Grace Immigrant Outreach
Grace Latino Outreach (GLO), (known as Grace Immigrant Outreach or GIO since 2018), is honored to be in community service for sixteen consecutive years. GLO was created in 2005 under the guidance of the former Rector Rev. Dr. Douglas J. Fisher (Who is now Dr. Douglas John Fisher, IX Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts) Jack Banning, Walter M. Cadette and the dedication of the members of Grace Episcopal Church Millbrook who raised the funds necessary for the start of the program. Their energy and dedication made this program one of the most valuable and growing in our area. Carlos Orellana was the information gatherer on Latino’s in the area. He provided statistics and information regarding the Latino population in our rural area. Lack of documentation, being poor, and not being able to speak the English language made many in the Latino community vulnerable to exploitations due to their fear of deportation. They had very little knowledge on how to access resources available to them. Many of these immigrants are the poorest in our rural area. They as well feel the isolation since many are here alone and are far from family, friends and the lack of transportation intensifies their isolation and fear. In 2008, Evelyn E. Garzetta became the coordinator and subsequently Director in 2011.
In 2005, two significant programs were begun. First, English as a Second Language through NY State BOCES was established at the Parish Hall of Grace. The other was the assistance from M&T, a local bank, with the opening of checking accounts in conjunction with debit cards for about twenty students. Grant applications were made to The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Episcopal Charities which were granted to hire a coordinator for the program.
GLO has collaborations/partnerships and/or is a member of coalitions with many agencies whose fundamental plan is in assisting the Latino Community. These agencies are; The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Episcopal Charities, Rural and Migrant Ministries, Catholic Charities Community Services, BOCES, Dutchess Community College, Community Action Partnerships NED, St. Thomas Church in Amenia Union, St. Peter’s in Lithgow, LA MESA Mission in Dover, St. Paul’s Church in Pleasant Valley, and Church of Regeneration in Pine Plains. As well as alliances with Literacy Connection, Somos la Llave del Futoro, Eastern Dutchess Rural Health Network, Sun River Health, Northeast Community Center (Transportation and Food Task Force), Upstate Network for Immigrant Rights (UNIR) (GLO is a member and steering committee participant), Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Program, Office of New Americans, Youth Mission Outreach (YMO) Poughkeepsie, and the Engaging People in Change (EPIC) a youth program hosted by Grace Church Millbrook.
In 2012 GLO established an interest free loan program for eligible applicants of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program is supported by private donations and grants. Candidates are able to apply and receive an interest free loan to pay for a work permit application fee ($465) to the Department of Homeland Security. The program is extended as well to financially assist those applying for Citizenship with their application fee ($680).
GLO sponsors ESL classes in Dover, Millbrook, Millerton, Pine Plains, and Pleasant Valley, all conducted with volunteer instructors. The GLO Director attends each class weekly and substitutes when the instructors are not available.
A significant community program in which GLO participates in is the Catholic Charities Community Service ‘Kinship Program’ (funded by the Foundation for Community Health), who organizes the meetings and speakers. The Kinship program provides leadership training to Women in the community.
‘Voices in our Community’, was the notion of members of the ‘Berkshire Taconic Latino Outreach Round Table’. Gertrude O’Sullivan, of the Foundation for Community Health, graciously donated her time to interview immigrants within our community. They were aired on WHDD (NPR) Sharon CT by the graciousness of Marshall Miles.
In 2018 Grace Latino Outreach changed its name to Grace Immigrant Outreach to ensure over-all diverse services to all in the immigrant Community.
For more information on Grace Immigrant Outreach, please visit https://www.graceimmigrantoutreachgio.org/
All photos by Evelyn Garzetta
Listen to Evelyn Garzetta, Director of Grace Episcopal Church Latino/Immigrant Outreach, talk about Grace Immigrant Outreach and the Foundation for Community Health with Marshall Miles on Robin Hood Radio.