For us, self-sufficiency and empowerment are reached when a person feels they have control of their own life, and can take action what is important to them, their family, and their community.

Our programs are intended to help our clients remove barriers to self-sufficiency and empowerment.

To do this, our clients need to be able to access resources when needed, have strong support networks, develop resiliency, have knowledge of parenting and child/youth development, and live in safe, nurturing environments.

Brief overviews of our programs for:


Culturally Specific Supports

Although our programs are available to everyone, they are specifically designed to address the needs of low income families and of Latinos in Marion and Polk Counties.

Mano a Mano is the oldest Latino-led community organization in the Salem Metro Area.  Up to 85% of our clients identify as Latinos.  Our programs are designed and delivered by Latinos, with direct input from our clients.  Our entire organization is representative of the people we serve.

In addition, our board, staff and volunteers also have personal experience with poverty, being immigrants, bilingual and bicultural, and with issues such as discrimination, etc.

Our clients’ experience has been our experience, and that drives us to help others.  We know what it is like to walk in their shoes.

Culturally specific specific services are built on the principle of self-determination.  That is, the belief that homegrown leadership is preferable, and conducive to more positive and longer lasting outcomes than outside “experts”.

Culturally Responsive

Unlike culturally specific services, culturally responsive services are delivered by staff not representative of the people they serve, but with an understanding of equity, and of the experiences of the people they serve.

Mano a Mano’s programs are culturally responsive to other communities of color, other immigrant communities, and other social minority groups.  These shared experiences gives an understanding of the challenges, and of the strengths of these communities, even if our staff is not from their community.

Proven Cultural Practices

Our programs integrate cultural practices and values that reflect the experiences of the people we serve.  These practices serve to break down barriers between our team and our clients, and provide a familiar foundation upon which we might build a long term trusting relationship.

Evidence Based Practices

At the same time, these proven cultural practices complement practices proven by scientific research, relating to individual, family and community development.  This includes selected Best Practices and Models for programs that can be successfully replicated and applied to our local community.

However, most evidence-based models for Latino or immigrant populations were developed in communities vastly different to Marion and Polk Counties.

We believe our work is contributing to developing a theory that will, in the near future, inform the development of research-based practices to benefit communities like Marion and Polk Counties.