La Esperanza receives Arsht-Cannon Fund grant

For victims' mental health and adult education
February 23, 2014

La Esperanza recently announced it has been awarded a grant from the Arsht-Cannon Fund to support its victims services and adult education programs. Specifically, the funding will support La Esperanza’s mental health services for people traumatized by domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and additional crimes, as well as other types of therapeutic counseling.

Mental health services are in high demand and can be unattainable in Sussex County for Hispanic individuals due to linguistic, cultural, and systemic barriers. It is estimated there are several thousand Spanish speakers in southern Delaware who would benefit from mental health counseling to help them cope with and resolve significant trauma.

“Access to mental health services for English-speaking individuals can be daunting; however, it is far more so for Hispanic Delawareans because of the lack of bilingual mental health staff in Sussex County,” said Claudia Peña Porretti, executive director of La Esperanza. “Because of the generosity of the Arsht-Cannon Fund, La Esperanza now provides the critical bilingual mental health services needed by many in the Latino community.”

She added, “Our Victims Services Program offers wrap-around confidential, trauma-informed services provided by a well-integrated staff of two advocates, a mental health therapist, and an immigration attorney and assistant, all of whom are bilingual and culturally competent.” The Arsht-Cannon Fund grant also supports an education coordinator who teaches adult English Language Learner classes and also assists Latino families with school registrations.

Created in 2004, the Arsht Cannon Fund has a mission to improve the quality of life in Delaware by addressing key issues, needs and opportunities in diverse communities. Its current collaborations and nonprofit program funding maintain a focus on the integration and well-being of Hispanic Delawareans.

Founded in 1996 to support the needs of the growing Hispanic community in Sussex County, La Esperanza serves approximately 10,000 individuals per year, including children. For more information about La Esperanza and the Victims Services Program, contact Claudia Peña Porretti at 302-854-9262, Neda Biggs at 302-752-3191, or visit

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