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Washtenaw United: Creating A Better Future For The Local Latinx Community With Buenos Vecinos

May 13, 2019

Charo Ledón, creator of Buenos Vecinos
Credit United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

A recent study concluded that Washtenaw County does not provide equal opportunities in health, education, and other life essentials to its Latino citizens.  Out of that study, the Buenos Vecinos collaborative was formed to make such things more available.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks about the program with its leader Charo Ledón and the UWWC's director of community impact, Bridget Healy.  


WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'

About Charo Ledón

Latino community leader, advocate and Certified Legal Interpreter.  Having lived in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area since 1974, she has seen the community grow and diversify. She has owned and operated several businesses in the area and has had the opportunity to serve the community in a variety of settings for three decades.  She is particularly well acquainted with the challenges, struggles and strengths of Latinos. 

With passion for service, she is willing to pursue many different approaches to advocate for the personal growth, advancement and well-being of all members of her community. 

Currently working with a group of Latino community members calling themselves Buenos Vecinos to promote resilient Latinx leadership and powerful connections across Washtenaw County by igniting ideas, strengthening trust, and building relationships.

About Bridget Healy, MNM, MPA.

Bridget Healy, Director of Community Impact for United Way of Washtenaw County
Credit United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

As the Director of Community Impact for United Way of Washtenaw County, she is responsible for establishing, leading, and executing United Way’s community impact agenda of grant making, financial stability programs, and community partnerships.  Her professional experience in the United Way network spans from coast to coast, having worked at United Ways in Florida, Washington, and now Michigan. She has worked within the public/nonprofit sector for more than a decade and is a native of Miami, FL.

United Way of Washtenaw County, through our partnership with the Washtenaw Coordinated Funders, has been investing in capacity building efforts of Buenos Vecinos for the last three years.  Why?  Because strong programs and services are driven by strong organizations.

About Buenos Vecinos

Buenos Vecinos, the collaborative led by Charo Ledon, was born out of the Latino Health Survey conducted by the Washtenaw County Health Department.   Survey findings revealed inequities between Latinx people in our community as compared to other populations.  For Charo and others, this was an opportunity to come together to provide resource navigation, youth-focused programming, and family health programs that meet the unique needs of Washtenaw County’s growing Latinx population.

Below is an overview of our investments to date in building the capacity of Buenos Vecinos to better serve our Latinx neighbors:

Year                                                         UWWC Investment                         Total Support                           2016-17                                                       $15,000                                                     $55,000

2017-18                                                       $10,187                                                       $15,187

2018-19                                                      $30,000                                                     $75,000

  

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu