Community Partner Spotlight: Mixteca
Last summer, The Fresh Air Fund partnered with Mixteca as part of the Summer Spaces program to provide New York City children, ages 5 to 12, with engaging and fun activities in their own Brooklyn community. Fresh Air kids were able to play sports, create art, make new friends and special memories!
Mixteca’s mission is to empower the Mexican and Latin-American immigrants of the New York area by providing them access to services that enhance their quality of life and will allow them to reach sustainable social and economic development.
Mixteca offers a variety of programs and services that respond to the specific needs of immigrant families and aim to build a supportive environment for the growing Mexican and Latin-American immigrant community. Chief of Programs Vianey Romero-Mendez recently shared with us more about Mixteca and the partnership with The Fresh Air Fund.
Q: Can you share about Mixteca’s programs and the community you serve?
A: Mixteca serves the Latinx and Indigenous Immigrant communities in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and the broader New York Metropolitan area. Mixteca’s culturally competent staff and community-led programs and services respond to the host of critical immigration, health, education, and social needs facing immigrant communities.
Our culturally and linguistically competent staff can maneuver both English and Spanish seamlessly. We have also developed a network of indigenous language-speakers with the following Indigenous languages: K’iche, Mixteco (Tu’Savi), Nahuatl, and Mije. As a long-serving community-based organization working in underserved Latinx communities throughout New York City where government resources and information are often viewed with mistrust, Mixteca intentionally integrates benefits access information and application assistance into each aspect of our direct service work. We conduct outreach and advocacy work in Spanish and four Indigenous languages, working to build trust among newly-arrived immigrants and longtime New Yorkers alike.
Q: How has your partnership with The Fresh Air Fund had an impact on the children and families you work with?
A: Mixteca’s partnership with The Fresh Air Fund during the past summer allowed Mixteca’s community to participate in the Fund’s Summer Spaces program. Oftentimes, families in our community lack access to educational activities in which their children can participate. Families of Latinx and Indigenous communities often do not have the financial resources to send their children to summer camps and must leave children at home the entire summer.
Our underserved communities seek spaces in which children can learn and have fun, especially during the summer. Bringing The Fund’s Summer Spaces program to Mixteca allowed parents to continue with the work responsibilities while their children participated in fun yet educational activities. Children enjoyed the activities provided in the Summer Spaces, from playing games to reading books and building friendships.
Q: Can you share more about your experience with The Fund’s Summer Spaces program last summer? Do you have a favorite Summer Spaces memory?
A: It was a wonderful experience both for Mixteca and our community. The Fresh Air Fund staff were kind and helpful to families. Children truly enjoyed their time. One of the most memorable moments was when the Brooklyn Public Library arrived with a portable mini library. It was nice for the children to have the ability to read in a space outside. Often, families do not have the time to go to the public library and the possibility of bringing the library to the children was exciting for them. The last day of the summer spaces program was bittersweet – seeing children cry. They enjoyed their time and valued the bonds they created. It demonstrates that our community is in great need of such programs for the growth and development of children.
Q: Looking ahead, what excites you most about Mixteca’s partnership with The Fund?
A: The possibility of providing more families with the opportunity to participate. To continue providing safe, fun, and educational spaces for our communities, who are often left out.
Thanks to Mixteca for helping provide information about The Fund’s summer programs to children and families. Learn more about our summer 2023 programs and how to sign up here!