Letter to the Editor

Thank You Centro Latino

I am saddened by the closing of Centro Latino. The women and men who worked at Centro Latino deserve special appreciation from all of Chelsea. Since 1989, Centro served as a hub of immigrant services, with an open door to new Americans looking to enter the workforce and find their place in our communities.

For Chelsea, Centro meant a place where immigrants were understood and supported. For someone with limited English skills, or a new parent, or someone looking for work, Centro’s staff were nurturers. They recognized the difficulties that a life in-transition can bring and knew how to addresses those challenges and support our newest residents.

In 2013, Centro joined The Neighborhood Developers and four other organizations to found CONNECT, creating a one-stop shop for essential financial and employment services in Chelsea. I saw the dedication of Centro Latino’s staff every day in our office. They were always engaged, striving to make their English classes, high school equivalency programs, and computer classes a success for every participant. CONNECT hummed with energy when the Centro classes were in session!

We are grateful to Bunker Hill Community College for immediately responding to insure the ESOL classes at CONNECT continue without a hitch.  That’s responsive leadership.

Centro’s closing leaves a gap in Chelsea’s immigrant support network that we must all be mindful of and work together to fill. Fortunately, the Chelsea community has a demonstrated history of collaborating to meet the needs of our neighbors. Centro’s leadership demonstrated that quality. Together, we can show our thanks to Centro Latino by making sure that the immigrants in our community are loved and supported.

By Ann Houston

Executive Director at The Neighborhood Developers

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