Our Mission and Our Belief
We believe that in order to understand one another we must also learn about one another. Therefore, Cambios, Inc. is dedicated to learning and providing information about the contributions that America’s diverse population has made on the social, educational, economic, agricultural, artistic, political and cultural development of the United States of America.
Cambios, Inc. was incorporated with the State of Michigan in June 1997 and Non-profit status with IRS was obtained on December 5, 1997.
In 1988 several people who wanted to provide more opportunities for youth and families of color connected through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to the local 4-H program. During the next eight years an often expressed wish grew into a larger dream and Cambios, Inc. was created. That initial wish was to have the time and energy available to concentrate on providing educational materials and programs for young children, families and teachers around the issue of racism, especially tailored for the uniqueness of Lenawee County. Those involved early expanded to a board of nine people committed to the dream, with the specific skills, community credibility and networks needed. The first program year began in July 1998.
About nine percent of the population of Lenawee County is of Hispanic heritage and two percent are African American. In Adrian, however, a large Class A public school system, 18% of the students are Hispanic and two to three percent are African American. That 20 percent youth and families of color provides an exceptional resource for the appreciation of diversity in a county with characteristics usually not so diverse. There are Asian Americans and Arab Americans who also live in the area. African American families have been county residents for as many as five generations and a number of the Hispanic families have been here for at least three generations. In addition the Lenawee Intermediate School District has long provided strong resources for youth and families with disabilities.
County-wide there are families who still must deal with the reality of racism. That racism is individual, institutional and systemic. It is our belief that one way to help reduce that to zero is through early education that continues with consistency and is multi-faceted. Race issues that impact employability, housing, human services, health systems and law enforcement will be affected and improved over time, as well as education itself and the quality of human relationships.
Current programs include:
- providing multicultural children’s books to all county elementary schools
- providing related bibliographies to families, teachers and the general public
- sponsoring a graduate level course through Siena Heights University titled “Integrating Multicultural Literature into the Curriculum”
- Providing volunteer readers, especially volunteers of color, to schools, youth agencies, faith communities and others interested in using multicultural children’s literature.
We are currently supported by grants from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, United Bank and Trust in Tecumseh and from individual donations. Long term funding will be initiated to enable the majority of staff time to be spent in programming.