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The Department of Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies has engaged in outreach programs and engagement initiatives in the surrounding Hispanic/Latino community through its Spanish Community-Based Learning program (CBL). Courses with CBL component have allowed our students to connect and work with the Richmond Spanish speaking communities through their work in local schools, government agencies, free clinics, and other organizations. Through different partnerships, students, faculty, and community members have engaged in projects that combine critical pedagogy in language and content teaching, with critical thinking through experience-based responses. Merging the classroom with public spaces by creating cultural resources has been a major objective to promote inclusion and diversión. CBL in Spanish has encouraged students to assess the civil impact of their work, promoted their cultural awareness through community engagement, facilitated the dialogue between the institution and the community via collaborative work, and provided the community members with space and tools for increasing cultural and social capital.

Recent projects include:

LAIS 301 created Digital Story Telling addressing the needs of some of our community partners, and the successful Spanish Guided Tours at the UR Museums that brought more than 175 outside visitors to campus (video of the UR Spanish Museum Tours). This program has been the seed for community-engaged scholarship, the collaboration between LALIS and UR Museums, and the collaboration with other Richmond institutions. 

Two LAIS 309 Spanish Writing Workshop sections included CBL components: (1) a bilingual exhibition of the graphic novel Darkroom. A Memoir in Black & White, by Lila Quintero Weaver, at the Carole Weinstein International Center (from March 3rd to September 30th), and (2) a bilingual online collection of 14 texts/images at the Library of Virginia (that will be available from August 2017), which will be part of the LALIS-LV collaboration toward the Library of Virginia 2019 exhibition “New Virginians.” These two projects create bilingual resouces for the community at large, and specifically for educators.

Students in LAIS 309 also produced a brochure containing relevant information on useful resources for the Latino immigrants in the city of Richmond, after having conducted interviews with people at KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), the Crossover Health Care Ministry, and the Sacred Heart Center, among others. Brochures were distributed in some of the places where interviews were conducted, and turned out to be very useful resources for the families attending the Community Building Celebration held by the Latin American and Latino Politics and Cultures Faculty Learning Community in the Gottwald Atrium.