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El Centro del Inmigrante

Award Recipients - 2002

Reverend Terry Troia, Father William Harder, Maribel Sansone, Carmen Serrano-Siconolfi & Emma Vidales, Co-Founders

www.projecthospitality.org

EL Centro de Hospitalidad (El Centro) was opened in 1998 to address the needs of the newly arrived undocumented immigrant day laborers and their families.  Since 1990 more than 4,000 Mexicans have immigrated to Staten Island.  El Centro has created “a space where recently arrived immigrants can form friendships, receive information and training and make their own contribution to the Staten Island community.”  Through immigrant and labor advocacy, educational workshops, labor leadership training, and emergency intervention for hunger, homelessness and health/safety needs, El Centro provides opportunities for economic empowerment, community-building and organizing.  Services include English as a Second Language classes, labor organizing, health education and screenings, family and immigrant rights services, immigration counseling, legal assistance, social activities, and food and clothing distribution.  
El Centro sponsors two day laborer organizations.  Through the Asociacion de los Trabajadores del Centro, day laborers have organized themselves according to labor skills and set up a service referring workers to contractors at negotiated pay scales.  Las Senoras de Santa Maria is a similar cooperative for women in cleaning and housekeeping service.  Responding to tensions between local shopkeepers, business people and police, El Centro is working with community leaders to identify and establish a day laborer site for work pickup.  
With the assistance of volunteers and through collaboration, El Centro has expanded services to include a referral program for housing, employment, and health services, including tuberculosis and asthma screenings.


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