teaching them skills to increase their self-sufficiency for the years ahead.

Major programs include:

Family Support Services: provides crisis alleviation, case management, domestic violence treatment, licensed addictions treatment, parent health education and parenting training. Last year over 200 families received emergency assistance, 30 families increased family income, two families moved out of subsidized housing, and 80 women took steps to end cycles of domestic violence.

Early Childhood Development: provides day care and preschool for young children committed to ensuring children achieve age-appropriate developmental milestones prior to starting kindergarten. 100 children participate in these programs, with another 50 children on the program’s waiting lists.

Youth Services: before and after school and summer day camp programs provide young people between six and 12 years of age with homework help, tutoring, mentoring, enrichment and recreational opportunities while their parents are working; and youth ages 13 to 18 participate in evening enrichment where they receive technology training, academic mentoring, and other support services.

Outreach Programs: provide substance abuse prevention; HIV/AIDS awareness and testing; information and referral for the elderly; and lead-based paint remediation. Last year over 200 people received HIV testing, over 600 people participated in substance abuse prevention workshops, and lead paint remediation was completed in 110 dwellings in Wilmington, DE.

Workforce Development: provides job counseling and placement, adult basic education, computer training, and financial literacy. Last year 222 adults were placed in employment and over 100 participated in one or more adult education classes.

Mental Health: The Latin Center’s Family Mental Health Program is the state’s only bilingual, culturally competent outpatient mental health center providing individual, family and group counseling.

Donated Microsoft software has helped the Latin American Community Center maximize its impact by:

Stabilizing/securing technology infrastructure

Security: The Latin Center, as a result of a donated Microsoft Exchange email server from Tech Soup, is able to centralize its information technology-related security, and is therefore not required to outsource such services. This greatly reduces the risk of any information-related security breach and allows more efficient and effective data management. Further, the donated Microsoft Exchange server enables the Latin Center to manage security by setting its own unique security and privilege roles.

In addition, the installation of Microsoft Office Suite has permitted the in-house implementation of accounting software used by the Finance Department (Financial Edge) further guaranteeing data safety, convenience and minimizing costs.

Convenience: Microsoft Exchange also provides additional convenience to staff, who are able to access agency email off-site via the web without sacrificing security.

Optimizing mission delivery by integrating technology into programs and service delivery

The Microsoft Office Suite and Windows donation from Tech Soup have exponentially improved mission delivery in the following ways:

Microsoft Windows provides a platform that permits the functioning of additional software, such as TimeClock Plus, which the Latin Center uses to record employee work hours.

Microsoft Explorer is essential to supporting Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) web-based software (which is not supported by MAC). This software is essential to the Latin Center’s activities as it tracks program outcomes (which are critical to evaluating program effectiveness and continued funding). Furthermore, high school students in the Center’s High School Credit Recovery Program use Explorer to access their assignments and complete online activities. A partnership between the Latin American Community Center and the Red Clay School District, the credit recovery program has, since 2004, made it possible for 71 seniors who dropped out or were at risk of dropping out to graduate with their class. Additionally, 153 students in grades 9 to 11 made up missed coursework and got back on track for graduation. In 2007, the High School Credit Recovery Program received the Crystal Star Award of Excellence in Dropout Recovery from Clemson University’s National Dropout Prevention Center.

Microsoft Office has enabled the Latin Center to design and produce flyers, pamphlets and advertising materials of professional quality through the use of Microsoft Publisher. This has helped increase awareness of the services offered by the Latin Center, thereby increasing the number of individuals served. Microsoft Publisher is also used to design and create professional business cards used by the entire staff, raising the Center’s profile and professional presentation. Microsoft Access is used to maintain and manage information on (as well as to track the progress of) job seekers that utilize the Latin Center’s services every day through its Workforce Development program. This improves mission delivery by making the program coordinator aware of trends and challenges among job seekers, and allowing him to then propose solutions to identified challenges more quickly and efficiently. Microsoft PowerPoint is likely the most widely used of all Office applications here at the Latin Center. It is utilized to display information at nearly every one of the Latin Center’s annual events, and is used by program coordinators to present information for education sessions. Through the use of graphs, charts and designs, the software displays information in both text and graphic form, thereby accommodating the different learning styles of diverse audiences. PowerPoint also allows management to inform directors, funders and local officials of program accomplishments and outcomes (which are critical to ensure continued funding of critical programs). Many of the Latin Center’s clients, through their knowledge of and ability to use Microsoft Office Suite, have become empowered to seek (and have obtained) employment that utilizes their newly acquired skills. This is a perfect example of implementing the Latin Center’s mission, especially with regard to ‘promoting empowerment.’

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery