Seis Puentes celebrates new North Little Rock headquarters
A North Little Rock nonprofit is celebrating its new headquarters, aimed at better serving the city’s Spanish-speaking population.
Officials with Seis Puentes Hispanic Outreach broke ground Tuesday at their new headquarters in North Little Rock’s Levy neighborhood. Executive Director Raul Fernández said the new space will help the nonprofit in its efforts to give practical advice to newly-arrived immigrants in the region.
“We’re learning about where to pay your utilities, how to get your kids registered in school, how to register your business. We’re learning all the facets of our city and how it works,” he said.
The nonprofit was founded over 20 years ago and has had a presence in North Little Rock ever since. Fernández says the expansion is needed in order to better serve the city’s growing Hispanic community, which makes up about 10% of North Little Rock’s population.
“We’ve got to take care of the people that take care of us, and it’s important to remember that my community makes up a large percentage of the folks that put roofs back on our houses after the tornado damage,” he said. “They’re our teachers, our doctors. There’s so many valuable Hispanic community members that give to us, and we have to give back.”
Along with English lessons, Seis Puentes offers help with tasks like paying utility bills and registering children for school. The nonprofit also partners with the City of North Little Rock on a municipal identification program, which has provided over 700 photo ID cards to residents regardless of immigration status.
Fernández says he was inspired to serve the community by his parents, who came to North Little Rock from Puerto Rico in the late 1970s.
“A lot of times when I see folks walk into our doors, I see my parents. And of course that can be for things like English lessons… but it’s also just fellowship, being a friend to our new neighbors,” he said. “That can be a good restaurant recommendation, a nail salon, a hair salon, where to find childcare, where to find a friend, where to go to church.”
Fernández says Seis Puentes has already begun fundraising for the expansion, which will cost around $300,000. He says that cost will be partially offset by grants from the City of North Little Rock.