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'We all work together,' The women making a big difference for Hispanics across the region

The women make up the Casa ALBA Melanie team, serving the Green Bay area's growing Hispanic community
Casa ALBA Melanie
Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 18:38:09-04

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — Casa ALBA Melanie, located near downtown Green Bay, is run by nine women who serve the area's quickly growing Hispanic community.

  • Opening its doors in 2012, the resource center addresses the urgent needs of the Hispanic community on a daily basis.
  • Executive director Amanda Garcia told me how leadership played an important role for her growing up.
  • The Casa ALBA team is made up of nine women, majority of them being Latina. To donate to the center, click here.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

For Casa ALBA executive director, Amanda Garcia, leadership has always been a value, especially as the oldest of four. Her parents moved here from Mexico.

"When I was in elementary, I remember having to navigate a lot of things for my parents," Garcia said. "Anything that required the English language, I was there to support my parents."

Today, she leads a small team helping the Hispanic community in northeast Wisconsin.

Amanda showed me around their building near downtown Green Bay.

Each team member has a focus, from housing and document assistance to medical and job referrals and more.

"Every one of us is like a piece of a puzzle that comes together," Garcia said.

Casa ALBA opened its doors in 2012. It was founded by Father Ken Degroot and Sister Melanie Maczka.

The same people who helped Amanda's parents adjust to life in Green Bay.

"I can't think of anyone else who has done that level of true dedication to helping others," Garcia said.

Now the facility is run entirely by women, most of them Latina women.

"I couldn't do what I do without the ladies I work with because they all play a key role in helping me do what I need to do," Deniz Valdez, Spanish health navigator, said. "We all work together."

Amanda says their work is about resilience something that's always inspired her. She remembers her high school graduation party.

"I gave a speech that I wanted to be the first Latina mayor of Green Bay," Garcia said.

According to the 2020 United States Census Bureau, Brown County's Hispanic population had reached 23,547 people. Casa ALBA addresses their urgent needs on a daily basis.

"I've actually said this to people," Garcia said. "Go to their homes, have a meal with them. I can assure you your perception of what an immigrant is, is going to change."

Amanda's call to action is to think of the important women in your life, get to know your neighbors who came here from another county, and support community organizations.