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Raleigh Group, Community Center, Spread Hurricane Awareness To Hispanics

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RALEIGH — In the past 10 years, we have learned how important it is to be prepared for the threat of hurricanes. Sometimes, cultural and language barriers keep people out of the information loop. A four-week summer camp is designed to give people the information they need to assure their safety.

Gabriella Gutierrez says her family was not ready for disaster when Hurricane Andrew swept through Florida. That is why she is helping some Raleigh families to prepare in case another hurricane strikes.

"My family went through Hurricane Andrew and we lost our house and we lost all our belongings," Gutierrez said.

Hurricane emergency knowledge is part of the Dialogo Summer Camp at Cameron Gardens Community Center.

The children reflect how fast the Hispanic population is growing in Raleigh. The community center staff realized they had to adapt their programs to meet everyone's needs.

The Latin American Resource Center is helping to make these programs useful to Hispanic children and their families.

"We are trying to provide as much information and education and perhaps learning some skills that any member of any community should have," said Aura Camacho Maas.

They are learning how to find information on the Internet, and how to track a storm as it threatens the state.

An instructor explained that when the children shop, they need to consider how strong the packaging is: "They didn't pick the sacks that are going to get wet and break. They didn't pick the glass because that too can break."

The community center and the Resource Center hope that wise choices, information passed from child to parent to neighbor, each in their own language and their own way, could help avert tragedy.