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OWCAP seeks Spanish speakers to help Circles program participants

By Tim Vandenack - | Feb 13, 2022

Photo supplied, Ogden-Weber Community Action Group

The photo, from July 2019, shows a group that took part in an earlier Ogden-Weber Community Action Group Circles program. Photographed, from left, are Cylena Bumpers, Samantha DeVroom, Zachary DeVroom, Marina Simmons, Melannie Chee, Rosaline Hester and Alejandra Bernal.

OGDEN — The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership is seeking Spanish speakers to help as mentors.

For the first time, the Ogden-based social services agency is sponsoring a cohort in its Circles program made up solely of native Spanish speakers. Circles — launched in Weber County in 2016 — aims to assist those trapped in the cycle of poverty, imparting a range of skills that participants can use to improve their lot.

“It teaches skills to families that don’t have that knowledge handed down from the previous generation,” said Aubrey Allen, chairperson of the OWCAP board of trustees.

For the first part of the recurring program, Circles participants take a series of classes over 12 weeks on a range of topics — home budgeting, maintaining relationships with bosses, communication skills and more. “Those aren’t things taught in families that have been in poverty a long time,” Allen said.

After that, participants are paired with a mentor who can continue working with them to redouble the messages learned. “The purpose of the initiative is to support families in poverty by surrounding them with others who have jobs, housing and other successes that can offer hands-on advice and help,” reads an OWCAP press release.

That’s where the call for help from the public comes in. The first 12-week part of the class is winding down and OWCAP needs Spanish-speaking volunteers to keep working with the Circles participants in coming months. The current slate of participants come from Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Honduras.

“We want to build trust in our Spanish-speaking cohort,” said Jordan Barrett, OWCAP’s program manager.

While Circles programs operate around the country, Latinos have previously taken part in groups here in Weber County. The new group made up of native Spanish speakers, though, is the first of its type, here or anywhere in the United States.

OWCAP aims to help those in need here and Latinos — some of them immigrants, some native born — make up more than 30% of the population in Ogden.

For more information, people can contact Nicki Bray at OWCAP by calling 801-399-9281, extension 501.


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