In 2018, the Coalition of Florida Extension for Latino Communities (CAFÉ Latino) was built and designed by UF/IFAS Extension faculty to assist Extension Agents in Florida in better serving the needs of the state’s growing Latinx population. AEC’s John Diaz was soon elected as the President of CAFÉ Latino, guiding the work the coalition is doing in communities in Florida and now beyond. With 72 members of CAFÉ Latino, the group is service based focusing on translations, training and mentorship, educational material development, community service, and connecting with Latino audiences.
During the September 8, AEC Gathering, Dr. John Diaz shared the impacts CAFÉ Latino has had since its formation. Their work is better equipping Latino communities with information by providing more resources in Spanish and Farm Worker Health Fairs. Dr. Diaz noted, “the COVID-19 Pandemic shined a light on the need for health screening and creating connections for affordable healthcare.” CAFÉ Latino was able to work with the CDC in 2020 to fill a noticed gap, by creating COVID-19 information that was produced in Spanish. They’re continuing to raise awareness for language adaptions. Dr. Diaz encouraged everyone to consider the audiences of their work, so CAFÉ Latino could assist early on in any translations needed.
Through a partnership with UF’s School of Medicine, the Farm Worker Health Fairs are providing affordable healthcare access to those who may not realize their health concerns. With more than 200,000 migrant farm workers in Florida, ensuring they have access to healthcare is vital.
Dr. Diaz shared the best way to become engaged with CAFÉ Latino was to submit a membership application. When asked, he also encouraged the opportunity to collaborate with agriculture teachers AEC works with, taking into consideration students’ language and the cultural relevance of what is being taught in classes. Looking ahead, CAFÉ Latino is working on a cultural immersion experience in Medellín, Colombia, creating Spanish youth education curricula and modules to be used in Florida and Colombia, and they will be holding more Farmworker Health Fairs, with the next being on December 4 in Wimauma, Florida.
If you’re interested in getting involved with CAFÉ Latino or learning more, follow this link or connect via Facebook or Twitter