Centro Latino Celebrates 40 Years

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EUGENE, Ore. — Centro LatinoAmericano turns 40 this year. The nonprofit benefits the growing Latino population, which is estimated at 30,000 in Lane County.

It’s successfully creating funding to sustain its services in a tight economy.

The group, located on West 5th Avenue, has been serving the Latino community by offering human services.

Centro also provides community mental health services and substance abuse treatment. But just like any businesses, Centro relies on money to provide programs. That’s where speaking Spanish turned into a profit.

In 2009, Centro launched a translation and interpretation service. For Public Works, it translated a recycling guide into Spanish. What’s key to this program is that Centro hires Latinos like Tanya Gomez. She’s been working as an interpreter with Centro for three years.

“Every week I get orders through emails and phone calls,” said Tanya Gomez.

Gomez says she’s booked about 10 times each month. She acts as the go-between. It’s a job that brings her joy.

“Being able to see in their faces that their point or what they are feeling is getting across to the person that is speaking English, I think that is the most satisfaction I have ever felt,” Gomez said.

Working as a interpreter is a source of revenue for both Gomez and Centro Latino Americano.

“We call this socially responsible business because we share with the interpreters and translators,” said Marcela Mendoza, Ph.D., Centro LatinoAmericano Executive Director.

Last fiscal year, Centro alone netted $25,000 for the interpreter/translator service. Another new revenue source came from renting out office space. With profits, Centro Latino Americano can provide new services, like a new computer center for education and Internet use.

Above all, the main service Centro provides is to assist Latinos in our community.

Centro LatinoAmericano celebrating 40 years with a heritage dinner October 12. Click here for more information.

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