In October of 2021, the VLA will inaugurate its annual “Expo Latino”, which is a cultural festival for the entire Valdosta community. The event will be held in the city of Valdosta at the Willis L. Miller Library on Julia Drive. This cultural festival will feature exhibits, live music, and food, and will highlight Spanish-language music, literature and culture. Expo Latino will also highlight educational resources, including the study of English as a Second Language, and resources for people who want to learn how to speak Spanish and discover Spanish-language cultures.
Since 2017, we have been among the primary organizers of an annual “Fiesta Latina” in the neighboring city of Lake Park, GA. The Fiesta Latina has been held in October of 2017, 2018, and 2019. It is a half-day event aimed primarily at migrant farm workers and their families who live and work in the farm fields of South Georgia. The Fiesta Latina brings together community organizations who wish to reach out and provide services to these people. Primary participants include: groups who provide health care, literacy, access to education, and religious organizations.
English as a Second Language
We are studying how community educational institutions are serving the needs of the community in teaching English as a Second Language (“ESL”) to persons who wish to improve their English language skills, both spoken and written. This also includes basic literacy, as many of these populations are not highly literate. Our Board includes persons who work with Career Services of Goodwill, Inc., Florida State University’s Family and Child Sciences department, South Georgia Regional Library, and Telamon Corporation. Their expertise, along with contacts made with the Chamber of Commerce and Valdosta State University will be instrumental in helping us to develop and promote top quality ESL services in the Valdosta area.
Clothing and Toy Drives
The VLA supports and works with several churches and civic groups who serve and reach out to migrant farm worker populations in South Georgia. Ours is primarily an informational role, connecting potential donors of clothing, toys, and food to trusted area partners in Lowndes, Brooks, Echols and surrounding counties. Many of these drives are seasonal in nature, with a particular emphasis on Christmas, Back to School, and on seasonal farm labor arrivals and departures.