SALUD!A multicultural health coalition focused on improving and sustaining a healthy community.
- Community members of Storm Lake and surrounding areas who are committed to actively working on improving and sustaining a healthy community while promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Include all cultures and minority groups in efforts to address equity and inclusion related issues.
- Listen and learn about the concerns, ongoing efforts, and needs regarding the health of the Storm Lake. community.
- Identify and promote existing community programs and agencies.
- Collaborate, connect, and support individuals engaged in promoting well-being in the community.
- Initiate events and programs that promote well-being.
- Being inclusive (considering all minorities) in the planning of events or programming.
How this project/organization build relationships
SALUD provides a safe space for immigrants, refugees, & minority groups to meet with other community members and leaders in order to establish rapport with one another and engage in critical dialogue regarding specific social needs
- SALUD does not fundraise or solicit donations, although they do occasionally pass on donations to give to others such as personal donations.
- SALUD asks partners and personal donors to sponsor evens.
- SALUD’s expenses are minimal: light lunches for monthly meetings, printing of fliers, web site maintenance, etc. are covered by private contributions.
- SALUD members meet monthly on Fridays during lunch
- Subcommittees meet separately, and times will vary depending on the project or event on which that team is currently working.
- Subcommittees meet in order to discuss, plan, and initiate activities and programs that focus on various topics such as mental health, language and literacy, political forums, hunger issues, leadership opportunities, higher education, on-site screenings, and immigration issues.
- Dr. Carlos Canales Event Committee: meets monthly for 4 months.
- Parade of Nations: meets monthly for 7 months, Jan-July.
- Paying it Forward: meets monthly for 4 months.
- Hunger Dialogue: generally meets monthly to discuss food insecurity issues in our community.
Di Daniels, the founder of SALUD, has shown hospitability by providing her home as a potential meeting place. Meetings, gatherings, and events are often held at Lakeside Presbyterian Church’s building space called “Our Place”. Our Place has sought out and applied for smaller-scale grants
- Iowa University Extension & Outreach, Food Bank of Iowa
- Annual Food Security Summit since 2017
- Buena Vista University joined in 2018
- Chaplains at pork and turkey factories cooperate with monthly health screenings
- Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. food pantry
- CAASA: Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault
- Hunger-Free Iowa Initiative
- Tornado Alley food rescue project
- United Community Health Center
- Buena Vista Regional Medical Center
- Seasons: Center for Behavioral Health
- Tyson Foods, Inc
- Our Place
- Storm Lake Community School District
- Buena Vista University of Storm Lake
- Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R)
- Justice For Our Neighbors
- Mary J. Treglia House Community House
- Iowa Women’s Foundation
- Storm Lake Police Department
- Bridge of Storm Lake
- AmeriCorp VISTA
United Community Health Center
Buena Vista Regional Medical Center
Plains Area Mental Health Center
City of Storm Lake
Iowa State University Extension
SALUD events that are sponsored are those related to health, whether is physical, mental, or emotional health.
Our Story: "SALUD! is about creating a space that is inclusive for all"
SALUD is a multicultural health coalition in Storm Lake, Iowa that organizes health-based events with local organizations, working towards a healthy community for all. Diane Daniels founded SALUD in 2012 There exists no leadership board since all SALUD participants eventually take on leadership positions of their own. Meetings involve informal conversations and presentations among 20 to 30 members at a time during monthly meetings that fall on a Friday. SALUD consists of a significant percentage of members from minority groups and diverse communities. Many of whom work at health centers, schools, nonprofits, and law enforcement. A lot of them are also parents, spiritual leaders, or students.
Mayra Lopez has been a SALUD member for about 2 years now. She learned about SALUD while she was a college student at Buena Vista University, and got on board with the coalition after graduating in 2017 because she felt the coalition was inclusive to Latinas like herself. SALUD attracts diverse populations because they provide a safe space that is free of judgment or discrimination. Even when discussing controversial issues, SALUD members are able to conduct themselves in an ethical manner where all opinions are respected.
SALUD is wherever we are.
SALUD also organizes, plans, and leads in local events. SALUD encourages participation from community members to participate in the Parade of Nations, which is part of Storm Lake’s annual 4th of July celebration: Star-Spangled Spectacular cultures are represented in the Parade of Nations, such as Sudanese, Micronesian, Laotian, Mexican, Salvadorian, Hmong, Karen, Czech, Dutch, etc. SALUD helps organize the registration process and set-up for the parade. About 10-15 groups on average will participate in the Parade of Nations event (depending on the year). The Parade of Nations is an event where SALUD members showcase their cultures through art, clothes, dance, and music.
SALUD is non-partisan but not necessarily non-political. Political issues that affect the health and well-being of our immigrant and refugee neighbors are of concern to the coalition. Members are always free to participate or not in the activities we generate or with which we become involved. An example of this is the recent Lights for Liberty vigil that was a national event, protesting the inhumane conditions faced by immigrants, migrants and asylum seekers who are forced to stay in detention camps on the southern US border. When coalition members Mayra Lopez and Joanne Alvorez expressed interest in participating by organizing the vigil in Storm Lake, they had the support and blessing of SALUD.
Storm Lake’s Public Safety Director is an active SALUD member. He has helped strengthen the relationship between the town’s diverse communities and the local police department.
SALUD’s strength comes from its members’ commitment and dedication to giving back to the community and fostering relationships in the process. Another strength is the coalition’s fluid, non-structured organizational style, which is reflected within its informal subcommittee meetings. Subcommittees address community needs and concerns which vary from issues such as health care, food security, mental health, and social work. Diane’s house provides a familial setting where subcommittee members are able to “take off their shoes and relax” while coming together to discuss some of the community’s biggest challenges.
“[SALUD] is wherever we are,” Lopez says. In other words, SALUD members view the coalition as a lifestyle focused on cultivating a familial space where one feels a real connection with their neighbors. Although the monthly meetings, subcommittee meetings, and events are carried out with the necessary structure, organization, and accountability to bring about the desired outcomes, the tone of these activities is one in which we honor relationships over outcomes.
SALUD members promote health as a multifaceted idea that includes spiritual, mental, physical, and social well-being. When confronting health challenges in the multicultural community, SALUD encourages action from community members. For Lopez, “A community is only as healthy as its members, and by members, I mean ALL its members.” Going forward, SALUD seeks to connect and start a conversation with all members in the Storm Lake community.
SALUD considers all minority groups and diverse communities when planning events or programming, SALUD actively promotes leadership involvement within minority groups and diverse communities. SALUD identifies and promotes other community programs, agencies, and individuals working on community well-being. They will support or collaborate with the programs, agencies, and individuals whenever possible.
Covering everything on the agenda during their monthly, one-hour long meetings at noon. Currently, SALUD is looking into flexible, remote, meeting options since not everyone lives in town. Getting more sponsors to fund their events is a challenge. SALUD could improve more on advertising to heighten its presence beyond Storm Lake, welcoming new partners. In this political climate, SALUD does not intend to stir division, but some still see the discussion of often ignored issues as confrontational. At the macro level, SALUD attempts to not focus on the problem, but rather on the solution.
Things to Remember
- A community is only as healthy as all of its members
- Acknowledge that health is more than physical, it is spiritual and personal
- Relationships grounded in people and their culture matter most