Motivational, courageous, and determined are three words that can best define the members of El Centro Latino/Latin American Culture Club (LACC.) These members have not only made a difference here on campus, but have also shared their knowledge and leadership skills with the rest of the community.
El Centro Latino is a program found in Student Programs and is managed by Program Director Joav Gomez, and Co-Director Milton Orellana. LACC is a student club that works in collaboration with El Centro Latino and is managed by President Carlos Simental, and Vice President Andrea Torres.
This program and club work together, and their goal is to help Bellevue College students, whether Latino or non-Latino, excel both academically and personally. They also seek to educate and inform the student body and the community about Hispanic culture, and the importance of Hispanic youth getting a higher education.
“We create events for everyone to come (multicultural events) and educate the student body about the Hispanic/Latino culture. We also help educate the community about the importance of Hispanic students going towards a higher education.” Milton Orellana, Co-Director of El Centro Latino.
Recent events El Centro Latino/LACC has hosted include The DREAM Act event and the Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Future events include a partnership with the Rotaract Club and The Jibsheet, in which El Centro Latino/LACC will be contributing to the “Fill the Ambulance” project from May 16- May 19 with the hope of raising school supplies and medical supplies for people in Nicaragua.
“LACC has been developing relationships with other student clubs like P2P, OSLA, BSU to bring ideas together and build a stronger campus community.” Andrea Torres, Vice President of LACC.
One way the club/program has been involved with the community is by joining local organizations that focus on the Latino population. El Centro Latino/LACC has connections with the Washington DREAM Act Coalition, as well as the Immigrant Youth Association (NIYA.)
“We believe that is it essential to stay informed in order to provide the best possible resources to the Latino student body. We will continue to work towards positive change, and encourage more Latinos to obtain a higher education.” Said Torres.
In addition to joining local organizations, El Centro Latino/LACC works with the Bellevue School District by attending middle schools and high schools where they mentor and motivate young Hispanic students to get a higher education.
With Hispanics being a minority in today’s society, members from El Centro Latino/LACC believe it is important to teach the Hispanic youth that they can be as successful as any other student. In addition, members from this program/club believe it is important to educate the community about the importance the Hispanic population has in our world today.
“Latinos especially, we are the lowest minority enrolled in colleges and being in higher education not only proves that we are equal like everyone else but we are contributing to the diversity of the world by bringing the Latino community into schools.” Monica Mendoza, Secretary of LACC.
El Centro Latino and LACC are found in Student Programs located at C212 above the cafeteria.