Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. DCCU celebrates our Hispanic staff and community all year long and are proud to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, communities celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students.
Dane County Credit Union recognizes our local Latino and Hispanic community year round but participating in and financially supporting many special community events. We have also long since recognized the importance of hiring Spanish speaking staff and the development of unique financial products to help our Latino and Hispanic members feel comfortable and important.
Here are some comments from a few of our staff :
I am very new at DCCU but so far my favorite thing about my job is that every day I come in and learn something new. I am also glad I had the opportunity to join our Latino Outreach program because I love helping out the Latino community.
Initially, I wasn’t aware that we had so many Spanish-speaking members. I feel it’s important to have Spanish-speaking staff to help these members feel welcome and comfortable.
I’m glad DCCU has Spanish-speaking staff because it helps our Spanish-speaking members feel validated and important. It offers them the confidence needed to confide their financial problems to us and gives us the opportunity to fulfill our service promises to a population that is often overlooked by other financials.
Being a part of the Latino Community Outreach group was a great way for me to be an active advocate for an under-represented population that I also happen to identify strongly with as a primary Spanish speaker myself.
One of the Latino community events that I have participated in is the Mexican Independence Day annual event. It is great to see familiar smiling faces and to get the opportunity to meet potential members. They are often happy to hear not only about the services DCCU offers to all our members, but also the services that are specifically tailored toward our Latino population like our Quinceañera and DACA Dreamer loans.
DCCU provides services that a lot of Latino people don’t know about and participating in certain community events helps them get better informed. It’s nice to have an opportunity to spend time with folks and answer any questions they might have. We make Latinos feel welcome and make sure they know we are here to help.
A foundational principle of the credit union movement is people helping people and for DCCU this always includes helping Dane County’s local Latino community.
DCCU prides itself on offering quality financial services specifically for Latino community members – like Quinceañera financing and DACA loans. We have numerous bilingual staff ready to assist members that prefer to speak their native languages. We also open our doors to ITIN holders so that they too can benefit from money saving products and services.
DCCU is involved in many ways with our Latino community and even has a dedicated Latino Outreach Committee that searches for ways to help support this community group. We organize Cash Mobs at locally owned Latino businesses, attend festivals and are active members of the Latino Chamber of Commerce.
DCCU is a main sponsor and partner of Centro Hispano’s Caminos educational and training program. Besides a scholarship for bi-lingual adults aspiring to work in the financial industry, we also volunteer to help with class presentations and offer tours of our facilities. This helps students learn what a financial institution looks like on the other side of the counter.
One of my favorite ways DCCU is involved with the Latino community is through the participation and sponsorship of the Amigos en Azul Soccer Camp. This an annual event put on by the Madison Police Department’s Amigos en Azul Outreach Group. They invite the Latino community and others to play soccer and have lunch together and also listen to local Latino mentors every Saturday during the month of July. This event is so important because it bridges the gap between the Latino Community and the police department to address cultural fears about law enforcement. It also brings together community members and local leaders in a day filled with fun and excitement.
I have volunteered at the Amigos en Azul Soccer Camp for the last two years. My daughter who is half Latina got her motivation for college while attending this event the first year with me. She met a local female crime scene detective and from that moment on she aspires to be a criminal profiler. Because of this event I have had the pleasure of not only making a difference in my community but it has also touched my life personally by giving my daughter motivation that she did not have prior to volunteering.
Dane County Credit Union is proud to recognize the richness that Hispanic and Latino Americans bring to the Dane County community.