The pastors met Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, in 2009 around the time she was establishing the organization. Pastors Rocio and Juan Almanza participated in some of the first projects that Hispanic Access rolled out, and have remained active leaders throughout the years. Some of the initiatives they remember most, are the distribution of antennas and Spanish-written books to increase literacy rates in the Latino community.
“We used to do a lot of lobbying, and in the process of doing so, we learned so much about how laws are made, and how the government works,” said Pastor Juan Almanza. “We’d go to congress and advocate for the environment, and its resources, which turned into what is now, Por La Creación.”
Pastors Rocio and Juan Almanza describe their experience with Por La Creacion and Hispanic Leadership Network as a biblical one, where they found the missing piece of the puzzle. Their involvement with the programs has taught them how to protect the natural resources God created, and connect with pastoral leaders to build stronger communities beyond the congregation. The pastors also participated in remote Latino Conservation Week activities to support and educate children from the church.
“Since we couldn’t come together in person, we brainstormed how to reach our community and came up with the idea of teaching children and young adults how to plant,” said Rocio Almanza. “One of our team members delivered a planting kit on every doorstep, and we scheduled a video call to share a biblical story, and teach them how to take care of their new plant.”
Navigating the pandemic has been a challenging task, and in addition to their participation in Latino Conservation Week, the pastors also became Program Managers for Unidos en Comunidad. The vaccination clinics have had a great turnaround, and continue to make a difference for the Latino community in Nevada.
“We have people coming in that have never been to church, and others that didn’t even know our church existed,” said Juan Almanza. “These vaccination clinics have helped people develop a relationship with Christ, and since the vaccines are being distributed at the church, people are beginning to trust it more.”
Pastors Almanza have walked a long journey with Hispanic Access, and have grown spiritually and professionally through every initiative they are a part of. As faith leaders, they are called to serve and provide people with tools to improve their quality of life, and supporting Hispanic Access’ mission is one way of doing so.
“Hispanic Access is a very special organization that is led by people with great integrity, and we are blessed that we’ve been able to help with their community-centered initiatives.”
Hispanic Access is inspiring, training, and supporting local leaders like Pastors Rocio and Juan Almanza, who have a stake in their community and have the drive for positive change. To help support and continue this work, please consider making a Charitable Donation