Freshly Cut

Meet the SEED20 Class of 2020: El Puente Hispano

Representative: Natalie Marles

El Puente Hispano’s mission is to connect and integrate the Hispanic community in Cabarrus by providing information, education, resources and guidance to foster self-sufficiency and productivity. All El Puente Hispano programs are free and include a diverse range of classes for adults and children and programs focusing on connecting the Latino community to local government and agencies.

How did your organization start?

El Puente Hispano was created in 2017, when a group of Latino professionals from different sectors, aware of the needs and struggles of the Latino community in Cabarrus County, decided to work together to create a nonprofit organization to help Latinos in the county. We are a working board and use our knowledge of the community and work expertise to create initiatives that promote equity and progress and that help strengthen families in our community.

From where does your passion for this cause come?

We have worked with the Latino community in Cabarrus for many years and have seen firsthand the needs and struggles they face. But even more importantly, we know that this is a resilient community that faces adversity with courage and determination. A community with a fractured heart, for leaving their homeland and families behind, but with the will to succeed in a foreign land, looking for a better future for themselves and their children. We want to help them reach that dream.

Why is your work so important?

El Puente Hispano is the only agency serving the Latino community in Cabarrus, and we have many programs aimed to help them succeed. For example, many Latino parents do not speak English and are unable to help their kid with their homework. With our tutoring classes, we work with these children on their reading and math to help them catch up to their peers. We are also helping to bridge the communication gap between the Latino community and local agencies to promote inclusion.

What excites you most about the SEED20 process?

I heard amazing things about the program and the learning opportunities offered. I’m excited to represent this organization and create awareness for the many struggles that the immigrant community is facing at this moment. It goes beyond a political ambivalence or media highlights. I believe it is a great opportunity to show the roots of the immigrant’s families, their stories, their challenges, and the resilience of a community that many times has been misjudged and unappreciated.

What do you hope to gain from the SEED20 experience?

I learned that every experience is a learning opportunity that life gives you. My hope with SEED20 is to experience everything that the program offers, to meet wonderful people, which I believe are doing amazing things for this community, and being able to be a voice for my county and the people that we serve. Also, I hope to do a great job and make an impact on someone’s life! I want to create awareness about the challenges we face, and get assistance that we need.

Facebook: @elpuentehispano

Instagram: @elpuentehispano

Twitter: @puentehispano

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