BOSTON — On a busy street in East Boston, there’s a door you may not notice. That door opens opportunities to many arriving in this country.
“We are receiving between 10-30 families a week,” said Patricia Montes, Executive Director of El Centro Presente, “They’re crossing the border. They don’t know their rights. They need an attorney, we’re working with the city,” Montes added.
The group helps connect newly arrived migrants to legal services, housing support, and other resources they may need when first arriving here. It serves as a network of sorts.
“They need not just legal advice, they also need to find you know a medical doctor, they also need to send their kids to school, so we support all that,” said Daniela Carvajal who also works at the center.
Once families arrive, they help get them acclimated.
Carvajal works with women and youth as they integrate into New England and their new lives.
She heads the youth program here, gathering with teens after school. She knows firsthand about the experience of navigating a new place. Carvajal arrived here from Colombia at just two years old.
“We might be covering topics, such as colorism or racism within the Latinx community,” Carvajal explained, “and we work with young girls between 14 and 18.”
This isn’t just a job, but a mission for El Centro Presente.
“Making changes that aren’t only going to affect me, make my life better but also the lives of so many immigrants that are arriving and have arrived,” said Carvajal.
El Centro is a non-profit organization, completely run on donations. In some cases, some of the people they help are able to pay for their services.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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