RED OAK, Iowa -- Moving to a new state or community is a difficult undertaking for anyone. Newcomers must adjust to a new home, new school, new employer and new neighbors. Dealing with these stressors with the added burden of a language barrier is almost incomprehensible to most Iowans. However, thousands of Spanish-speaking immigrants face this added difficulty daily as they acclimate to life in Iowa and the United States.
To help Iowa’s newest residents adjust to their environment, Iowa State University Extension Community and Economic Development, the Southwest Iowa Latino Resource Center in Red Oak and the nonprofit educational corporation Experience Education have developed a series of Spanish language DVDs that teach life skills in an understandable format.
The 10-DVD series, Éxito en el Norte, is targeted at newly arrived Spanish speaking immigrants. Established immigrants, as well as service providers, employers and others working with immigrants, will also find the information useful.
The content of the DVDs is based on the experience of Jennifer Horner, founder of the Southwest Iowa Latino Center, and depicts everyday situations that recently arrived immigrants face. The topics covered in the series are taxes, employment, health care, public assistance, education, transportation, finances, housing, the legal system and immigration. Three of these topics—housing, transportation and employment—are state specific and currently available only for Iowa. The DVDs run between 19 and 34 minutes and are accompanied by printed resource guides that highlight state and local resources on each topic, as well as an English translation of the script.
Since July 2006, 343 sets of the series have been sold in 29 states, including Iowa. The primary purchasers are libraries, immigrant education centers, health and human service agencies, Hispanic outreach centers, community colleges, businesses, and other state agencies, according to Steve Adams, community development field specialist in Southwest Iowa. In addition, land grant institutions in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa have purchased/reviewed the series and are working to incorporate it into their Latino outreach programming.
Last fall, the Northwest Area Foundation underwrote a small portion of the outreach and marketing cost ($25,000) for Éxito en el Norte by assisting in conferences, brochures, display pieces, and Web sites to increase the visibility of this product within its eight-state area (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa).
Every New Iowans Center in the state has purchased two full sets of the series and ISU Extension is collaborating with the Southern Rural Development Center and the Western Center for Rural Development to conduct outreach in the southern and western United States.
Adams is working with the ISU Sociology Department to develop discussion and curriculum guides to accompany the series for group interaction. He also is facilitating the development of new leadership programming that brands Community Voices, a community development and leadership program for minority residents, with an ISU Extension distinction to act as a companion to the DVD series or as a stand alone piece.
The complete set of DVDs or videos is available to nonprofit organizations at a discounted price of $599.95 and individual DVDs or videos are available for $79.95. There is a 10 percent discount for the purchase of seven or more items. Purchases can be made at www.exitovideos.com. For additional information regarding Éxito en el Norte, contact Adams at (712) 769-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.exitovideos.com.