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Kent celebrates Centro Rendu opening; services to help Hispanic community
St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) of Seattle|King County has launched Centro Rendu, a new service designed to help Hispanic adults and their children break the cycle of poverty through education, computer literacy, counseling and navigation of the labyrinth of services from other social service agencies.
The core component says SVdP is an "educational resource center for the Latino community" in South King County. The service, which is just getting under way, celebrated its official grand opening Monday at the center, the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, 310 Central Ave., Kent.
The grand opening included presentations from city leaders and supporters; a formal blessing of Centro Rendu facility by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo; tours of the facility; food; festive music and dancers.
"Our Centro Rendu program is an integral part of our strategy for a new service model for delivering services in King County," said Ned Delmore, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul. "Our plan is to build upon the trusting relationships we establish in our home visits, and extend that help into more integrated case management services offered in our five neighborhood-based store front locations. We call them Community Social Service Centers."
"We have started with education because we know it is the key way to help the Hispanic community overcome barriers associated with poverty," said Mirya Muñoz Roach, director of Hispanic Outreach, Seattle/King County Council of St. Vincent de Paul.
"Since we opened our doors in mid-July ... we have served close to 250 people with Spanish literacy, primary and secondary education, GED preparation, conversational English, computer literacy, case management, immigration counseling (twice a month) and a detail assessment process for relevant referrals to other service agencies."
Centro Rendu also has referred needy individuals to other social service agencies that help Hispanic neighbors find housing, job connections, support for domestic violence victims and more.
"The needs are widespread for education support, especially for adults and school parents," Muñoz Roach said. "The community leaders I have engaged with and agencies we are communicating with believe education is the key for people to get out of poverty, and the research supports it.
"Our Latino community has a place where they can feel welcome, where they can grow in their own sense of empowerment through education, and we can connect them to services as well."
Centro Rendu is engaged in outreach and partnership building in South King County. The organization participates in the South King County Human Services Committee and recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kent School District. Centro Rendu is also in conversations with Green River Community College, Highline Community College and Seattle University regarding internship student programs.
Centro Rendu has created a Hispanic Advisory Team (HAT) to help the program explore ways to respond to the needs, barriers and hopes of Hispanic individuals and families. This includes representatives from a wide range of community service organizations. The group meets once a month to share resources and to support partnerships for more effective means of serving Latinos in KingCounty.
To find out more, go to www.svdpseattle.org or call Centro Rendu at 253-499-4245.