Holland’s Fiesta Raises Funds for Local Latino Community Needs

Holland’s Fiesta Raises Funds for Local Latino Community Needs

The upcoming Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) Fiesta in Holland has all the trappings of a great festival – live music, good food, a children’s amusement and crafts area, car show and more.

Fiesta moves to a new location this year at The Shops at Westshore and will be held May 5-6, 2017. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are presenting sponsors of the event. LAUP Executive Director Roberto Jara said to his knowledge, Fiesta is the longest continuously running Latino festival in West Michigan.

Musician at the Latin Americans United for Progress FiestaWhile the celebration of Hispanic and Latino culture is fun for all who attend, it’s the LAUP services funded as a result that have been a lifeline for many in the Holland community.

LAUP’s mission is to “advocate for and facilitate the education and social wellbeing of the Latino community, and to promote communication and cooperation with the Holland community for a better quality of life for all.”

While the city is known for its Dutch heritage, Jara said almost 25 percent of city residents are Hispanic and just under 50 percent of children attending Holland and West Ottawa schools are as well. LAUP offers services such as translation, referral and legal assistance as well as youth and adult programs. Offerings such as English Language Learner classes, GED preparation, computer training and citizenship classes ensure Hispanic citizens are more fully able to engage with and contribute to the broader Holland community.

Founded in 1964, Jara said LAUP is open to everyone and is a safe, welcoming space for Latinos in particular.

“There’s just a trust this organization has built up with the Latino community,” he said.

Jara expressed gratitude to BCBSM and BCN as sponsors of this year’s Fiesta event. Blue Cross representatives will be on hand to answer attendees’ insurance questions and hand out freebies from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

“The vibrancy and energy of the Latino community will be on full display at Fiesta 2017,” said BCBSM Community Affairs Representative Kimberly Mendez. “We’re proud to support this wonderful organization as part of our mission to ensure healthy and thriving communities around the state.”

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