Kathy Hinshaw: Honoring 20 Years of Service to the Local Immigrant and Refugee Communities
Kathy Hinshaw moved from Peru to Greensboro in 1996. After arriving in Greensboro, she enrolled in classes at Guilford Technical Community College to help her relearn English. A few years later, Kathy began working for the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro. Unfortunately, the Center experienced budget cuts in the early 2000s and could no longer afford to provide Kathy with full-time employment.
Through working with the Women’s Resource Center, Kathy was able to connect with other local agencies and community organizations. One individual she met was Dr. Raleigh Bailey, the founder of the Center of New North Carolinians (CNNC). Dr. Bailey asked Kathy if she would like to work with the Immigrant Health ACCESS Project (IHAP) which she happily accepted. Part of her position with IHAP was to reach out to the local Latinx community to help them navigate the health system, including transportation, interpretation, and general health education. In addition to driving clients to doctors appointments and providing interpretation, Kathy also held workshops and training for health education. Kathy provided courses to her clients about health as well as exercise classes. Slowly, Kathy helped to foster an environment where clients found their confidence and connected with others, creating strong bonds throughout the community. Kathy stated that this was one of the programs she was the most proud of as she witnessed her clients becoming community leaders.
Eventually clients began confiding more in Kathy and raising additional issues they were facing especially regarding their children. For many families, it was difficult to help their children with school work since it was all in English. Kathy took this information to the local school districts where they collaborated to arrive at a solution. The local schools began to incorporate interpreters in the classroom and hired teachers who were bilingual. The CNNC provided additional support through a program called Tutoring on Wheels. Through this program, volunteers helped young students with their homework while also teaching parents–primarily mothers–English. The Tutoring on Wheels Program was eventually absorbed into the Community Centers where similar opportunities are available today.
Through her twenty years of working with the CNNC, Kathy has learned the value of actively listening to concerns and issues of others in order to develop an effective plan of action. Doing so allowed Kathy to successfully implement several programs with the CNNC which have since evolved to include the Community Centers, the Interpreter ACCESS Project, Thriving at Three, and Immigration Services. Today, Kathy mainly works with the CNNC Immigration Services where she provides assistance and access to those who are eligible to immigrate and are in need of immigration counseling. While she enjoys her current position, Kathy misses the direct and daily interactions with the local Latinx communities where she can watch families grow and settle into Greensboro. She hopes to eventually work more directly with the community again.
Kathy is proud of the work she has accomplished within the Greensboro community and wishes more people knew that while the CNNC’s core mission is to facilitate access to resources for the local immigrant and refugee communities, it is also a place to talk about issues that affect everyone in Greensboro.