This month’s spotlight is on Los EcoAmigos (LEA), a unique and young organization that understands how crucial education is for community development and self sufficiency. LEA advocates throughout the Bay Area for greater environmental awareness within minority populations. It is run by Elena Velez, who believes that the wealth of sustainability information and programs should be ethnically inclusive. She seeks to enlighten every individual to realize that we all share one planet that should be cherished and nurtured instead of taken for granted. What is the mission of Los EcoAmigos? Los EcoAmigos (LEA) believes that having the Latino population actively participating in the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit – as a daily behavior will immensely aid the fight against global environmental decay. The organization’s main mission is to build a strong foundation between the environmental organizations and the Latino community. LEA enables the Latino Community in the Bay Area to retake their sustainable living practices via bilingual education and advocates for healthier and self-sufficient families while reducing costs. Programs includes topics such as water conservation, edible gardening, nutrition classes, daily living practices (recycling, compost, etc), air pollution, smart transportation and energy efficiency. What is the history of Los EcoAmigos?
LEA was founded by Elena Velez, who realized while working in waste reduction recycling programs, that regardless of the magnitude of the Latino population, especially in the Bay Area, the Latino Community had no access to sustainable education. This was mainly because of the language barrier. After almost three years, Elena decided to do something about this and connect the dots – lovely people in need of knowledge, free environmental education in Spanish, and LEA’s caring, multilingual educational skills. She is joined in her work by a group of consultants, professionals, interpreters, translators and educators that support her efforts on promoting bilingual environmental education.
A single mother of two fantastic young men (14 and 18 years old), Elena works as a consultant and facilitates the communication process within different fields. She is busy meeting many people all over the Bay Area, looking for existing environmentally-friendly organizations that recognize and support the mission of Los EcoAmigos.
What are the current top priorities for Los EcoAmigos?
Los EcoAmigos priorities are to:
•Obtain financial support to engage the Latino Community and promote its programs
•Integrate the Latino Community with global environmental purposes
•Create a “Cultura Verde” which aims for self sufficiency – especially with the high unemployment rate affecting the Latino Community
•Encourage active participation and integration through bilingual environmentally- friendly workshops
•Become The Latino Green Resource Center
What is one unknown fact about Los EcoAmigos?
An unknown fact is that Los EcoAmigos (LEA) will represent your organization only if you have a meaningful purpose, if you respect and value the Latino Community, and if you agree that this community deserves to be included. If you see yourself there, LEA will smile and deliver your message with a culturally engaging marketing strategy as if it was ours.