What does CHAC do?
Formed as a nonprofit organization in 2000, The Chambersburg Hispanic American Center (CHAC) bridges the language and cultural divide that sometimes hinders new Latino residents from accessing services for which they are eligible. CHAC’s main goals are to inform and educate. It seeks to integrate Latinos, both temporary and permanent residents, into the local community and help them to improve the quality of their lives. Most of our work is carried out through one-on-one counseling in Spanish and English, offered free. CHAC connects people with jobs, housing and various social services.
CHAC offers free translation, interpretation, referral and case management services to all low-to-moderate income individuals, regardless of their ethnicity. CHAC has a special mission to serve Latino clients. Hence its bilingual services.
Whom does CHAC serve?
CHAC primarily serves low-to-moderate income working Latino adults who live in the Borough of Chambersburg. CHAC is their “single point of contact” enabling them to access services for which they qualify. Latinos served by CHAC are culturally diverse, coming from nineteen different Spanish-speaking countries. In CHAC’s first year, there were 108 visits. Last year, there were more than 1300 visits by more than 400 different individuals.
Why is CHAC’s work important?
No other service agency in Chambersburg has a similar capacity to reach out to the Latino population. CHAC assists people with many issues, including housing, employment, emergency translation, legal and medical referral and accessing various social services.
The following example really happened: A single mother arrives in Chambersburg and lacks employment and housing. CHAC's Executive Director helps her find suitable housing for herself and two children. The mother, literate in both English and Spanish, enrolls in classes and earns her GED. Through CHAC contacts, she is offered a part-time job, and after several weeks, her employer upgrades her position to full-time. In the meantime, her two children thrive, the one in pre-school and the other in sports, where she is recognized for her achievement. The mother continues to advance, and her employer sends her to a training program. Upon completion, she is given the position of desk manager.
CHAC helps people help themselves.
How does CHAC provide its services?
Diana Martes, Executive Director and CHAC's only employee, offers individual counseling at CHAC’s office at 252 S. Main Street, in Chambersburg, PA. She also assists clients outside the office. When volunteers are available, small group activities are provided, such as Citizenship classes and English as a Second Language (ESL).
CHAC connects with recruiters from The Hershey School and works with local educators and churches to promote education among low-income students and their parents. Thirteen youngsters have enrolled at The Hershey School during the past several years as a direct result.
CHAC is primarily supported by the charitable contributions of individuals, churches and businesses. It also receives a modest monthly income from a rental property that it was given through a Community Development Block Grant in 2000.
CHAC receives no government funding of any kind from local, state or federal sources.
CHAC invites you to make a financial contribution to further its work and support its operating expenses. All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law because CHAC is a nonprofit organized under section 501 (c) 3 of the federal tax code.
Please make checks out to CHAC or The Chambersburg Hispanic American Center and send them to 252 S. Main St., Chambersburg, 17201.
CHAC’s phone number is 717-262-2480; e-mail may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Delores Huerta Medal
Shippensburg University Department of Social Equity awarded Diana Martes (CHAC Executive Director), Chambersburg Mayor Pete Lagiovane and Marilyn Ross (CHAC President) this medal for their contributions to the local Hispanic community at a ceremony and dinner on October 28, 2013. They are the first-ever recipients of this medal.