La Paz's Case for Support
Why do we do what we do?
Why have an organization in Chattanooga, TN, that is specifically targeted toward the Latinos living in this region?
The short answer...
LOVE + COMPASSION
(with a bit of Southern hospitality)
To the person reading this right now, we don't know if you've ever lived in a foreign land. Or if you've had to cross cultural barriers and attempt to adjust to life in a new location.
Perhaps you have. And if so, then you understand the difficulties that can exist to get accustomed to the way of life in a foreign place...a place where so many things are different than the way you've lived before.
Our desire is to help those who have found themselves in Chattanooga and are trying to not just get established, but to thrive here. We want to help them make it their home, not just a foreign place.
How do we do this. By offering...
A Place of Peace & Hope to the Foreigner
"And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace." - Jeremiah 29:7
As reflected by our name - La Paz de Dios (but doing business as La Paz Chattanooga) - our desire is to serve as a place of peace to anyone who walks through our door.
All of our full time staff at La Paz Chattanooga have a connection to Latin America in some way and all of us are bilingual. This sets up a non-threatening environment for the immigrant community, especially from Latin American nations, where they know they can find information without judgment. And because many of us have moved to the United States from another country or have lived overseas in Latin America, we understand first-hand how it feels to be a foreigner trying to establish oneself in a new hometown.
Chattanooga's Growing Latino Population
Chattanooga continues to see a dramatic rise in Latino immigrants. In 2000, the Census showed that the City of Chattanooga (not to mention Hamilton County) had 3,300 Hispanic residents, translating to 3.3% of the total population. In 2010, that number grew to 9,000 residents (or 5.5%). In 2016, estimates show that there are more than 15,000 Hispanic residents (or 10.6% of the population) living in Chattanooga. And experts predict that by 2020, Hispanics will make up 15% (or around 24,000 people) of the city's population.
That's a growth of close to 22,000 people!
This growing number of Latino residents are our neighbors, students, customers, workforce, and community participants. The stronger they become, the stronger our city becomes.
The Need to Build Capacity
We need to meet the needs of this growing population. But the number of staff, amount of physical space, and the limited time for services has already reached our current capacity. To be the "center of peace" for this growing population, we simply need to build capacity.