Casa Latina is an educational and cultural center located in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Casa Latina was established more than 40 years ago by area Latinos to represent, celebrate, and advocate for the Latino community. Today, Casa Latina promotes Latino empowerment and cultural pride through its popular education programming, its community activities, and its access services, which include a medical interpreting service and an information & referral program.
Casa Latina’s popular education programs bring groups of low-income Latino community residents together to explore the causes behind the serious hardships that face local Latinos. Casa Latina also carries out a variety of community activities that allow local Latinos to celebrate our history, to develop a shared awareness of important health and social issues, and to advocate for our needs and dreams. Through Casa Latina’s access services, local Latinos in need of social and health
services, interpretation, translation, and advocacy learn to navigate an often-complicated – and primarily English-speaking – system of service provision.
Casa Latina is of as well as for the local Latino community. Latino community members are actively represented at all levels of its programming and leadership. Latino youth, Latina women, Latino elders, Latino fathers – Casa Latina provides opportunities for all sectors of the community to participate in its work.
Too often, Latinos are represented to the society at large by our community’s struggles. At Casa Latina, Latinos are recognized for our strengths, our potential, and our cultural values. Casa Latina’s work is pro-active rather than reactive and focuses on formulating collective solutions to social issues.
Casa Latina’s presence and programming in the community are intended to
facilitate processes of change: Change in the lives of marginalized Latinos, change in the overall well-being of our community, and, eventually, change in the societal structures that keep many local Latinos poor and disenfranchised. Casa Latina is a place where Latinos come in from the margins, in from a society that does not value our language or our customs, and in from a system that keeps us ignorant of our own oppression and our own capacity. At Casa Latina, Latinos work together towards a brighter future for our families and our community.
Casa Latina carries out this work with the energy and commitment of a small paid staff, an active volunteer Board of Directors, and a network of community volunteers.
Although in past years Casa Latina has received a substantial portion of its funding from state agencies, today the majority of its operating funds comes from local and private sources, including individual community members, The United Way of Hampshire County, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Highland Valley Elder Services, the Northampton Community Development Block Grant Program, The Women’s Fund, Western Massachusetts Community Foundation, and others.