‘It’s changing their lives’: Salas presents $1.3 million to Mexican American Opportunity Foundation | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-07-20 19:30:00 –

As the colorfully dressed members of the Danza Aztec spin fast in a circular motion, a throbbing and stable drum beat began to build. As you stepped on and jumped, the dancer’s anklet bells became hiss, and the rustic scent of sage filled the air.

The beat was crescendo. The ritual dance was completed with a large “hoop” that the dancer bowed.

The opening ceremony has been completed to present $ 1.3 million to the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, secured by D-Bakersfield lawmaker Rudisaras in the state budget of 2021-2022, California.

“I really wanted to find a program to give back to non-traditional students,” Saras said. “(Students) are finding MOAF opportunities here and that’s changing their lives. That’s really … that’s why I fought so hard to get $ 1.3 million for them. . “

Founded in 1963, MOAF is uplifting Latin Americans by offering a wide range of educational and employment services. In addition, the Foundation aims to protect the culture of Mexican-Americans. According to the MOAF 2019-2020 Impact Report, approximately 125,000 people across the seven counties benefited from the program in 2019-2020.

Although the center spans California, MOAF first established the Kern County facility in 1978, said Magda Menendez, MOAF administrator at Bakersfield.

Menendez said the service could be expanded with additional funding. The rise in Kern County’s unemployment rate (10% in May to 10.8% in June) underscores the importance of this investment, Menendez added.

“We work with people who want to make a positive difference in their lives,” Menendez said. “This program will open many doors to many people.”

In Kern County, the Foundation offers GED classes, bookkeeping, and administrative assistant courses, along with other vocational services.

In addition, the Skills Center includes a work experience program. Less employed individuals are assigned to county-wide institutions and are paid by MOAF for 6 months. According to the MOAF 2019-2020 Impact Report, participants will gain relevant experience and be hired in the workplace.

MOAF student Brittney Dargusch will take this opportunity to learn about the management environment and complete external training.

“It was a great program,” said Dargusch. “They gave us all the resources we needed to succeed.”

Eric Banuelos, a MOAF student, was dismissed in October 2020. He heard about the services offered by the Foundation and registered to take classes in December. Banuelos graduated with a bookkeeping qualification two weeks ago.

“It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Banuelos, who wants to open his own business. “I have never regretted participating in this program.”

Saras has earned these funds within his budget by proving that MOAF creates jobs and creates a stronger economy in California for his colleagues in the state legislature.

According to Menendez, the center is aimed at former criminals and other people left behind in society, offering them a second chance.

Danza Aztec lead dancer Yuri Vilalba said their opening ritual represents a dreamer and provides healing to those who participate.

“We are traveling around the community … healing and keeping our culture (and) our traditions alive,” said Villalba. “In ourselves, we have our own enemies. We … help us continue to grow as humans.”

‘It’s changing their lives’: Salas presents $1.3 million to Mexican American Opportunity Foundation | News Source link ‘It’s changing their lives’: Salas presents $1.3 million to Mexican American Opportunity Foundation | News

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