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29 Nov 22 96 0 0

'Small town, big heart': How a nonprofit collective is leading Guadalupe's transformation

Cool Story - 'Small town, big heart': How a nonprofit collective is leading Guadalupe's transformation

A nonprofit organization named Los Amigos de Guadalupe is one of the main forces behind the expansion, redevelopment, and revitalization of Guadalupe, a city in Santa Barbara County with a sizable Hispanic/Latino population.

Building community resilience

• Three women are seated at one of the numerous tables that are occupied inside the spacious, sunny area of Guadalupe's elders’ center.

• Odelia Nio, one of the women, has been a resident of Guadalupe since she was 12 years old.

• "Now, I'm 64. I visit the seniors' [center] here to socialize with my pals and have fun. We occasionally enjoy playing Mexican Bingo for one or two pence for each card, she remarked.

• The seniors center's closing at the height of the COVID pandemic, according to Nio, was terrible for her.

• "It was abandoned for about two years. I was completely idle. I have a puppy and I live alone," she stated.

• She now visits the center every day from Monday through Friday.

• I voluntarily offer to set out the coffee, the napkins, the sugar, the salt, and the pepper. Since I live alone, it's enjoyable for me to leave the house.

• She goes home and spends time with her puppy after she leaves this place.

• Yes, she is awful. She embodies Dennis the Menace! She'll tear up any napkins I leave out, so I can't. Therefore, coming here is pleasant since we are like family.

• Guadalupe seems to be infused with a sense of belonging and a readiness, even an eagerness, to volunteer.

• Recent years have seen an increase in opportunities for socializing, networking, volunteering, and, as Odelia put it, having fun. Los Amigos de Guadalupe, a local charity organization, is largely to blame for this.

• Tom Brandeberry founded Los Amigos de Guadalupe, which has collaborated with the city to discover, apply for, and administer funding. In Brandeberry's opinion, the objective is to boost community resilience.

"How do we take what is already a very close-knit community and fairly resilient anyhow, and how do we build on that resilience?" is at the heart of the Guadalupe resilience strategy and effort.

Guadalupe nonprofit coalition strengthening

• The Dunes Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Guadalupe Dunes, is located a few blocks from the Senior Center on Highway 1. For the general public and schools, they provide educational programs, tours, information, and maps.

The outreach coordinator of the center is Christina Hernandez.

 

• I have incredibly deep ties to the community because I have reared in Guadalupe my entire life despite being born in Santa Maria, she said.

• Hernandez has served on the Los Amigos board for two years and frequently gives back to the community.

• I began doing volunteer work in Guadalupe thanks to Mayor Ariston Julian. He reached out his hand and invited my family and me to collaborate with him.

• Over the course of the following year, the NGOs will continue to meet, and Hernandez is hopeful that they will ultimately decide to establish a committee or alliance.

• "I think it's time for all of our nonprofits to get to know one another, for our city council to be aware of what they're doing, and for them to be able to collaborate. We can ensure that we have the greatest impact feasible in this way," she said.

• In addition to his voluntary work, which included representing the Lions Club at a nonprofit gathering, Hernandez is running unopposed for the Guadalupe City Council in the November election.

Fostering the Guadalupe spirit

Lunch is ready at the senior center, so Belinda Popovich must be in the kitchen. She oversees the senior food program for Los Amigos de Guadalupe, works as a residential real estate agent, and is secretary on the organization's board.

Popovich volunteers an average of 35 hours per week and arrives at the center five mornings a week at 7 a.m. to prepare lunch for elders. She enlisted the aid of her mother-in-law and an adult nephew to assist in preparing, serving, and delivering the meals to the elderly who are unable to travel to the senior center.

"We can make all of these meals because the city is letting us use the kitchen for our seniors."

Fresh salad, tortilla soup, and brown rice with sauteed onion and acorn squash are all on the menu today. Popovich stated that she keeps a high standard for the cuisine they provide and believes that everyone deserves delicious, wholesome food like this.

It means the world to me to know that everyone who qualifies for a meal here, regardless of their income, is seated at the same table and eating the same delicious food "She spoke.

"The goal should go beyond simply producing nutrient-dense food. I'm not about to feed kids something that I wouldn't eat myself. That's what we're aiming for because I want to be offered food here that I enjoy eating.

"I mean, it's like a renaissance for Guadalupe, really helping us to reach our stride again — get those funding that we need, get those initiatives back in operation," said the spokesperson. As a result, the community gains more equity, which is what I believe is the main motivator.

Popovich was there at the nonprofits' gathering in Guadalupe as well. The Fund of Santa Barbara donation has significance and importance for her.

"I had no idea there were so many organizations in our area. Because everyone is isolated in their bubble and we are incredibly disorganized, "She spoke. "Because we're all collaborating, I believe it's essential for the nonprofit sector in Guadalupe to flourish.

"Since Guadalupe has always been the underdog and must essentially stand out for itself, all of the charities operating here are driven to bring equity.

Popovich claimed that she and many of the volunteers she knows are unfazed by the difficulty since they all desire equity.

I'm going to kick the door down because that's how Guadalupeans are raised, so if you slam it in my face, "She spoke.

Guadalupe already had that fortitude and fortitude. The sole purpose of Los Amigos de Guadalupe is to nurture it.

The above article is selected by CoolDeeds.org. The information and the assets belong to their respective owners (original link).


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