'Family Fair' Event to Help Local Hispanic Residents

March 20, 2008

by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

For Hispanic residents in Waco who need assistance with services such as banking and money management, literacy, learning English and immigration services, several Baylor University and community organizations will hold a Family Fair from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 29, at Calvary Baptist Church, located at 18th and Bosque in Waco.

Sponsored by the Community Race Relations Coalition Immigration Committee, Amnesty International and the Ruth Project, the Family Fair will incorporate area banks, churches and other community organizations to provide assistance and information to Hispanic residents and their families.

Representatives from five local banks, area churches, the League of Women Voters, Waco Community Development, Habitat for Humanity, the Ruth Project, the Baylor chapter of National Association of Social Workers, Baylor Social Work's Center for Literacy and the LEAF (Learning English Among Friends) program will be present at the event. There also will be live music and food available for purchase.

"The immigrant population is very vulnerable because they lack much of the necessary documentation that official citizens have," said Tihara Vargas, a Baylor Social Work graduate student. "The driving force behind the Family Fair is financial education, and we hope to connect families to banking services. The fair is essentially a way to have a fun time with your family and learn about ways to keep your family safe and about resources that exist to help you," she said.

The Ruth Project originated from the internship work by Baylor Social Work graduate students Viviana Triana and Vargas in 2007 concerning immigration issues. They teamed with the Waco Regional Baptist Network to develop the project into its current state. The Ruth Project provides legal and social assistance in a compassionate and professional manner to Waco's immigrant community including consultations, document preparation, legal case management for immigrant crime victims, public education forums and other social services. Appointments in English and Spanish are available by calling (254) 753-2408 or by email at ruth_project@yahoo.com.

To find out more about the Family Fair, contact the School of Social Work at (254) 710-6400.

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