From COVID-19 and other Disaster Information to Vital Community Resources, Mi Vida, Mi Voz Aims to Ensure that Spanish Speakers Have all the Information They Need
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 essential formation was and is more relevant than ever.
Since spring of 2020, Mi Vida, Mi Voz has been collecting information about community resources in five basic categories: Health; Basic Needs (food, financial support, housing, legal); Mental Health; Children & Families; and Seniors. The emphasis has been on health and basic needs information during the COVID-19 crisis.
“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.”
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 2 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 ideally 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 (mividamivoz.com) which serves as a community gathering place for this vital 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, Adult & Aging Network, and many other organizations. Some 189 Santa Barbara County organizations and groups disseminate Mi Vida, Mi Voz information.
Radio Bronco and La Musical, Santa Barbara’s top Spanish language music radio stations have become an important partner in multiplying the reach of Mi Vida, Mi Voz’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 launched Dec. 2020. 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, this partnership morphed to better fit the needs of the community. As of May 2021, the partnership transitioned to daily one-minute “spotlight” Public Service Announcement highlighting timely information addressing pressing issues offered by one of the MVMV partner organizations—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 unpredictability of the pandemic continues to loom above us, MVMV continues to maintain close contact with its partner organizations holding an open ear to the needs of the community and a nimble 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.
Mi Vida, Mi Voz
MVMV is a local community collaboration of organizations, sponsored by Hospice of Santa Barbara, focused on improving the quality of life of the Latino community by addressing social determinates of health and engaging in proactive end-of-life planning. The MVMV steering committee is made up of the following organizations Carpinteria Children’s Project, Casa De La Raza, City of SB Fire Department, Cottage Health, Family Service Agency, Housing Authority of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista Youth Projects, LISTOS, McDermott-Crockett Mortuary, Promotores De Salud Network, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and Santa Barbara Unified School District.
Hospice of Santa Barbara
Hospice of Santa Barbara provides professional counseling, support groups, and patient care services free of charge to individuals and families who are grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness. Hospice of Santa Barbara also provides counseling in our offices and on fifteen local junior and high school campuses to children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.