New radio program bridges language barrier

Hispanic Heritage Month

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Power of Education was started with one role to provide Spanish speaking family information on community updates and services. The two hosts behind the programing however also use it to celebration the Latin culture creating an outlet of communication for the Spanish community .

Damaris Saltares works with children everyday who come from Spanish speaking families in the Rochester area. Saltares herself grew up in a Latino household.

“I grew up with the Spanish language. So actually, when I went to kindergarten that’s when I really started developing my English language proficiency and then of course as always you grow up and you start to forget.”

Helping those who forget their Spanish or English language skills pushed Saltares to become a bilingual teacher at the school. She works with the nearly 10% of the population in Monroe County that is Hispanic or Latin and she found that many of those families face language barriers when trying to understand services — especially those in the education system.

“Over the years as a bilingual teacher, we got many new arrivals that came from all around different Latin American countries and Puerto Rico and one thing we noticed was just the education system is very different. And so a lot of our families, when they come they just don’t understand how to maneuver through the education system and be able to receive the support that their kids need.”

Because of this need Saltares along with Wellinthon Munoz created the Power of Education radio program.

The all-Spanish program airs Saturday mornings, covering topics like mental and emotional health, district plans for back to school as well as community services available for Spanish families.

“We try to be very practical. What does the family need now for the children to be successful and from there, to have the information they need to be able to help out the children,” Munoz said.

Munoz and Saltares picked radio as the platform because of the important of music in Latinx households and they use the program to not only spread information — but to highlight Latinx culture.

“We talk about the importance of maintaining the language, of celebrating the culture, of finding pride within that. Making sure the children feel proud about what they bring to the table instead of being ashamed that they don’t speak English well yet,” Munoz said.

The show has been live for a couple weeks now and they are asking the community to get involved by calling in and suggesting what topics they want to hear.

The Power of Education airs every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on Poder 97.1.

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