New organization ‘GOAL’ aims to connect with, engage Latino community; Hispanic Health Fair returning in July

June 13, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated June 13, 2024 | 12:10 am

Heidi Reyes-Taylor said her work with the Bakhita Empowerment Initiative (BEI) taught her that trust is needed to improve the Latino community in Owensboro’s engagement with the surrounding area. So, she and several community partners are forming the Greater Owensboro Alianza Latina (GOAL).

Reyes-Taylor said that members of the Latino community in Owensboro can often feel “othered.” This can limit where they go to receive resources or aid in their personal lives.

GOAL’s mission is to host events, provide points of connection, and be more geared toward the Latino community. GOAL also hopes to reinstill some of the trust in wider systems.

“We were having a hard time getting to them. Even though I am from this community and I speak like them and carry the same lingo, it was really difficult for them to trust me because they didn’t trust the other systems around us even when we have really wonderful federal partners and really great community partners that are willing to really invest time and resources into cases,” Reyes-Taylor said.

GOAL is preparing to launch its first initiative by reviving the Hispanic Health Fair this July. Through the event, they want to gather community partners in all forms of health.

This includes physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health outlets. The organization is still accepting applications for vendors here. Reyes-Taylor said the best way to get ahold of her is through the Google Form.

“We’re really trying to cover all the possible aspects that are related to health because, at the end of the day, everything comes back and it affects our health. Like if a youth is experiencing poverty, it’s going to manifest as they become an adult, and they’ll have coping mechanisms that are not healthy,” she said.

The event on July 27 will return to Saints Joseph and Paul Catholic Church on East 4th Street. Though the location is at a church, Reyes-Taylor said they do not plan to alienate any communities.

“We’re trying to really reach everyone. We’re hoping to establish that trust, and we’ll continue to look at other locations as we continue to grow,” Reyes-Taylor said.

Each booth at the event will carry a different country’s theme in an effort to allow the youth in the community to see someone who may come from the same background as them.

Moments like this remind Reyes-Taylor of being a young Latina growing up in Owensboro without seeing someone in the community who spoke, looked, or had the same ideas as her.

“I’m always striving to be that woman for myself and for the little girl within me and to inspire others,” she said. “There’s a beauty when someone knows that I can trust this person because they have good intentions, and they’re moving in the direction that’s for more prosperity and for more equality and for better opportunities.”

June 13, 2024 | 12:15 am

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