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OASIS Latine Fair to be held May 5th at Avery County High School in Newland

By Tim Gardner

The first Avery Latine Fair, sponsored by OASIS, Incorporated, will be held on Friday, May 5th from 5:30 until 8:00 p.m. at Avery County High School, located at 401 High School Road in Newland.

OASIS’s PART (Preventing Abuse Response Team) helped create the Avery Latine Fair as a response to the ever-growing Latine/Hispanic community in Avery County. Its purpose is to build a bridge between the LEP (Limited English Proficient) residents and the entire Avery community. 

The event is free to all who attend.

Many LEP immigrants easily isolate due to the language barrier and cultural differences, so the Avery Latine Fair’s primary goals are to provide an inclusive, welcoming space and to celebrate the diversity within the Latine/Hispanic community.

There will be tables and booths at the Latine Fair to represent what country Latine/Hispanic community leaders are from, an interactive salsa class hosted by Latin Dance Boone, traditional folkloric Mexican dance, delicious Latine/Hispanic food and drinks.

Anyone who is interested in serving as an interpreter for the Avery Latine Fair can do so by scanning the Quick Response (QR) barcode on the appropriate poster (in English or Spanish) included with the article and filling out the Google form. An OASIS representative will then contact you about working the event.

Avery County Services Coordinator Rubi Estrada (left) and Language Access Advocate Yelisa Leiva (right), are OASIS, Inc. contacts for the Avery Latine Fair. Picture courtesy of Rubi Estrada.

“On behalf of the entire OASIS organization, the Avery Latine Fair is a much anticipated event and one that myself and many others are eagerly anticipating,” said Rubi Estrada, Avery OASIS Services Coordinator. “I welcome and strongly encourage all who would like to attend this most needed and worthwhile Fair to please do so.”

Estrada, who was born in Mexico, relocated to America and Avery County when she was seven years old.  She attended Avery County Schools, graduating from Avery High in 2017. She then earned a degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City in 2021.  She has worked as OASIS’s Services Coordinator in Avery County for a year-and-a-half.

Estrada declared that “the love and warmth I have experienced from Avery County residents always makes me look forward to giving back to the community that has given me so much.”  And she added that the top ways she strives to give back to Avery County is “through events such as the Latine Fair and making the county safer for everyone from any nationality who lives in, or visits the county, in her work with OASIS.”

Like Estrada, Yelisa Leiva, Language Access Advocate for OASIS, is an organizer for the Avery Latine Fair. 

Leiva is a daughter of Cuban immigrants who fled as political refugees to the United States to seek better lives for themselves and their family. Born in Miami, Florida, Leiva moved to Boone, NC to pursue a degree in sociology at Appalachian State University. She has worked for language inclusivity through several job opportunities.  In her current position, Leiva serves Spanish-speaking clients to provide cultural and linguistic support through all programs offered by OASIS, and she does outreach to the Hispanic community to spread awareness and provide education in both Avery and Watauga counties.

Leiva commented about the Latine Fair:  “I am thrilled that Avery County has been so open and welcoming to the idea of the Latine Fair. It really shows the support and intention to build bridges and create a united community. This event is for everyone, to get to know each other better, and to celebrate the diversity of within Hispanic/Latine cultures. We will provide an educational presentation by OASIS at its end that will highlight the strengths of conjoining the Spanish and English-speaking people so that we can all strive for a resilient and safe environment in Avery County.”

For further information about the Avery Latine Fair or OASIS, Incorporated, call the Avery OASIS office at (828) 785-5249; write Avery County OASIS, PO Box 1571, Newland, NC 28657 via U.S. Mail; or log online to oasisinc.org.

The Watauga County OASIS office may be reached by phone at (828) 264-1532.

Standing for Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter, OASIS, Inc. was founded in 1978, and is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Watauga and Avery Counties.  The organization works toward its mission in three ways, by: (1) Providing comprehensive emergency services, transitional support, and a safe environment for survivors as they explore options for a violence-free life; (2) Providing education and skill development to encourage families in our community to create and maintain healthy peer and intimate partner relationships that are based on respect and equality; and (3) Helping to create a community that supports survivors through advocacy and education. 

In particular, OASIS provides: 24-hour crisis phone lines; medical and legal advocacy; referrals; crisis intervention counseling; case management; free emergency shelter; transitional housing; support groups; outreach and community education.

Crisis phone line numbers are: (828) 504-0911 for Avery County; (828) 262-5035 for Watauga County; and (828) 504-0800 for Spanish.

All OASIS services are free and confidential.