La Casa Hogar: Clean Energy in a Latino Community

For Latino families living in the Yakima Valley, there is one place that always feels like home. La Casa Hogar is a nonprofit organization that offers adult and early learning programs as well as citizenship and immigration support for Latino families. Since the 1990’s, La Casa Hogar has been housed in a mid-century craftsman in downtown Yakima and is a central part of the central Washington community.

La Escuelita under construction in 2020.

In 2018, the organization began the La Escuelita project (the little school) to provide an early learning space for La Casa Hogar’s existing pre-school program. This program serves under-resourced children ages 2-5, who would not otherwise access pre-school education. La Escuelita would be built in La Casa Hogar’s own backyard but the project would not be cheap. Between the construction, maintenance, and energy expenses, La Casa Hogar knew they would need some help.

Solar installer Gustavo Carvajal of Dynamic Solar & Electric NW Corp donated their time to make this project happen.

Spark Northwest has helped organizations across the northwest access the benefits of clean energy. Through the Access Solar program, tribes, low-income housing providers, and nonprofits like La Casa Hogar are able to make the shift to clean energy. Program Manager Mikhaila Gonzales provides guidance and grant-writing assistance for program participants.

“It’s inspiring to partner with organizations like La Casa Hogar, that work hard to advocate for their community, and create services and programs that really fit their needs. Our partners attend to so many competing priorities, especially in 2020, and while renewable energy is important to them and their community, there’s a lot of financial and logistical hoops to jump through. It’s rewarding to work to get through those hoops together.” – Mikhaila Gonzalez, Spark Northwest

Solar panels on the roof of La Escuelita.

With Mikhaila’s help, and in partnership with La Casa Hogar’s team, La Casa Hogar was able to secure a Pacific Power Blue Sky grant that funded the installation of solar panels on the newly constructed Escuelita. These panels will dramatically reduce the cost of electricity for the new learning space, freeing up much needed resources for La Casa Hogar.

Click here to learn more about the Access Solar program.

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