Milestones Diversity Initiative to Expand Services to Hispanic Community
Posted on 07/22/20 in About Us by Milestones
The Milestones Diversity Taskforce began three years ago with the focus on defining new programs and strategic measures to ensure equitable access to services and supports to families of color impacted by ASD. Connecting with and supporting all underserved communities has been a priority of the Taskforce, including non-English speaking communities, which we had not been able to serve before. We are thrilled to let our community know that Milestones will now be able to expand our Diversity Initiative and help connect Spanish-speaking families with more resources.
Our team has hired two new staff members, Belinda Saldaña and Ivette Sarkar, who will assist us through the Ohio Family Network (OFN) in connecting with Hispanic communities, developing new resources and translating our current resources. These staff will also be able to assist with requests for trainings, Helpdesk calls and consultations from Spanish speakers. We look forward to expanding into this community and encourage you to welcome our new staff to the team. Learn more about Belinda and Ivette below!
Why were you drawn to work with Milestones on this new OFN project?
Ivette: Milestones cares deeply about individuals with disabilities and has been a wonderful resource and support in the community providing evidence and research-based resources and education for professionals, families and individuals with Autism. Under the OFN initiative, Milestones will be expanding their mission to provide resources for Spanish speaking individuals and their families in every disability category.
Belinda: I’m a big believer in education and OFN offers training and workshops to educate families of those with ID/DD (intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities) on many topics that will help them now and in the future.
What are you most excited about doing the OFN work?
Ivette: I have worked extensively with the Spanish-speaking community throughout Northeast Ohio. I am aware of the unique challenges and obstacles that they experience in accessing resources. Creating a network of support within the community, improving communication and empowering individuals with disabilities is motivating for me.
Belinda: I’m most excited about reaching more families and providing the education and resources that will help them.
What do you want Hispanics to know about reaching out to Milestones?
Ivette: I would want them to know that Milestones is committed to providing resources, support and guidance to individuals with disabilities and their families. Prior to this OFN project, they have supported diversity through taskforce meetings to connect with the community in order to erase barriers and improve outcomes.
Belinda: I want Hispanic families to know that Milestones is providing as much information as possible in Spanish so that those that are primarily Spanish-speaking will have access to information that may be helpful to them.
What is your connection to autism?
Ivette: I have family members with autism and know first-hand the unique challenges presented by this diagnosis. Professionally, I assist parents/caregivers with all school related issues affecting their children/teens educational programming.
Belinda: I don’t currently have a close connection to autism other than having a cousin with a child on the spectrum and the suspicion that my grandson may be on the spectrum.
What is one of the best resources in Cleveland for Hispanic communities right now?
Ivette: There are several local resources for Hispanics in the community but in my opinion, word of mouth within the Hispanic community itself is the most valuable resource.
Belinda: One of the best resources in Cleveland for the Hispanic community is the Spanish American Committee, the oldest Hispanic non-profit agency in the state, where people can find opportunities through five core programs that provide clients with family support and childcare services, financial literacy education and training, housing education and guidance, employment training and services, and adult education opportunities such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and the only Spanish-language GED program in Ohio.
You can learn more about Ivette and Belinda by visiting their bios on our staff page!
For more information about this work, or to receive support for your family, please contact the Milestones OFN team at 216.464.7600 ext. 122 or at firstname.lastname@example.org