Latino Civic & Cultural Center in Downtown Burien; Where Art Meets Civic Engagement
22 Sep 2023
The Latino Civic & Cultural Center, part of the Latino Civic Alliance (LCA), a 501(c)(3) organization based in Burien, provides opportunities for artists, families, and individuals to thrive. Since its official opening in Burien in 2022, the center has created critical youth programming, hosted community events, and provided a gathering space for the Seattle and South King County’s Latino community.
Reflective of Burien’s artistic community, the organization also features unique arts programming. The center offers robust educational resources and provides facilities for creative endeavors. Through included amenities like a recording studio, youth can record their songs and music at no charge. By this method, LCA creates new pathways for community and cultural engagement. In an article with KNKX NPR, Nina Martinez, chair of the nonprofit's board, states, “It always had been in our dreams to build a space where Latino leaders could come together with the youth and learn about civic engagement and also incorporate the arts.”
As a result of a four-week-long music production class held by LCA, 14-year-old Reynaldo Ismael Moreno was able to produce a Latin pop song. Martinez shares, “Reynaldo was just so proud of his work. And that's what we want; the students here, the kids to feel like they can do anything they set their minds to.” Through LCA, students like Reynaldo can be exposed to a variety of career pathways and fulfill their dreams.
Multiple Locations and Services Available; LCA is a Regional Resource
Martinez notes that LCA has another building located in Burien, 14031 Ambaum BLVD, that provides a family engagement K-12 educational program. ACHIEVE K-12 Program combines social and emotional learning (SEL), family support services, and pre-professional programs to empower students. By providing a community navigator, a culture-centered SEL curriculum, and career workshops, the after-school ACHIEVE Program creates a strong foundation for young students and families. Moreover, priorities at the Ambaum location include behavioral health wrap-around services, to ensure equity.
Through their dedication to advocacy and comprehensive services, LCA has become a crucial resource for Latino communities within Burien, surrounding South King County cities, and the entire state of Washington. Martinez shares, “We are dedicated to ensuring public officials and agencies serving Latinos believe in equity and will support policies that benefit Latino communities. Latinos contribute billions of dollars to the Washington State economy which signifies that Latinos impact the future of this State.”
LCA Offers Support and Solutions for Workforce Development and Small Businesses
Serving the community in substantial ways, LCA has a variety of workforce programs available. One of LCA’s most significant programs is the Building Future Industry Leaders (BFIL) which assists with workforce development and deployment. The program supports workforce development in dynamic ways, providing basic education, soft skills training, industry awareness workshops, leadership, mentoring, job creation, and job placement. Martinez remarks that the program has powerful effects throughout the broader community. “The goal is to remove barriers. The BFIL program supplements the current education system to inspire the BIPOC community and our youth to be trained leaders who contribute to our local business and move people out of poverty.”
Another significant program is the Small Business Technical Assistance PRIMERO Program, which offers free consulting services to small business owners. For instance, one component of the program offers assistance with accessing appropriate sources of capital loans and certifications. More specifically, participants can request help with applying for available grants and loans, such as SBA lending, Grants, or Community Loan Funding Programs. By providing this direct support, the center helps Latino-owned small businesses succeed.
Other programs at LCA include:
- Civil Rights Navigator
- College and Beyond
- Healthcare Outreach & Education
- Discovery Program
- Hispanic Owned Businesses
- Parent Engagement Program
LCA Thrives in Burien’s Artistic, Collaborative Community
With community as a top priority, Burien works directly with local leaders to create an inclusive, arts-centered environment. Martinez states, “I found the City of Burien to be very approachable and very collaborative. The city staff, city manager, city council—it felt more personal with Burien. We thought, ‘This is where we are going to call home.” To learn more about the many individuals, organizations, and businesses that call Burien home, click here.