Nathan Douglas (’15), a double major in Hispanic Studies and Secondary Education, completed a study of the availability of Spanish language services in non-profits and public agencies across the Bloomington-Normal area.
The project was developed according to this guiding question: There is a large range of non-profit/public services available in Bloomington/Normal, but what is the depth of these services with relation to the Spanish-speaking population? About 5% of those responding to the McLean County Census self-identified as Hispanic/Latino, and some community agencies do upwards of 30% of their client communication in Spanish. Un Momento, Por Favor, then, was an effort to see how well that our community was doing across the board in reflecting not only the service needs of the community, but the linguistic needs as well.
Initial research showed that less than 25% of agencies had some part of their website available in Spanish, with slightly more listing a contact person for Spanish-speaking clients. After this, we performed “secret shopper” calls; we pretended to be monolingual Spanish speakers and called agencies asking for their hours. While some agencies were able to respond very efficiently and effectively, many struggled to quickly provide an answer to the question. This disparity in the availability of Spanish language services opens up many opportunities for student work and research.