He sees every morning from the window of his office Cesar Rodney Square and Governor Markell’s office building while sipping a cup of good coffee. Carlos de los Ramos, (Cuenca, Ecuador), former Vice President of Development and Public Relations of the Latin American Community Center (LACC) is the new Associate Director for AARP Delaware now.
“It’s a new step in my professional life, I seek the possibilities offered by the corporate world,” says De los Ramos.
The change has not made Carlos de los Ramos losing his sense of solidarity, cultivated for nearly twenty years at the Latin Center.
“I started as a volunteer and said goodbye in the same way,” he says wistfully.
However, the former right hand of Maria Matos, LACC’s Executive Director, says with conviction that “the Latin American Community Center remains and will always be part of my life wether I’m here or fifty thousand miles away.”
There is no doubt that De los Ramos has the center in his heart. At LACC he learned to walk and understand the world in the United States.
“I’ll always support el Centro in everything it needs, LACC gave me a different perspective, impacting and changing the lives of people not only in the short term but in the long run.”
AARP, the nonprofit organization that he is working now, also impacts our communities, “with resources that Latinos don’t know”.
It is a wrong perception to think that AARP is an organization just for seniors because AARP “advocates to prepare and help to grow old with dignity and respect.”
Programs like “Reimagining your life” or “Financial approach to retirement” can be started at any age. Their focus is on people who have crossed their fifties, but at the same time the organization has many younger volunteers.
They are developing the “Scam-jam”, a program teaching people how to avoid being a victim of fraud and to use shredders to get rid of important documents, avoiding identity theft. On July 11th, AARP will coordinate a statewide event to learn about fraud prevention and the possibility of destroying their documents that they need to dispose of. This events are open to the public and everybody is invited to participate.
“AARP educates the community in trying to avoid being a victim of financial fraud, which not only affects the elderly. It has the Fraud Watch program.”
“We try to educate and the best way to reach our community is having more Latino volunteers to avoid these scammers. They are our first line of defense here at AARP.”
Another task carried out by the organization is the education on the “Affordable Care Act” and the prevention of fraud related to the health care. We conduct educational sessions at the local and national levels.
“To fulfill our mission we need volunteers to get involved and represent us in front of lawmakers, in meetings, etc. We give them the tools necessary to represent AARP in those circles.”
The organization has opened an Internet portal “Create the good”, in which anyone can place a community event and solicit volunteers. They have also developed mobile applications (English and Spanish) that offer resources. De los Ramos is spreading the word in the Hispanic community about the existence of many resources offered by AARP.
“We have partnerships with other organizations like LACC, where we develop programs as our very successful course of “Driver safety”, which is very useful and attended by our community.”
Twenty years of community experience, let De los Ramos to work on issues that Latinos may find along the way.
“I never felt as a minority in my home country.”
De los Ramos knows what it means to be on the other side, because he was there before. Then he took the decision to work on making an impact in his community.
“I came to the US from a traditional and technologically undeveloped country at that time. I didn’t speak good English and didn’t know the system. Feeling completely alone without my family and suffering discrimination, all made me open up to the Anglo-Saxon world, understanding their rules and walking beside them. ”
Carlos de los Ramos decided to change where it felt it had to and to influence the world around him. At some point, both him and the world around him met.
“If you are not part at the table, you are part of the menu”.
* AARP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all as we age, offering a wide range of unique benefits, special products and services for its members.