Latino Outreach of Tehama County’s Free Cinco De Mayo Event
Fiesta of Fun
By Kendra Kaiserman
The Latino Outreach of Tehama County’s activities promote health, cultural awareness and family fun – and everyone is welcome. “I think the common misconception is that Cinco de Mayo is only for Hispanics or Latinos, but the services we provide can be for anybody,” says Sofia Trejo-Harris, secretary for the group and co-chair of its annual Cinco de Mayo event.
The organization began in 1996 as the Hispanic Outreach of Tehama County. However, the name changed to Latino Outreach of Tehama County when it was recognized with 501(c)3 status on September 8, 2001. “We’re a 100 percent volunteer-run organization. We don’t have any paid staff, which makes us pretty unique. We volunteer our time and all the members do,” says Fernando Villegas, board member and chair of the Cinco de Mayo event. “So what we offer is our networking through our outreach events, promoting health and services for free or low-cost to the community.”
Staying healthy is an important conversation, since according to the Centers for Disease Control, Hispanic people are 50 percent more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease than Caucasians. These educational activities aim to help people lower their risk.
The free Cinco de Mayo event started in 1998, and Villegas has been involved since 1999. Entertainment begins at 11 am and includes youth performers, Native American drummers, Aztec dancers, dancing horses, the local U-Jam group, an array of food and much more, says Villegas.
The event will also include a mobile health clinic, which will involve a healthy cooking demonstration, an “Each Mind Matters” photo booth
to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, and information for the community in both Spanish and English. Free car seat safety checks will be offered in the parking lot by California Highway Patrol.
“This truly is a family-oriented event where the whole family can come and enjoy a fun day of activities,” Villegas says of the alcohol-, tobacco- and drug-free event.
Community partners including Rolling Hills, Greenville Rancheria, Head Start, Northern Valley Catholic Social Service and other health agencies will showcase their services.
Along with the annual Cinco de Mayo event, Latino Outreach of Tehama County puts on a health fair in October and provides college scholarships for students. High school seniors who are enrolled in college may apply for the scholarship, as long as they provide their transcripts and proof that they are enrolled. “Last year we gave out $2,000 in scholarships, which is pretty awesome because we’re so small,” Trejo-Harris says. “There were three Corning students and one Los Molinos student who got the scholarships for $500 each.” Grants and fundraising pay for the scholarships.
The October health fair, which also includes health screenings and booths run by health agencies, is held in Corning, while the Cinco de Mayo event is in Red Bluff “so we can serve both sides of the county,” says Trejo-Harris.
Trejo-Harris and Villegas agree that the focus of Latino Outreach of Tehama County is giving back to the community and “keeping our kids safe and making safe communities in Tehama County,” Villegas says.
Free Cinco de Mayo event • May 6 • 11 am-5 pm
Tehama District Fairgrounds • 650 Antelope Blvd., Red Bluff
(530) 200-2848 • www.latinooutreach.net
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