The Carrboro location of El Centro Hispano has recently moved from Carrboro Plaza to 201 W. Weaver St., which allows for the organization to be closer to downtown. El Centro Hispano, according to the statement on their website, is an organization dedicated to strengthening the Latino community in Durham, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas, with branch locations in Durham and Carrboro.
President and CEO of El Centro Hispano, Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, said that the organization works to provide programs and services in four core areas: support services, education, health and community organizing. Rocha-Goldberg said that the organization offers 38 specific programs to meet community needs. Some of these programs include legal services, tax services, literacy tutoring, HIV education and neighborhood organizing.
The organization’s website displays the testimonies of individuals who have found success with the programs that El Centro Hispano offers. For example, Israel Hernandez Espiritu immigrated to the U.S. from Puebla, Mexico, and never had the opportunity to go to school. Espiritu learned how to read and write through programs offered at El Centro and now wants to return to Mexico to teach children literacy skills.
Natalia Lenis, the office coordinator for the Carrboro branch of El Centro, is excited about the recent move.
“We have been in Carrboro for the past three, three and a half years, and the reason why we decided to move was because we had been in Carrboro Plaza, but we are part of the task force that is going to implement the worker’s center,” Lenis said.
The new office has the space to accommodate offices and classrooms and room for the worker’s center, as opposed to the old office at Carrboro Plaza that did not have enough room for both. The worker’s center is a space where day laborers can assemble to find employment.
The worker’s center is currently located at the corner of Jones Ferry Rd. and Davie St., but is about to move to the new location at the El Centro Hispano office.
El Centro Hispano is working with the town of Carrboro, some members of the Board of Aldermen, Justice United, the Human Rights Center and the Carrboro police to make the transition, Lenis said.
El Centro Hispano has been working for a long time to create a dedicated space for the worker’s center. Some residents have complained about day laborers congregating on local street corners to find work, making it an issue that has affected the community.
Lenis said that the organization is well aware that it will take time for the workers to adjust to the change, but she added that El Centro is working on creating three different systems that could allow more job opportunities for these workers.
“We already have the walk-ins from the corner, but we are also trying to set up an Internet or email system and phone calls,” Lenis said. Lenis said that the organization is still working out the details and obtaining proper permits in order to make these new systems successful.
Lenis said that in addition to creating a worker’s center, El Centro Hispano is hoping to have a greater presence in Carrboro. Since the new location is closer to the main part of town, the move could increase El Centro’s visibility and attract more traffic.
The goal of the move is to increase outreach, Lenis said. El Centro welcomes walk-in appointments and is available as a resource to help with any kind of government application. The organization also offers tutoring for children from kindergarten to 12th grade. Volunteers from local high schools and universities, most of whom are bi-lingual, help children with their homework on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Lenis is confident that El Centro Hispano’s new location will help these programs will become more well known within the community.
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Edited by: Courtney Lindstrand