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Puentes de Salud

Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes the health and wellness of Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latinx immigrant population through high-quality health care, innovative educational programs, and community building. Puentes a las artes/Bridges to the Arts offers emergent bi-lingual learners an opportunity to develop cognitive, linguistic, and visual literacy skills and to support adult caregivers in developing additional strategies and activities to reinforce and extend learning at home.

I’ve spent one afternoon a week with Puentes since the Fall of 2020, when the program began its virtual execution as many organizations did amidst the pandemic. As a native spanish-speaker, my skills were best suited to work with the Pre-K kids who are still working towards their English proficiency and required more direct communication of me with their families. A typical class consists of volunteers redirecting focus towards the teacher as she explains the day’s activities, then it is my turn to lead discussions with small groups of kids as they work on their art to encourage literacy development. 

In addition to the organization’s mission lining up with my values, I am grateful for the variety of training volunteers receive before beginning work.; part of the program’s orientations had us engage with the Black and Brown Worker’s Cooperative through their workshops regarding how volunteerism upholds white supremacy, anti-Blackness in the Latinx community, and embodying anti-racist and liberatory practices.

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