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La Liga de Las Americas

SAO and Adelante Santa-up to help families for Navidad


While most teens are hanging out or talking on the phone, a dozen area Latino youth were playing Santa’s helpers in the rain on Tuesday December 12, 2006—El Día de La Virgen.


Students from Adelante- Latino Resource Center collaborated with Toledo’s Spanish American Organization (SAO) to adopt five Latino families in need for the holidays.


Adelante is a non-profit agency, servicing the needs of the South End of Toledo, in a multitude of areas including: domestic violence, drug/alcohol abuse, smoking, and ESL. It is directed by Sonia Troche.


The SAO is a non-profit organization that strives to reflect on Latino culture and assist in a variety of community programs. It has monthly meetings at Latinos Unidos/Latins United.  The SAO, for example, has this annual Navidad drive for needy families and hosts an annual scholarship fundraising activity every year with La Prensa called Latino Scholarship Day with the Toledo Mud Hens, slated for July 15 next year.


Bob Salazar, a SAO Trustee and former president, states that for over ten years the Spanish American Organization distributed food baskets and Christmas gifts to families in need. SAO members contribute year round to the Latino community by providing educational scholarships and cultural unity among Spanish-speaking Americans.


Students from local high schools enrolled in Adelante’s Youth Enrichment Program conducted a canned food drive to help support SAO’s Adopt-a- Family Project. Students exchanged donated flowers sponsored by Ken’s Flower Shop and Lee Winter Flowers for canned goods and toiletries to give to the families.


Students joined SAO to help sort, wrap, and deliver the holiday packages to local families. Adelante student, Marquia Graham stated: “I enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community. I learned that a lot of people don’t have much and I shouldn’t take what I have for granted.”


Sixteen year old Keira Ramos adds: “It made me feel good to see the kids’ faces light up when we walked in the house with Christmas gifts.” 


Seventeen year old Nicki Muñoz, a junior at Bowsher High School, commented: “I felt proud to be a young Latina uniting with the members of the Spanish American Organization to help our Hispanic community.”


This is the first time SAO and Adelante students collaborated for the Adopt-a-Family Project. Youth Coordinator, Andreanna Rivera concluded: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed this project. Many of them stated that it really made them stop and think of their own families and homes and to appreciate what they have around them.


“They felt good to be a part of something so wonderful as to give back to the Latino community. As teens, they often feel that they are too young to make a difference and our program teaches them to be leaders in addition to making a difference in their communities.”


According to Rivera, “Adelante is committed to educating and empowering the Latino community and wanted to be a part of making a difference.”


Editor’s Note: Adelante Youth Coordinator Andreanna Rivera asked La Prensa to highlight high school students who have made Honor Roll this quarter and participate in Adelante’s Youth Enrichment Program. These after-school programs are facilitated on-site at the students respective schools. The students are:


Woodward High School

Alyssa Chegar

Keisha Wilcox

Natalie Guzmán

Share McCreary

Yalona Blair

Raul Avalos

Jesus Rivera

Aretha Gilmer

Mark Gilmer

Shanaya Lucas-Byrd

Paigeland VanDenk

Cierra Howell


Central Catholic School

Cierra Howell

Paascha Williams

Connie Hawkins


Libbey High School

Luis Pérez


Glass City Academy

Sedrenai Harris







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