El Barrio's mission is to bring full participation of Hispanics in the Greater Cleveland Community. To achieve this mission we are working to promote self-sufficiency through education, skills training and job placement.
Dr. Nelson Bardecio founded El Barrio in 1990 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation after holding numerous discussions with Hispanic community leaders, mainstream political and religious leaders, and social service providers. Soon after opening, El Barrio became associated with the larger and better established West Side Ecumenical Ministries (WSEM). In 1993, with the help of a grant from the O'Neill Foundation, El Barrio began operating as an independent agency. From Dr. Bardecio's personal experience and information sharing, it became clear that low-income Hispanics need two fundamental services: first, bilingual support, educational and empowerment services; and second, help to gain better access to existing private and government services offered by monolingual English speaking providers.
In response to these needs, the organization established its English as a Second Language (ESL), Los Conquistadores (the conquerors) after-school tutoring and Summer program, and its Crisis Intervention/Outreach program. In 1995 El Barrio began an Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) program pursuant to a small grant from the Ohio Department of Education, which includes bilingual GED classes. In response to recent welfare reforms, El Barrio expanded to include a job training and placement program.
- El Barrio's JOBS department recruits companies to hire the clients we have screened and
trained in basic job skills. A client is first evaluated to determine their skills
and goals. Once evaluated, they are sent to the necessary educational program or
training session. The training session involves information on interviewing
techniques, filling out applications, resume writing, appropriate dress and how to handle
possible conflict due to cultural differences. The client is then directed to one
of our JOBS counselors and is placed in suitable employment. Once a match is made,
the JOBS department at El Barrio does 30, 60, and 90 day follow-up and is available to
assist with initial adjustment issues. For more information, call Betty
Arzuaga-Ortiz, JOBS Program Coordinator.
Los Conquistadores - Our children's after-school tutoring and summer program, Los Conquistadores, means "the conquerors" for these children truly due conquer their barriers for a better education. The program focuses on tutoring in math, science, social studies, English, and reading and offers preparation for the proficiency test. The children's grades are then checked every quarter to monitor their improvement. Our summer program, which runs 10 weeks, continues tutoring and also offers cultural and other extracurricular activities. For more information, contact Vincent Carpeņa, Los Conquistadores Program Coordinator.
Adult Education - El Barrio offers three adult educational courses. English as a second language classes are offered Monday through Thursday mornings from 9:45 to 11:45 and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00. The GED course is offered Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00. Subjects include math, social studies, and science and are taught in Spanish only. The actual GED test is also given in Spanish. The basic computer skills classes are offered at beginner and intermediate/advanced levels also on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00. To find out more, please call Angel Chabrier, Adult Education Coordinator.
Crisis Intervention - The Crisis Intervention program offers assistance for our clients in basic, everyday needs: food, shelter, clothing, medical referrals, utility payments and any mediation needed to intergrate into the larger community. If a client needs additional services not provided by El Barrio, they are directed to the appropriate agency. Our case managers provide follow-up assistance if needed. Please call Yolanda Figueroa, Associate Director of Programs, for more information.
If you are interested in contributing to El Barrio, volunteer opportunities are available in all our programs.