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‘It means a lot:’ Cabarrus County Schools connects Hispanic population with community organizations at resource night

The school district is connecting families with educational, health, and other resources
On Tuesday, the district prepared to host its Hispanic Family Resource Night at Jay M. Robinson High School.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:22 PM EDT
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - The Cabarrus County School district is bringing community organizations to the forefront for the Hispanic/Latino community.

On Tuesday, the district prepared to host its Hispanic Family Resource Night at Jay M. Robinson High School.

Participating organizations included El Puente Hispano, the Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Public Library and Charlotte Legal Advocacy.

“The resource night for Hispanic families probably has a bigger attendance than probably any other resource night just because we do look for that and for the information in our language,” said Cabarrus County Schools parent Willmarie Austin.

Austin is from San Juan Puerto Rico and her daughter is in the seventh grade.

She says her daughter struggled with math at the height of the pandemic as she made the transition from in-person to remote learning.

Austin attended and volunteered at Tuesday’s event with a local Girl Scouts troop.

Austin says it’s critical that the school district not only provides these resources but that they also have adequate translators on staff.

“If we want to reach the Latino community, we have to have the information in our language and then we have to have staff who speak the language,” Austin said.

Sandra Torres is the President of El Puente Hispano and works with the Cabarrus Health Alliance.

El Puente Hispano provided an after-school program and has also helped more than 6,000 people get their COVID-19 vaccines.

Torres believes these resources will be a great benefit to students’ overall performance and well-being.

“What people need to understand is education is not 100 percent in the classroom, education is also very important with what happens outside the classroom,” Torres said.

Sandra Torres with El Puente Hispano and the Cabarrus Health Alliance says transportation and language barriers are the biggest obstacles she’s noticed within the Hispanic and Latino community.

Austin says she’s thankful to be bilingual but says not all parents are and that getting automated and electronic messages in English only aren’t helpful for parents, which is why she says having in-person translators are important.

“It means a lot because a lot of people literally get lost in translation,” Austin said.

Parents will also get hands-on help with pre-k through 12 registration and the Cabarrus Health Alliance will be providing health care resources.

“We are also going to have vaccines from the Cabarrus Health Alliance and we are going to have dental services also,” Torres said.

English as a second language and legal advocacy workers will also be present.

From health care to after-school programs, Austin says this is also an opportunity to build better relationships with both students and families.

“Being in the Latino community you work on trust anything that you do, you have to trust that business, that person, that school system,” Austin said.

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