In 2009, Community Service and Social Action (CSSA) Board awarded its first ever Change Grant to Casa Latina, an organization serving Latino immigrants in Seattle through educational and economic opportunities.  The purpose of the Change Grant program is to meaningfully assist organizations that work for social justice and involve the people being served, empowering them within the organization to shape its vision and operations.  Casa Latina’s work on behalf of the Latino immigrant population in Seattle fit this description in a way that deeply inspired the CSSA Board.  Casa Latina is dedicated to providing immigrants with educational opportunities critical to their integration into society as well as the labor skills that help to support them and their families.   Every year, more than 750 immigrants enroll in Casa Latina’s programs. In addition to Casa Latina’s well-known work with day laborers, they offer a range of programs for immigrant women and families with children. Casa Latina focuses on three areas:

These grants are also meant to bring opportunities for Plymouth members and friends to stand with the population being served in mutually beneficial and enriching relationships. We believe that we are called by God to deep partnership and connection with all, a relationship that removes the “have” and “have not” split.  Casa Latina has been a wonderful grant partner in this respect as well.  Dozens of Plymouth members have taken Spanish classes at Casa Latina, and have practiced their Spanish with Casa Latina clients as they practiced their English with Plymouth members.  There have been many joint celebrations between the two communities, and Plymouth members have marched with Casa Latina workers for immigrants’ rights. 

In the words of Casa Latina Executive Director, Hilary Stern, ”The financial support of the Change Grant has been important for us in helping us transition to an organization with greater infrastructure and capacity to serve our workers.  More importantly, however, are the relationships we have built with the members of the congregation, which have been wonderful.  We have brought the two communities together in a variety of ways, and hope that these relationships are strong enough to last forever.”