Ariel Rodriguez

The Latino Institute: A program of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department

posted by
Ariel Rodríguez, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor
ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

When providing services to individuals of Latin American descent living in the U.S., service agencies whether public or private are faced with three overarching issues: the dramatically growing population, the different values and cultures based on their heritage and levels of acculturation, and the different life contexts which influence their needs. Taken together, these issues suggest a more comprehensive effort is needed to effectively service this population.

Within the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, the Latino Institute was developed to help address these issues and to serve as a bridge between the City and the Latino community. Today, the Latino Institute produces numerous programs for the community and serves as an outreach specialist that provides special events, networking, and cultural competency expertise to the City and agencies which aim to provide services to the Latino community. Over the past 12 years, the Latino Institute has gained a number of insights which have helped their program to succeed where others have not. These four key insights will be discussed in this blog.

Colorblindness: Implications for Youth Services

 

posted by
Ariel Rodríguez, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor
ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

The ideology of being colorblind within youth service provisions suggests an agency, and by extension, the agency’s service providers, do not consider the color of a youth as a precursor to participation in any unique services or programs. It further suggests an agency which strictly adheres to colorblindness does not provide segregated services, which were in large part eliminated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

While the prevention of discrimination based on color may have been the initial intention of the concept of colorblindness, this concept has commonly been extended to include other physical and social characteristics such as ethnicity, culture, age, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. Within nonprofit agencies which provide youth services, there are, however, exceptions to the colorblindness rule. When a specific characteristic conflicts directly with the mission of the service provider, agencies have been allowed to use the respective characteristic as a criterion for participation in their programs and services.

In essence, the ideology of being colorblind is viewed as a critical practice when ensuring equality of both access and, ultimately, service outcomes for youth participants. Every youth is treated equally; everyone gets the same service, has the same access to services, and thus is expected to have the same outcomes from participating in the respective programs.

In principle, colorblindness is an attractive concept. Who would not want or does not think our youth should be treated equally? However, there are at least three fundamental issues with colorblindness which youth service providers should note: differing needs, value expectations, and historical context.

Different Needs
Being a girl between the ages of 5 and 17 are the two primary requirements for participation in the Girl Scouts of Arizona. Young boys are generally not allowed in the Girl Scouts, as noted by Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: “Our many years of experience shows that girls have unique needs and interests that are best met in a program designed especially for them, delivered in an all-girl setting.”

Research Friday: Out-of-School Time Programs for Latino Youth

posted by
Ariel Rodríguez, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor
ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

The U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Latino youth, which will continue to play a key role in the services provided during out-of-school time. Out-of-school time is defined as before and after school, as well as weekends and summer. These programs are often developed to meet the needs of the youth they serve, and demographic shifts throughout the US suggest most programs will serve Latino youth, if they are not already doing so.

The term Latino refers to the nearly one in four youth residing in the U.S. who come from different Latin American nationalities, although they have varying races, cultures, language proficiencies, and experiences in the U.S. While an increasing amount of individuals identify themselves as Latino, most still refer to themselves by their Latin American country of origin. In addition, an increasing number of these individuals are simply referring to themselves as American. This is apt, as approximately 92% of them are U.S. citizens.

While Latinos have a variety of differences, they are often united by the many struggles they experience. These struggles date back hundreds of years and include oppression by those in power. The net result of these struggles is that Latinos are lacking in many key developmental areas, suggesting developmental needs for youth programs to address. In a recent article, I highlighted these deficit developmental areas, which include social, cognitive, physical, and spiritual developmental domains. Below, I will briefly highlight some of the key factors within each of these.