Programs for low-income Latinos aim to break the cycle of poverty
By Armando Machado
Luz Maria Pardo is studying English, preparing to get her GED, and getting help paying her utility bills. And she’s doing it all at Centro Rendu, a new education and resource center for low-income Latinos operated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County.
Members of Grupo Juvenil de Kent perform a Mexican folk dance during the grand opening of Centro Rendu in Kent. The Hispanic resource center is operated by St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County. Photo: Courtesy St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County
“They help with all their hearts — they help in any way they can,” said Pardo, who is unemployed and expecting her third child. After the baby arrives and Pardo earns her GED, she hopes to land a good-paying job.
Mirya Munoz-Roach is director of Hispanic Outreach Services for St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County. Photo: Courtesy St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County
That’s the aim of Centro Rendu — helping Hispanic adults and their children break the cycle of poverty through education, computer literacy, counseling and help navigating the labyrinth of services offered by other agencies.
“This is part of the Hispanic initiative for outreach in the Latino community,” a response to the archdiocese’s pastoral plan “From Guests to Hosts,” said Mirya Munoz-Roach, director of St. Vincent de Paul’s Hispanic Outreach Services.
The center is located inside the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store at 310 Central Ave. N. in downtown Kent. Client assessments began in July and classes started in August. A grand opening on Oct. 14 included music, food, dignitaries and a blessing ceremony featuring Father Kevin Moran, a senior priest, and Deacon Ted Rodriguez of St. Anthony Parish in Renton.
At the center, the needs of each client are determined through an intake process, Munoz-Roach said. In addition to classes in English as a second language, Spanish literacy classes are offered. “We do basic Spanish literacy, because there are a lot of Latinos who don’t know how to read or write in their own language,” she said. Later, these students can complete their GEDs in Spanish.
Other services include life-skills and parenting classes, job and housing referrals, and immigration counseling.
Centro Rendu is named after Blessed Rosalie Rendu (1786-1856), a French Catholic nun who was an advisor and mentor to Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
For more information about Centro Rendu, call 253-499-4245.
October 17, 2013