Older Americans Month: Colorado Promotores Take Holistic Approach

For the Denver-based Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), a HIP Latino Age Wave grantee, cultural competence is closely related with taking a holistic approach toward the problems of individual elders who may be Latino, indigenous, or both.
IMG 3257SOCUE: Sisters of Color Mobilization Director Daniel Stange guides Boulder, Colo., Council woman Mary Dolo Young, then a Latino Age Wave Fellow, during indigenous exercise at Latino Age Wave Initiative convening at St. Barnabas Senior Center in Los Angeles in August 2014
SOCUE Director of Mobilization Daniel Stange said that the success of the nonprofit’s Promotores community health workers and the Comadres advocates for mental health services and community building, among other programs, is due partly to its holistic approach and training that supports the elders’ ability to interact with community members.
“We are also grounded in the spirit of struggle and survival that is so familiar to Latino populations in America,” he said during a Hispanics in Philanthropy webinar earlier this year. “We speak from the heart, and we speak to the heart.”
He said that advocacy skill building is a key part of the Promotores training curriculum. The nonprofit has found that individual Promotores contribute different skillsets, Stange added, “so that some are better educators, some are system navigators, some are alternative medicine practitioners and counselors, and some are particularly [good] at advocating for others.”
“The key factor is that advocates should not help people to do what WE think is best for them but exploring the ability to accomplish what THEY believe is best and what gives them mental, physical and emotional support to develop healthier patterns,” he said. Follow #OlderAmericansMonth on Twitter.