-By Omar Soussi
Empowerment. This one word defines what Chicanos Por La Causa has been about for the last 49 years.
Created in 1969 during the movement of famous labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) was founded to help those with oppression and empower Latinos in Phoenix, and has grown significantly ever since.
“We do it (empowerment) with a lot of social services,” Gerardo Peña, De Colores Program Director, said. “We get them back into where they need to be in society and we do it through a lot of programs. We have behavioral health, we have housing programs, we have social services, community centers and domestic violence programs.”
CPLC De Colores was founded in 1986 to help those suffering from domestic violence by creating shelters for the victims, giving victims resources and trying to help them deal with their trauma and the repercussions that domestic violence presents. Last year, De Colores served 802 women and children through their shelters and other programs.
This past grant cycle, Fiesta Bowl Charities donated to the CPLC to specifically help the youth portion of these services. By focusing on youth, sports and education, Fiesta Bowl Charities is donating $2.5 million to 60 nonprofits during 2018-19.
“There are a lot of needs for the kids who are in our program. Many of our grants primarily focus on the needs of the mothers and the fathers who are being served,” Peña said. “So a lot of times the kids that are sheltered don’t get enough resources and attention and they have huge needs. These are children that have suffered the same trauma that their parents have, they’ve been uprooted from their homes and are living in a shelter.”
The Fiesta Bowl Charities grant will help CPLC De Colores provide a safe space for children to heal from trauma and abuse, alleviating the stress that prevents academic ability and achievement.
Specifically, the grant will address three actions: adding a youth advocate to provide children the support they need, funding events and activities for the children to go and providing the equipment they need on campus, whether it’s for sport or educational needs.
Peña said it’s amazing for his organization to be supported by Fiesta Bowl Charities.
“The Fiesta Bowl organization is really well-respected and it’s really clear that the organization wants to help the community based on all the grants they’ve given in the past to a lot of needy organizations,” Peña said. “So being recognized by the Fiesta Bowl, to want to help us, because they’re well-respected, it’s an honor to be a part of that group. The Fiesta Bowl has such a great track record of helping the community.”
With Hispanic Heritage Month being celebrated from September 15 – October 15, this is one of the many nonprofit Hispanic-focused organizations that are trying to improve the lives of many people within the southwest region of the United States.
For more information on Chicanos Por La Causa and how to get involved, click here.