As of 2020, more than 30% of Arizona’s total population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.
Within this large, diverse community, there is also economic hardship. According to the SRP-sponsored 2020 DATOS report provided annually by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the poverty rate for Hispanic or Latino individuals in the state sits at 19%. Meanwhile, the poverty rate for white individuals is 9%.
Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) , a Phoenix-based nonprofit, is working to address that gap. As a longtime community partner and grant recipient of SRP, CPLC works to help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency through a variety of programs that address affordable housing, accessible healthcare, meaningful work, quality education and more.
In 2020 alone, CPLC served 628,406 individuals.
CPLC provides resources for the Hispanic community
One of CPLC’s programs is the Centro De La Familia , housed at CPLC’s Maryvale Community Service Center. The Centro provides behavioral health services to the traditionally underserved West Phoenix Hispanic community.
In late 2020, as COVID-19’s effects reverberated through West Phoenix Hispanic and Latino communities at an alarming rate, one of SRP’s 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) decided to help the Centro in a meaningful way.
The ¡Hablamos SRP! ERG facilitates networking and development opportunities for Hispanic and Latino employees and their allies. It also raises money for local causes through events like an annual salsa challenge and other fundraising efforts.
SRP’s continued support for Chicanos Por La Causa underscores their commitment to assisting us in advancing our mission of empowering people. It’s an energizing partnership touching thousands of people throughout Arizona”Max Gonzales, Executive Vice President Strategy and Relationship Management
An offer of support
¡Hablamos SRP! wanted to ensure that the Centro and its clients would be supported through the pandemic and beyond. Not being able to meet in person prevented the ERG from hosting their annual fundraising event, but the group got creative.
They hosted a series of events, collected donations and even created a unique salsa cookbook, “Hablamos Salsa y Mas,” that featured recipes from employees across the company and past Salsa Challenge winners.
Erika Castro, a Senior Community Engagement Strategist at SRP, is also the Chair of ¡Hablamos SRP!. She explained that these fundraisers went toward a long-term commitment to the Centro in 2020 and into 2021.
“It’s important to help our most vulnerable communities, especially in these difficult times. The Centro provides essential behavioral health resources that are especially important as families face isolation and changes with the pandemic,” she said.
CPLC provides a vital service
Roberto Del Real, MSW, BHT, an Adult and Youth Clinician, has worked at the Centro for nearly five years. He shared that the support from SRP was helpful during a time when the community’s need was high.
“We’ve had clients that lost a lot of family … We are now offering grief counseling as a new service due to COVID-19,” he said.
With financial support like the one from ¡Hablamos SRP! and a dedicated and passionate staff, Del Real said the Centro has been able to continue its important work.
“A lot of our clients weren’t used to [virtual], and we had to get creative with shorter calls, more frequent checkups,” he said. “And we had to shift to get them additional resources and services. A lot of people lost their work and employment; they were struggling. Our work shifted from 1:1 meetings on behaviors and emotions to discussing what they needed most [and] what resources are available.”
A continued need
As the pandemic continues, the Centro’s services evolve to meet new needs. Donations and financial support from SRP and others mean that the Centro can directly impact vulnerable families in the region.
“We had a family with three siblings whose parents divorced,” Del Real said. “With some of the funds we had, we were able to do an expressive art therapy group to help the kids express themselves.”
He continued, “Not all kids do well in 1:1 therapy, so that was a big game changer. They could come in, and while they weren’t able to talk about their emotions, they could paint. They were struggling with their home life, and it really helped.”
Del Real continued to explain the need for programs. “We go through a lot of supplies trying to help our families. There’s other groups we want to run, but money has held us back.”
But, he explained, “We can do a lot with a little bit.”
Working together for a brighter future
SRP and ¡Hablamos SRP! celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month under the theme “Juntos por un mejor Arizona”: Together for a better Arizona. Together with CPLC, progress is being made.
The company and ERG’s longstanding relationship with CPLC and its Centro De La Familia is just one way in which SRP hopes to continue to work alongside employees, nonprofits, customers and more to strengthen Arizona’s communities for a brighter, more equitable future.
You can join SRP and employees like Erika, who make a difference at work and in the community every day. Learn more about career opportunities at SRP today.