The National Latino Research Center (NLRC) is an applied research center at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) that engaged in community, culturally relevant, and participatory research methods. The researchers at NLRC successfully conducted research in the areas of education, civic engagement, youth justice, health, and disaster preparedness with a track record for outreach and credibility in the community.
Through a 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research grant, Drs. Marisol Clark-Ibanez and Arcela Nunez-Alvarez are conducting one of the largest mixed-method studies on volunteering and civic engagement among Latino elders. The study examines the impact of participation in a 10-week civic engagement class called Cultivando Sabiduría (Cultivating Wisdom) specifically created for low-income, Spanish-speaking Latino elders with little or no formal education. Pre- and post-tests to study 150 Latino participants will demonstrate how an individual’s civic engagement changes over the course of a lifetime. The study seeks to understand the impacts associated with civic engagement, volunteering, and national service.
The study’s goal is to develop methodological and theoretical innovations to help understand the economic, social, and health benefits of volunteering and civic engagement for Latino elders. The NLRC seeks to highlight the strength and resilience embodied by the participants. The results will be important to regional and national stakeholders who are committed to facilitating greater opportunities for lifelong volunteering and civic engagement, while also having the potential to inform more targeted program development.