Latinos United of Carroll County, Inc.
In 1998 Dr. Marjorie Snipes from the Anthropology Department, Gyla Gonzalez, a UWG graduate and Suzy Montalto from the LIFT program got together and launched the first Health Fair directed to help the Latino community in the area. After this event there was a need to help more and the Multicultural Alliance was created. This coalition was created with the main purpose of educating the Latino Community providing English as a Second Language, and GED classes and was located at the Brookwood Apartments, managed by the Carrollton Housing Authority.
A year later, Dr. Elena Mustakova-Possardt, a Psychology Professor at the University of West Georgia decided that it was an important part of the education of graduate and undergraduate psychology students, as future helping professionals, to engage in a systemic effort to help the new Latino immigrants organize themselves into a healthy and vibrant community, capable of addressing its own needs. She began to bring her students into Brookwood, and to hold weekly community meetings, at which Latino immigrants shared their difficult journeys and their current struggles as a marginalized minority, with psycho-social adjustment to life in Carroll County. Psychology students began to develop their cross-cultural skills of working with displaced communities in a global era, and Latinos began to feel respected, listened to and included. It quickly became apparent that it was a powerful multi-faceted learning experience for all involved.
In early 2001, Dr. Elena Mustakova-Possardt founded Latinos United of Carroll County (LUCC), and began to bring together individuals who wanted to help their community to form the Governing Board of LUCC. Dr. Mustakova contacted Dr. Evangelio González, a local Physician from Cuba, Maria Ponce a business manager from México, Gyla González, a journalist, and many other community members that made the group dynamic and diverse. Dr. Mustakova applied for and received grants from the National Council of La Raza, which helped develop LUCC as a non-profit organization. In 2003 Latinos United of Carroll County was awarded the fourth annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration.
Dr. Mustakova-Possardt’s project focused on the psycho-social growth and empowerment of the Latino community. As Founding President of LUCC, she provided trainings for the Board and the volunteers, as well as a weekly pro-bono psychotherapy for individuals and families in need. The project also became a laboratory for psychology students to begin to translate their theoretical learning in humanistic psychology into the practice of working toward the peaceful cross-cultural integration of diverse and complex communities.
In 2002, Dr. Mustakova stepped down as Founding President and Dr. Evangelio González became LUCC President and Director of the Health Clinic, which has provided health care to thousands of people in our community. The Community clinic became and still is the most successful program LUCC has. Many of Dr. Mustakova’s students volunteered in the clinic till 2006. Dr. González continues to volunteer and under his leadership LUCC has continued to keep its doors open to help the Latino community.
Currently LUCC has as its main purpose to continue being the bridge among the Latino community and the rest of the Carroll County community. We continue the work of keeping the Latino Community informed, and out of the shadows.
In 2007 LUCC went through a change, Dr. Elena Mustakova-Possardt left Georgia and currently lives in Washington D.C. Dr. Mustakova-Possardt is an educator, psychotherapist and independent scholar, who continues to work in health realization and social health. LUCC continues in existence working and helping the Latino Community.
LUCC continues having a partnership with the University of West Georgia. We get volunteers from the Latino Cultural Society, Hispanic sororoty and fraternity help LUCC with all events and currently LUCC has a partnership with Carrollton City Schools.
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