El Amanecer
The Official Newsletter of The Spanish American Center, Inc.
February, 2020
Thanks for attending our earthquake relief fundraiser! Together we raised $1,422
The New Year 2020 began with our emergency response, once again, for our neighbors here in Massachusetts who were affected by the disastrous events in Puerto Rico. Our fellow citizens, family, friends and colleagues continue to bear the losses from both hurricane Maria in 2017 and again with the recent earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks. We wish to thank everyone who, once again, responded to this need. We will be planning additional fund raisers about which we will keep everyone informed. ¬°Muchas Gracias!
Updates on the Puerto Rican Earthquakes
Dear friends,
It has been almost three months since the first earthquake hit the island of Puerto Rico in December of 2019. Ever since, I have been living a nightmare because the epicenter of the earthquake is my home town named Guanica, which is located on the southwest part of the island. I was born and raised in this beautiful small city near the coast of the Caribbean Sea, which now lays devastated and deserted like a ghost town.  There are no major utilities now. Most of the people that are still hanging on there have had to abandon their homes and are sleeping under big communal Army tents, in temporary cabins, in trailer homes or wherever they can in an effort to feel safe. 
There are continued occurrences of daily aftershocks - some stronger than 3.5 on the Richter scale . People in that part of the Island live in constant fear that they will go to sleep and never wake up from another big aftershock burying them.   The cities and towns surrounding this area are also experiencing similar problems and no one knows when this will end. It has put a toll on their lives and mine, because on a daily basis I have calls from family and friends affected by this natural disaster, seeking support.
The Center has already received and assisted some families that are escaping from this constant threat who have moved to Leominster. In January, the Center initiated a food fund-raiser to help these victims. I’d like to thank sincerely all the volunteers, participants, friends, family members, vendors from surrounding agencies, and everyone that cooperated in one way or another with this event.
In other Center news:
The Center, as usual, had a productive month with many meetings and conferences in which our staff participated. We launched our Census 2020 initiative ‚ÄúTodos Contamos‚ÄĚ to make sure that our undercounted population participates. We hired a new Assistant Coordinator to work with Sonia Rodriguez in this important program.. Her name is Aurea Casiano. She brings her background and experience in industry, education and human resources as well as the added benefits of being both bi-lingual and bicultural to this program.

We have been working in conjunction with United Way of North Central Massachusetts , Growing Places , and Irene Hernandez from Active Life Adult Day Care to continue with our Healthy Eating and Nutrition Education Program.   

We have also been given a start date for some wonderful expansion construction which our generous benefactor will start in late Spring. Look for updates on this project in future issues, on our WEB Site and Facebook page. Thank you for reading. Thank you, as always, for your support.

Neddy Latimer, Director, Spanish American Center
February, 2020
Update from Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella
Third Street Playground!

The transformation of Mechanic and Laurel Streets will continue next month with the completion of Phase III of the project. Several years ago, the City received a state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant for replacement of the Third Street playground. The playground provides so much more opportunity for kids of all ages to play and cool off on those hot days. 

But the East Side hasn‚Äôt had a lot of open space for kids and families to enjoy. That has all changed since the open space park project began last summer. With its open field and places to sit, it‚Äôs a welcoming place for kids and families to enjoy playing or just enjoying a snack. With spring just around the corner, we are now ready to start our next phase which will bring the park all the way to Wells Court. The park will include a huge walking track and additional open space for families to enjoy. It will be a total investment of $1.6 million!  

The park will be complete by the end of May of this year . Although we plan to have some organized activities in the park through the recreation department, this is space for the East Side and the entire City to use. So grab that football, soccer ball, start a walking group, bring a lunch, or just enjoy the beauty of the park in any way you can dream up.  - Mayor Dean Mazzarella

Fase III del Proyecto planeado. Hace varios a√Īos, la Ciudad recibi√≥ unos fondos de (PARC) ‚Äústate Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities‚ÄĚ (fondos comunitarios para adquirir y renovar terrenos de parques) para reemplazar el parque en la Calle Third Street.  El parque provee muchas m√°s oportunidades para j√≥venes de cualquier edad poder jugar y refrescarse durante los d√≠as calientes. Pero el vecindario East Side no ha tenido mucho espacio para que los j√≥venes y sus familias puedan disfrutarse. Todo √©so cambi√≥ cuando empez√≥ el plan para este parque el verano pasado.El espacio abierto libre con asientos, hace que este lugar ofrezca un ambiente de bienvenida para que j√≥venes y familias puedan jugar o solamente puedan sentarse y disfrutar una merienda.

Ya pronto viene la primavera y estamos listos para comenzar la pr√≥xima fase de este plan el cual extender√° el parque hasta Wells Court. El parque tendr√° una vereda para caminar y un espacio adicional para que disfruten las familias. ¬°Ser√° una inversi√≥n de $1.6 millones de d√≥lares!
El parque ser√° completado en esta primavera al final de mayo . Aunque planeamos tener algunas actividades en el parque ofrecidas por el Departamento de Recreaci√≥n, este espacio es para el uso del vecindario East Side y los residentes de la ciudad en general. Ya sea tener un partido de balompi√© o comenzar un grupo de caminatas, traer almuerzos para un pasad√≠a, o simplemente para disfrutar de la belleza del parque o alguna otra posibilidad apropiada para el espacio. - Mayor Dean Mazzarella
Alternative Education:  What is Gateway to College?
On Monday, February 24th, 2020 from 12 - 2 pm. During this intimate and interactive Tea Time conversation you will meet, listen, and learn from current students, distinguished alumna, parent voices, and MWCC faculty share their experiences on the Gateway to College program at Mount Wachusett Community College .

Gateway to College is a unique dual enrollment opportunity for students who either have not experienced success in the traditional high school setting or are looking for a new opportunity to excel while still in high school or home school. Gateway to College is a 360 Intrusive Advising and Retention program for high school students looking for a second chance at earning their high school diploma while earning college credits at the same time. The Gateway to College program is part of a larger network of alternative educational opportunities in the region.
Moderated by : Stephanie Davolos M.Ed.  Director of Gateway to College, New England Achieving the Dream, Inc. and  Gateway to College,   Resource Specialists.

The Gateway to College program at Mount Wachusett Community College is the number two Gateway to College program nationwide exceeding all four bench marks and was nationally recognized for the Program Excellence Award .

Invite your staff, colleagues, friends, classes, and families because this event is  FREE  and open to the public. 
For more information on the Tea Time Speaker Series please click on the link: https://mwcc.edu/tag/tea-time/

Location:  Multipurpose Room. Gardner main campus. Time: 12:00-2:00pm
Spanish Center Hires Census Outreach Workers
2020 Count Is Critical For Social Program Funding
in OUR Community
The Spanish American Center, Inc. has launched our Census 2020 initiative ‚ÄúTodos Contamos‚ÄĚ to make sure that our potentially undercounted population participates fully in the 2020 Census. We have hired a new Assistant Coordinator to work with Sonia Rodriguez. Aurea Casiano is bilingual and has experience from her background in education; and from working in the Human Resources field for 30 years. Please join us in welcoming Aurea to SAC and, if you have questions for either Sonia or Aurea, please contact them at 978-534-3145. 
Aurea Casiano
Sonia Rodriguez
RECENT GENEROUS DONATIONS we have received include: Liam Aubuchon, Mary Scott/IC Credit Union, Mayor Stephen DiNatale, Jean-Pierre Boissy, Resource Management, Inc.(RMI) and DoloresThibeault-Munoz (she donated via her Facebook Birthday Fundraiser!)
We continue to add our supporters and their organizations to the acknowledgement scroll on our WEB site landing page. You can see it by clicking this link:
Reminder - Vote!
Link HERE to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Voter Information for March 3 PRIMARY and Voter Registration!