Hispanic Center helps Latinos, others succeed in Brevard


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Instructor Erika Morris, left, works with English Language Integration program students Sara Galindo and David Salas at the Brevard Hispanic Center located at 4670 Babcock Street #5 in Palm Bay.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Javier Moninares

There’s a lot going on at the Brevard Hispanic Center, which is located off Babcock Street in Palm Bay.

The brainchild of its president and founder Javier Molinares, the nonprofit Center helps what it calls on its website “the Latino and broader community of the Space Coast” in a number of important ways.

“We help individuals from families in the areas of education, health, family issues, and economic empowerment and employment,” Molinares said.

To that end, the Center features an English Language Integration program, which aids people trying to continue careers that started in other countries.

“We raise their level of English so they can work in the United States for what they went to school for,“ Molinares said. “…. You don’t want to see doctors cleaning dishes.”

Another feature of the center is the De La Cruz Volunteer Clinic, where prospective patients without medical insurance can get medical assistance. In some cases, depending on their economic status, they can get that assistance for free, Molinares said.

The Clinic is becoming more helpful since it also is seeing an increase in traffic with the Affordable Care Act mandate dropped, Molinares noted.

The Center also helps new residents to the area become citizens and helps them with the required testing that must be passed in order to earn citizenship.

Yaqueline Garcia, who came to Brevard from Venezuela, said the Center has helped her in a number of ways. It helped her to learn English through classes, gave advice regarding obtaining her driver’s license, prepared her to take and pass her citizenship exam and it guided her to take an online CNA course for nursing so that she could continue working as a nurse as she had in Venezuela.

“I am very grateful to all the people who work in this place and I thank God because there are many wonderful people like them with a huge heart,” Garcia said. “Thanks to the Hispanic Center for all the help provided.”

Molinares said he has patterned the programs offered at the Center to help others based on the experience he had after coming to the United States in 1991 from Barranquilla, Colombia.

“I enjoy when I guide people to what I did,” said Molinares, who served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and is the publisher of Al Dia Today, a bilingual newspaper that serves Brevard County residents.

There are two events coming up that will serve both as fundraisers and celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept.15 to Oct. 15.

The first of those events is the Viva Brevard Gala, which has occurred annually since 2014. It will be held Oct. 6 at the Red Ginger restaurant in Melbourne. There, six people of Hispanic origin “that have done great things for the community” will be honored, Molinares said. U.S. Congressman Bill Posey will present the awards.

A week later, the annual Viva Brevard Festival, which began in 2012, will be held at Fred Poppe Regional Park off Malabar Road in Palm Bay. The event will feature Hispanic food, live entertainment and a business expo “where businesses can exhibit what they do and their products and services,” Molinares said.

“We’re going to have a great multi-cultural event,” Molinares added.

For more information, go to brevardhispaniccenter.com.