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Women Leading the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

Women Leading the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

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Serving as Executive Director of the Hispanic Center, Evelyn Esparza works with a dedicated team to bring opportunities and prosperity to the Hispanic community. With a focus on building lasting relationships with the community, Evelyn, and her team work tirelessly to bridge the gap that makes it harder for community members to access important resources and services.

Background in Social Work

Before getting involved with the Hispanic Center, Evelyn worked for over four years at Family Futures, a non-profit organization that supports families in need with the overall goal of helping children reach their full potential. In a recent interview, Evelyn explains how her experience at Family Futures prepared her for her work at the Hispanic Center:

“I gained experience and knowledge in Accounting, Human Resources, program development and implementation, fundraising, and overall non-profit office administration. I consider myself a mission-driven individual and am so lucky to be able to use my passion for my work to help our Latino community to achieve their goals by creating a space and programming where they see what’s possible and provide resources to help make that happen.”

Evelyn Esparza, Alejandra Meza, Holly Rea Clarkson, and Jocelyne Romero.

Evelyn’s hard work and talent for non-profit management were eventually noticed by two board members of the Hispanic Center, who contacted her about some financial struggles the organization was facing. Evelyn notes that she was ready to get involved almost instantly, as she truly wanted to be part of rebuilding a lasting foundation for a community so close to her heart.

Involvement with the Hispanic Center
Evelyn strives to make the Hispanic Center a welcoming place that treats clients with dignity, respect, and reassurance. In doing so, she hopes to set up families for ongoing success and support them along the way. While explaining her role, Evelyn makes sure to note that she wouldn’t be able to get the amazing results she has without her team:

“Alejandra Meza, Holly Rea Clarkson, and Jocelyne Romero have been working for the organization for over four years and bring different knowledge, perspectives, and expertise when we are making important decisions for the organization…we focus on building relationships with our community based on trust by listening to their concerns and responding to their needs. As a leadership team, we strive to create a welcoming, open, transparent, and safe environment where our staff can grow, feel empowered, and thrive.”

See Also

At the end of the day, Evelyn wants the Hispanic Center to be viewed as a place where people can go when they need allies. She notes that many of their clients often live without health insurance and require assistance to access preventative care or mental health support. Language barriers and documentation restrictions can also prevent families from accessing food pantries and other services. The Hispanic Center removes those barriers, so clients can focus on living a fulfilling life with their families.

Clients usually begin by visiting the center and sitting down with a navigator to assess their specific needs. Once the assessment is complete, clients are directed to the most appropriate resources for them. The main programs are Family Support Services, Youth and Education, Workforce Development, and Language Services. More specific needs can be addressed under each topic and Evelyn recommends that all community members take some time to visit their website to get information on everything the center has to offer.

Haz clic para leer en Español: Mujeres al frente del Centro Hispano del Oeste de Michigan

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