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From Advertising to Advocacy: A Multicultural Approach

Alyx Kellington

Alyx Kellington

How many languages are spoken in your local school district?

Chances are most of us will be surprised at the number and varieties of languages the students speak and probably do not know how to reach out to that community.

Currently, the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, is the 11th largest in the continental U.S. with 187 schools, serving over 174,000 (K-12) students who speak 141 languages/dialects. So how can you advertise your event to a native Kanjoval speaker?

Many school districts have a multicultural department and that in turn, may offer a Community Language Facilitator (CLF). In Palm Beach County, each school provides one CLF for every 15 students who speak a common language.

If your organization or program can go the extra mile and create a reference, lesson plan, or curriculum-based activity for the multicultural audience, you may find cultural and translation assistance available from the school district.

Example: Creating a partnership between a cultural organization and a specific school with a high population speaking Portuguese may inspire the organization to design more programs that relate or refer to Brazil.

Maps, cultural games or interactive word walls offer arts integrated opportunities to make a population feel more comfortable and likely to return to your establishment. Find a niche audience and build the bridge. The school or district may be seeking arts integration for this population and through a partnership, you may become part of the solution.

Another way to inexpensively translate your website, collateral, or lesson plans is to contact the local university. Many students studying a language are required to provide a written translation in order to graduate. Your organization’s project may just become that students’ ticket to a higher grade!

Translating your message into other languages not only reaches a larger audience, but can build a relationship with a community. Advertising can easily cross into advocacy. Serving a specific population may expand your organization’s message, provide you with a more diverse audience, and even change the demographics of your funders and/or board members.

Advocacy for a multicultural population may grow into new relationships with school board members, elected officials, fundraisers, and certainly will reflect well in the grant applications. So, how many languages are spoken in your local school district?

Go deep and wide: Take your message, find the audience, translate, and share with the community.

Bòn chans epi mèsi dèske w enterese nan lekti.

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