Invitation for our Fall Fundraiser: “Evening at the Arts”.
You can register here.
To donate your ad in our program book please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested ad donations are $25, $50 or $100 for either quarter, half or full page ads!
Deadline isWednesday, October 18th for submitting ads to Cheryl. Thanks so much.
At Leominster Spanish American fest, thoughts
with Puerto Rico, Mexico victims (VIDEO)
Aurea Carrion sings and Mickey Guzman plays drums as they entertain the crowd at the Spanish American Center on Tuesday to help celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in the wake of twin natural disasters in Mexico and Puerto Rico. See video and slide show at sentinelandenterprise.com. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE
Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
LEOMINSTER — Sandra Frederick was invited to the Spanish American Center’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Tuesday, the day she met with the organization’s director for help navigating services available to her mother.
Frederick’s mother flew out of Puerto Rico hours before Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. She flew alone, because the rush of evacuations meant the rest of her family couldn’t find plane tickets out.
Her mother has dementia, explained Frederick, adding another stress to the list of her worries when she learned her mother went missing while at a layover in Philadelphia. Airport security located her mother six hours later, placing her on flight to Massachusetts, her final destination after leaving the storm-battered island.
Yael Aleman, 8, enjoys the feast with his mother, Aileen Lozada. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE
Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Frederick placed a hand on her mother’s shoulder. Most of her family, including a sister she managed to contact Tuesday morning, remains in Puerto Rico.
“This morning they were finding out that the ports where the ships come in with all the supplies are not able to come in because of all the boats that sank in the marina,” she said.
She spoke as live music flooded the center’s soup kitchen, where dozens of people, hailing from countries like Uruguay, Peru, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, who gathered for the annual celebration of music, poetry and food honoring Latino culture.
The event was a forum for community many of amid the destruction of Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean, two deadly earthquakes in Mexico, and political conflict elsewhere, said Mickey Guzman, the center’s family advocate.
“We wanted to have fun in memory of Hispanic Heritage month, to enjoy when all these tragedies are occurring, in Puerto Rico, in Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and in Florida, we felt that this was a way to at least have fun for a little while,” he said.
Maria Alicea had trouble celebrating with her “mind and her heart” in Puerto Rico. Her mind, she said, is filled with memories of her childhood on the island.
“It’s kind of pain, and a celebration at the same time,” she said “My family there, I wish they could be here with me, or I wish I could be there with them. Everything came at once, with Hurricane Maria.”
Alicea, a domestic violence counselor at the Spanish American Center, said she’s been able to talk to family through online messages. Phones are charged only when driving, which must be limited because of the island-wide gas shortage.
Residents are waiting overnight in lines at gas stations, said Director Neddy Latimer, who has not made contact with her family in Guanica, Puerto Rico since early September.
She said phone rings all day as Twin Cities residents call for help connecting with their families in Puerto Rico. There’s nothing she can do, Latimer explains.
Other tell her they want to go to Puerto Rico to help, she said, a trip Latimer urges them not to take.
“When there’s no lights, no food no fuel, what are they doing but wasting their time, and adding to the problem, taking food and supplies away from people who are already there and need it,” she said.
Spanish American Center coordinator Christina Gonzales helped kitchen manager Iris Rodriguez serve meals of beans and rice, zucchini lasagna, and pork shoulder, she said Hispanic Heritage Month is about sharing Latino culture, and making everyone feel welcome.
“With the little bit we have we stretch out for everybody,” she said. “That’s what we want people to recognize, with a little, you can do a lot for another person.”
Frederick joined the crowd singing to congratulate Geraldo Arizia on his 65th birthday. Only a few of her own family members live in Massachusetts, she said.
The Spanish American Center, she said, “is the biggest, warmest family I’ve known.”
Important information about proposed changes to the DACA program from the ILRC (IMMIGRANT LEAL RESOURCE CENTER). Please click on the logo to be taken to their site:
“There are some reports that President Trump may end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program soon. At this time, we do not know when or if the DACA program will be terminated or what the end of the program may look like. For example, will those with DACA continue to be protected from deportation and able to use their work permits until they expire? Or will DACA approvals and work permits be revoked? While the DACA program remains in effect at this time, below are some things to keep in mind should the program end.” – August 28, 2017 Immigrant Legal Resource Website
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NEWS! Fitchburg Art Museum – Family Membership Grants – here!
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Welcome to the Leominster Spanish-American Center’s web page!
The Center is a non-profit social service agency in Leominster, Massachusetts, a city of diverse ethnic and linguistic traditions. The Leominster Spanish-American Center is a registered, tax exempt 501 (c) (3) agency. We receive funding through your private donations, foundation grants, some government programs such as CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) and some funding through your donations via The United Way Of North Central Massachusetts.
Our vision is that every person would live in a safe, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous community in order to enjoy the full benefits of our society.
Our mission is to respond to the social, health, educational and cultural needs of the Leominster community and surrounding areas with special focus on the Hispanic /Latino community, limited by language, poverty and access. We foster economic self-sufficiency, equal opportunity, and active participation in community related activities for better quality of life.
The Spanish-American Center is committed to providing assistance to Spanish-speaking residents to overcome language barriers, promoting the development of our young people, fostering community involvement and leadership; increasing relationships with partners, and connecting clients to available community services, which represent and advocate for the community.
In keeping with Latino traditions and being mindful of the historical principles of American democracy, the Spanish American Center adheres to the values of inclusion, and acceptance and embracing one another in collaboration and celebration of hope for a more prosperous future.
Our programs: include (ESL) English as a Second Language classes, our Leominster community food pantry, summer meal programs for children in Leominster, Fitchburg and Gardner, elder programs, legal clinics, domestic violence intervention, after school programs for middle and high school students, advocacy, and occasional mobile consulates for our Uruguayan-American community. In addition, the Center has begun providing hot meals two nights per week, a free breakfast cafe in both Leominster and Fitchburg which are prepared at the Center at the memorial David Higgins Cocina, our fully functional industrial-grade kitchen and activity center.
The Leominster Spanish-American Center has been providing services and care to the people of the greater-Leominster Community for Over Fifty Years! Click here to learn more.
Front of Spanish Center in Spring, Apple and Cherry trees in bloom.