Diana Soler is a current board member of Casa Latina. We asked her to tell us her Casa Latina story.
My Casa Latina Story
by Diana Soler
Love God, love my life, love my kids, love my Community. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” by Mahatma Gandhi.
I moved to Northampton in 2011 with my daughters, Camila Guerrero and Melissa Lisboa. We were homeless for a year. In 2012, we relocated to a Hampshire Heights housing apartment. I found housing, friends, agencies that supported us, but something was still missing in our life. One day a person knocked on our door. I was hesitant to open the door because I felt isolated, and I did not speak English well. It was an outreach worker from Casa Latina who spoke to me in Spanish and wanted to invite me to a community meeting. At the time I was an ESL student at Holyoke Community College.
I decided to attend to the meeting with my daughters. I found a safe space with childcare for my daughters. It was a workshop about how to start an association in my housing complex. I learned more about my rights as a tenant, community involvement and Casa Latina services. After that, I was connected to Casa Latina. I found a community of people that share the same struggles. Thru the years, I was invited to participate in different programs that Casa Latina offered like the Women’s Financial Literacy program, the Three Kings Day celebration; I also accepted invitations to participate in community organization like Families with Power and the Northampton Council on Aging, etc.
The missing part in our lives was community participation. My daughters and I are proactive members in our community. I started volunteering at Casa Latina in 2014, I did work study through HCC and worked as an outreach worker for MassHealth; in the present, I am an active board member for Casa Latina. I work for Community Action as a Head Start Enrollment counselor for Hampshire County. I am a volunteer for Free Tax assistance program; I am an active member of Families with Power. Camila participates at the YMCA youth group. We are not longer strangers in our community.