For years, the Spanish-speaking community has struggled to receive timely, culturally appropriate information related to emerging needs. A collaboration comprised of local Latino-serving organizations, Mi Vida, Mi Voz (My Life, My Voice) was developed to address this information deficit.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mi Vida, Mi Voz (MVMV) pivoted to address the critical needs related to the crisis. With the pandemic’s disproportionate health and economic impact in the Latino community, this formation has been particularly relevant.
Since spring 2020, Mi Vida, Mi Voz has been collecting information about community resources in five categories: Health; Basic Needs (food, financial support, housing, legal); Mental Health; Children and Families; and Seniors. The emphasis has been on health and basic needs information during the pandemic.
“Getting information to the Spanish-speaking Latino community is a challenge for many organizations and for our community as a whole,” said Adriana Marroquin, community initiatives manager at Hospice of Santa Barbara.
“The primary strategy of MVMV is to help with the spread of information by harnessing the collective power of our existing relationship network — people and organizations who we have built trusted relationships with the community over the years,” Marroquin said.
MVMV sends out new, timely information as soon as it is available through emails and Facebook several times per week. This information is also compiled in an electronic newsletter every two weeks highlighting six different services relevant to current or arising issues and provides a printed version of the newsletter through various partners countywide.
Their partners/champions are comprised of trusted leaders with years of work in the Latino community, making them and their networks well-situated to get the information into the hands of the people who need it most. Together, these champions, their organizations, and their networks serve tens of thousands of Latino families countywide.
Mi Vida Mi Voz also disseminates information in Spanish and English through a direct, easy-to-use access “resource” website, which serves as a community gathering place for this information.
MVMV partner networks include the Latino Elder Outreach Network (LEON), Family Resource Centers network, Promotores de Salud, LISTOS, Rincon Spanish-Language Radio Stations, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Latinx and Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Response Taskforce, Community Wellness Team, and Adult & Aging Network.
Mi Vida, Mi Voz information is disseminated by 180 Santa Barbara County groups.
Radio Bronco and La Musical, Santa Barbara’s top Spanish language music radio stations, have become key partners in multiplying the reach of MVMV’s message. After months of collaborative work, MVMV’s partnership with Radio Bronco and La Musical began with increasing support for and normalizing of mental health conversations, which officially started in December. Here, bilingual mental health experts shined a light on available services and how to obtain them.
As the pandemic evolved and the team received feedback from the community, the partnership morphed to better fit the needs of the community. As of May, the partnership transitioned to daily one-minute “spotlight” public service announcement highlighting information addressing pressing issues offered by one of the MVMV partner organization; one spotlight per week, airing daily.
A recent survey of 88 MVMV partners confirmed the importance of this community asset with 95% of respondents giving it a positive rating and lauding the importance of the new resource. As the pandemic’s unpredictability continues to loom, MVMV maintains close contact with partner organizations, holding an open ear to the needs of the community and a structure to address emerging concerns.
MVMV sees its relevance far beyond the pandemic and is working on establishing ongoing communication bridges between organizations and community members.
Visit Mi Vida, Mi Voz online at https://mividamivoz.com/. For more information, contact Adriana Marroquin, firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-705-4846.