Organization History and Mission:
Latino Leadership, Inc. (L2) is Central Florida’s most established grassroots organization com-mitted to develop and administer permanent programs that foster the integration of the Hispanic community into mainstream America. The organization began as a voter registration project in 1999 to empower the growing Latino community. This initiative evolved over time into a 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based organization incorporated in 2001. L2‘s mission is to guarantee the welfare of our children by helping to create a model, strong, and vibrant Hispanic community through leadership development and empowerment, education advancement, and economic community development.
As a result of working diligently in the Central Florida community for more than 18 years, L2has gained a ‘seal-of-approval’ from the community, supporters, and stakeholders. The organization provides: housing counseling, emergency relief services, STEM education opportunities, access to a 10-person computer lab, and mental health services, specializing in autism.
Current Programs and Recent Achievements:
Latino Leadership offers a series of services designed to assist the Hispanic community with their most pressing needs. To this effect, the organization’s programs are focused on three major areas: Leadership Development, Education Advancement, and Economic Development.
In 2013, L2established the Healthy House, Happy Home program and has to date rehabbed and sold 13 properties increasing property values close to 1 million dollars. Additionally, the organization provides first-time housing counseling. In May of 2019, the organization gifted a home, mortgage-free, to a family who evacuated from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Island.
Created in 2015, Santiago & Friends | Family Center for Autism is the first fully bilingual, linguistically-and culturally-competent center in Central Florida. In 2018, Santiago & Friends provided more than 11,200 hours of applied behavior analysis therapy, weekly parent trainings, and hosted eight autism friendly family events. In August of 2019, Santiago & Friends will unveil its expansion. The program is taking over an adjoining suite to provide a more mature space for clients aged 8-15. Additionally, the organization is expanding to Titusville, Florida. Here, L2 will be able to provide much needed autism services to residents of Brevard.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, L2in partnership with the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, established the Puerto Rico Family Response Centerin Orlando as a humanitarian response to help alleviate the suffering of families impacted by the natural disaster. The organization has helped more than 9,100 displaced families by providing immediate emergency relief services.
Out of this work, the organization determined that there was a demonstrated need for linguistically- and culturally- competent mental health services. To this effect, L2expanded its services and created a new center dedicated to promoting mental health and quality of life within the Hispanic community in Central Florida. The overarching goal of Latino Leadership Behavioral Health (LLBH) is to enhance the social and emotional well- being of the adults, adolescents, and children of our community.
LLBH is built on the organization’s established track record of service provision of 18 plus years, with four of those dedicated to the development and successful implementation of Santiago & Friends | Family Center for Autism. L2has dedicated its trajectory to create a model Latino community by increasing access to services that build on a person as a whole.
LLBH provides integrated services in a linguistically-and-culturally- competent that include: assessments, individual and group therapy, interventions, and orientation. The target audience of LLBH is Spanish-speaking, underserved clients. LLBH is on track to finishing its first year of service with 30 clients. Thanks in part to partners, such as Volunteers of America Florida Chapter, the organization has held workshops and support groups to help alleviate the trauma of post-Maria life. To date, the organization has held 4 workshops free-of-cost for the general public.