As a means of promoting awareness and understanding of resources/agencies and city departments, past events in which the Forum has participated in have included working with the Mesquite Police Department in quarterly deployments, in which Forum members provided translation services between citizens and police officers to disseminate crime-prevention information. The Forum has also provided translation services to the Mesquite Police Department at their annual Santa Cop Program, where the majority of the recipients were Spanish-speaking individuals. The Forum assisted this program, also, by conducting a Santa Cop Toy Drive in an effort to assist with toy donations. The Forum has further provided translation services for residents in the community who attended informational presentations provided by the Police Department regarding the drug “cheese” heroin.
During the spring of 2006, the Forum was instrumental in providing bilingual information in the form of a presentation, to students and parents within the Mesquite Independent School District (the “MISD”), regarding immigration reform, which was an issue affecting the Hispanic community at that time.
Forum members have assisted the Mesquite Fire Department by participating in their annual Smoke Detector Campaign, in which translation services were provided between citizens and firefighters regarding fire safety and smoke detector installation. In an effort to provide a means for educational growth for all children, a Forum member translated two children’s stories regarding fire safety and prevention, which are now used in the Kindergarten level as part of a puppet show, within MISD.
Forum members have volunteered at the annual City of Mesquite Parks and Recreation Department event entitled Christmas in the Park, where they have offered their time in manning a booth at this popular city-wide event.
In 2006 and 2007, the Forum put on a Cinco de Mayo event for the City, in an effort to provide vitality and increase cultural awareness and education among all citizens in the community. This was a well-attended success story for the Mesquite community. Due to that success, the Forum began participating and partnering with the City of Mesquite and the Real.Texas.Festival. in 2008 and 2009 to increase cultural awareness, by providing consulting assistance with this Festival in regards to Hispanic entertainment and by providing translation services throughout this 3-day event to ensure that no communication barriers exist between Festival administration/staff and festival-goers. The Forum currently has its own area within the Festival, called La Plaza, where festival-goers can enjoy games such as Loteria, Cake Walk, Ring Toss, Pinatas and much more!
The Forum participates in the Sharing Life Back to School Fair by providing volunteers to stuff backpacks for children in the community needing these items, as well as in assisting in translation services to families on the day of the event itself.
The Forum currently continues to support these and many other programs as they occur throughout the year. Each year brings about another successful year of Forum activities as well as its continued community partnerships. The Forum plans to continue these programs in future years. The programs will continue to grow and improve, and the Forum plans to participate in various city/community events to provide translation services, serve as volunteers, as needed, to increase communication and break down any language barriers.