El Centro builds a
By Antonio Barrios, La Prensa
recently showed off its new mobile mural during the 48th
Annual Lorain International Parade on June 29, 2014, in
front of the grand stand at Lorain City Hall.
The parade started about
11:30 a.m. from 17th street and continued north along Broadway.
Leading the parade was the spotlighted nationality “The Polish
Community,” followed closely behind by the spotlighted industry:
“El Centro.” Every year the International Committee selects an
ethnic community and business to spotlight during the week-long
festivities in Lorain.
El Centro’s new entry to
the International parade was the culmination of a unique pilot
program created by NCLR (National Council of La Raza),
the largest and nationally acclaimed Latino organization in
The program normally used
in l ocal public school systems was a new endeavor for El
Centro, one of the few organizations chosen nationwide to try
out the program outside of the school systems.
In an exclusive interview
with La Prensa, Executive Director Victor Leandry
stated: “El Centro’s Youth group, C.A.S.A, which stands for
Cultura, Aprendizaje, Servicio, y Acción (Culture Learning
Services in Action) unveiled the mural at 10:00am Wednesday
June 25 as part of an open house at El Centro’s building at
2800 Pearl Avenue.”
The main goal of CASA is
to empower young Latinos ages 12 -14 through service learning
projects and to gain knowledge on cultural aspects of their
backgrounds and the world around them. Guests were also able to
network and socialize in our second floor hall and enjoy light
Director Leandry went on
to say: “The program started about one year ago with a proposal
to NCLR to bring the program to Lorain’s El Centro in order to
experiment with non-profits running the program.”
When asked exactly what
the program entailed Director Leandry explained: “The program
was about encouraging Hispanic youth to learn about themselves
through Leadership, Education, and the History of their roots
while also learning to have an active role in the community.
Some activities included:
identifying common issues among Latinos and then working to find
solutions. The youth also worked on the Christmas giving tree,
where 100 children received toys.