College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Chinatown Community Learning Center Recognized for Innovative Programming

September 25, 2019 -- The Chinatown Community Learning Center (CCLC), soon to be Community Health Engagement (CHE), was awarded recognition by the Latino Network of Monterey County during their 30th Annual Celebration of Culture and Language at Sherwood Hall in Salinas. The Latino Network applauded the CCLC for its dedication to transforming the lives of homeless Latinos in Chinatown through the development of psychoeducation groups, life skills classes, and education initiatives offered to monolingual Spanish speakers in the Chinatown community. Jacqui Smith, CCLC Coordinator and Ruth Gutierrez, Master of Social Work (MSW) student and former CCLC intern accepted three awards on CCLC's behalf, along with several other CHSHS staff and faculty. The Latino Network presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, Certificate of Recognition from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, and a plaque from the Latino Network of Monterey County. This year's keynote speaker, former Major League Baseball player and lifelong Salinas resident, Ernesto "Ernie" Camacho shared meaningful stories from his life and his foundation's mission to promote higher education awareness and increase sports participation among low-income youth and families in East Salinas.

The Spanish language classes developed by Ms. Gutierrez and resonated immediately with what the College of Health Sciences and Human Services team wanted to offer the growing number of monolingual Spanish-speaking Chinatown residents. "I thought it was only fitting to have Ms. Gutierrez accept these awards, as it was her ingenuity that began this successful and much needed program. Her efforts express the community-centric compassion that the CCLC and our Social Work program are about, and the importance of developing better ways to understand and address Latino issues," said Jacqui, referring to the cultural competence at the core of both the MSW program and the College of Health Sciences and Human Services. Under Jacqui's leadership, the CCLC is dedicated to providing the homeless population with community resources and a safe, warm educational environment where they can learn, heal, reconnect and find more stable housing. The CCLC is honored to have been recognized by this prestigious organization for their student and staff achievements.