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Casa de Esperanza was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1982 by Latina activists seeking to shelter and support Latinas who were experiencing domestic violence. Today it is recognized locally and nationally because of its distinctive work and mission: "Mobilize Latinas and Latino communities to end domestic violence."
Believing deeply in the strengths of Latinas, their families, and communities, Casa de Esperanza facilitates community driven solutions and provides resources to support families in achieving their hopes and goals. One of Casa de Esperanza's operating premises is that the work of ending domestic violence must become a community priority and thus its programs are designed to maximize community engagement and leadership.
Community Engagement. Casa de Esperanza believes community and familia (family) are the fabric of Latino life, and that strong communities enhance social capital and decrease domestic violence. Through its Fuerza Unida (United Force) program it has heard the voices of Latinas in hundreds of listening sessions that serve to inform its work and also brings information and support into communities. Additionally, bilingual volunteers operate two neighborhood Information and Resource Centers-in St. Paul and Minneapolis-providing access to technology and information about accessing resources that are critical for daily life. Fuerza Unida currently focuses on St. Paul's East Side, convening community leaders to create action agendas and utilizing natural, culturally based communications networks for information sharing and community organizing.
Training and Technical Assistance. Casa de Esperanza provides support and training at the local and national level. Its Peer Education Program trains adult Latinas and Latino youth in leadership and presentation skills to support and educate their peers. Women present workshops in community settings on topics vital to Latinas' personal and family lives. Youth gain leadership skills and offer workshops in school and community environments on healthy relationships and other topics of interest to young Latinas/os.
Systems Change Training and Consultation. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Office on Violence Against Women, Casa de Esperanza works to increase access to services for Latinas/os by providing culturally appropriate tools and training to more than 100 organizations in 34 states. Through technical assistance Casa de Esperanza has assisted mainstream domestic violence organizations in working with Latinas and Latino domestic violence organizations-often small or newly formed agencies-to build and strengthen their outreach and services to Latinas/os.
Family Advocacy. The Family Advocacy program provides direct services to Latinas who have experienced domestic violence and their families. Casa de Esperanza's bilingual and bicultural Family Advocates work with women and children who find safety at Casa de Esperanza's shelter. Their 24/7 bilingual crisis line receives and responds to thousands of calls each year from individuals as well as other agencies working with Latino communities.
Casa de Esperanza has also developed a range of educational materials on domestic violence in Spanish and English, including books, manuals and videos addressing the needs of children and other special populations. (A list of these resources is included in the resource section of the appendix)
For more information, visit www.casadeesperanza.org.