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Friday, March 24, 2023

El Centro Adult Education Program Opens New, Expanded Center in Jamaica Plain

Catholic Charities Boston celebrated the grand opening of its new El Centro Adult Education Center in Jamaica Plain on March 23. Joining the dozens of students and staff that attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who shared remarks about the incredible impact that El Centro has had on the immigrant community for over 60 years.

“El Centro meets people where they are and provides crucial services and support to our residents who are learning English,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of this new, expanded center in Jamaica Plain and grateful to Catholic Charities Boston for their critical work to build community every day.”

Mayor Wu spoke about the importance of providing low-income immigrants with opportunities to cultivate career skills and move up the socioeconomic ladder, which for many begins with learning English.

“My mom and dad came to this country not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, with nothing in their pockets, and they found their way,” said Mayor Wu. “It came with a lot of heartache, and to know that there’s a center here for our newest families to have a place to start, to have a landing pad, a home, and a family, that means so much. I look forward to all that you in this room will accomplish and contribute to the city of Boston.”

Offering spacious bright classrooms, conference rooms for community activities and collaboration, and state-of-the art technology, the new center will continue to ensure that learning English will not be a barrier to students achieving their dreams.

Catholic Charities Boston President and CEO, Kevin M. MacKenzie, credited El Centro’s directors, Marianna Geraskina and Lydia Spataru, for the success the program has had in helping to change the course of thousands of students’ lives.

“You have helped our students to believe in themselves and to recognize their unique potential, setting them on the path for brighter futures,” said Kevin. “And to the students who are here with us today, you should be very proud of the hard work you put into this program. I hope you enjoy all that this new space has to offer and that it already feels like home.”

The three El Centro alumni who spoke at the event included Ilsi Hernandez, who now works as El Centro’s Student Support Counselor, Fiona Ruth Jeanty Bazil, a teacher at Horizons for Homeless Children, and Ciro Valiente, Marketing Manager at Latinos for Education

“No matter how smart you are, you need the right program, people, and resources to help you realize and achieve your dreams, so my success is not only based on what I’m capable of, but it is also the result of my teacher’s hard work and talent,” said Fiona. “I am so glad that the community has continued to sustain El Centro so that all new immigrants can benefit from this fantastic program.”

To read more about El Centro, click here.

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