Olivia Donia | Staff Writer
Duquesne’s Center for Catholic Faith and Culture, along with the Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research, hosted an event on community engagement on April 2. The event, called Won’t You Be My Neighbor, showcased the work done by the Latino Family Center (LFC) in the greater Pittsburgh community at their facilities Downtown.
As a Catholic university, Duquesne’s mission emphasizes strong ties to the community with a focus on charity and involvement in key issues. And a partnership with the Latino Family Center (LFC) lines up with the drive to get involved with the Pittsburgh community.
The LFC is a decade-old nonprofit under the Allegheny Intermediate Unit that assists Latinx immigrant families in adjusting to life in the U.S.
The Won’t You Be My Neighbor program — which takes its title from Pittsburgh’s own Mr. Rogers — came about as an effort to better involve Duquesne University faculty, staff and affiliates with the concept of community engagement. During the event, attendees had the chance to meet the LFC staff, tour the agency, and learn more about what the Latino Family Center does.
The Latino Family Center offers a variety of services, such as parental support, support groups, and child development assistance, that aim to help Latinx families settle in the U. S. comfortably and successfully while still remaining close to their cultural roots. The Latino Family Center has had a long history with Duquesne in the past, having previously worked with Duquesne’s Law Clinic, the Psychology Clinic and the tutoring program for local high school students.
“By taking time to spotlight the LFC—which focuses its resources on Latinx individuals, ensuring their success in community—we are elevating the work of an agency focused on marginalized individuals, which also responds to the mission’s call to action,” said Jessica Mann, the director of Duquesne’s Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research.
“This event … was created as a way to introduce Duquesne community members to community engagement as well as Duquesne’s unique approach to the concept,” said Mann. “Moreover, the event was developed as a way to highlight community partnerships—celebrating the excellent work that is already occurring at these agencies and in partnership with the university as well as affording a space and place to discuss ways of further developing said partnerships.”
Duquesne’s “unique approach” to the concept of community engagement involves sticking to several principles, among them building authentic relationships with others; being open, teachable and reflective; walking with those on the margins; and taking responsible action to build a more just world. These factors all tie into Duquesne’s identity as a Spiritan institution.
“As a Catholic institution inspired by the Spiritan charism, our approach to community engagement is rooted in working alongside those in the margins to strive for global social justice,” Mann said. “By celebrating the work of our community-engaged partnerships, we’re highlighting what Duquesne’s mission looks like in action.”