Since last fall, Latinos from across Steamboat have been gathering once a month for a night of music and dancing.
But it wasn't just Latinos and Chicanos showing up with their CDs of salsa, meringue, norteÃ±a and cumbia music to the dances. It was a mix of locals, Mexicans, Hondurans and Colombians. It was a blend of cultures. As organizers Cody Reed and Summer Laws watched people who couldn't speak a word of English dance with people who couldn't speak a word of Spanish, they said their goal was on the way to being met.
° Baile Latino (Spanish Dance Night) ° 8 p.m. Saturday ° RG's Dance Club, in the Old Pilot Building on 11th Street ° $7; includes one drink and food ° 846-5521
In December, Reed and Laws officially started the nonprofit organization Communidad Integrada or "Integrated Community" to introduce the two cultures to each other and to provide services for those struggling in a new country.
On Saturday, the group will hold its first fund-raiser at another of the monthly dances at RG's Dance Club. Early in the evening, food donated from the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant will be served. By the end of the evening, when the restaurants close and their employees show up at the party, the dancing and music will be in full swing.
The Communidad Integrada has received start-up grants from the United Way and Steamboat Mental Health, but organizers hope this fund-raiser will raise the money to buy a complete curriculum to teach English to Spanish speakers.
Currently, Communidad Integrada has 15 volunteers who go to the homes of immigrants to help them learn English, but those volunteers write their own lesson plans and have no textbooks.