As a part of the self-help and peer support group process Ms. Wong employed with her group, women in the group who had escaped domestic violence offered emotional support and caring as Comadres for those currently experiencing abuse at home. In effect, these women became their own mental health caregivers. As a natural development of this self-help and peer support process, the women continued to offer emotional and social support to help each other be more independent even after the group had ended. Based upon this earlier experience, Ms. Wong recognized the need for increased leadership capacity among grassroots Latina women.
In 1999, Miriam developed Mujer, Salud y Liderazgo/The Latina Community Women's Health Leadership Program (MSL), a culturally and linguistically specific program for building personal and professional leadership skills among Latina women. The following year, Ms.Wong established The Latina Center, founded on the belief that successful and effective community change to improve health starts with leaders from the community, especially women. Located in Richmond, in the heart of West Contra Costa County, The Latina Center has propelled many Latina women into leadership positions in the community. Ms.Miriam Wong is a dedicated advocate with a firm belief that she, and other women like her, can truly contribute to and make a difference in their own lives, in the lives of their families and in the community.
Ms. Melara holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. In 1995 she was inducted into San Francisco State University Alumni Wall of Fame.
For more information: www.thelatinacenter.org