Hispanic Heritage Series
Part III of V
Denver’s foreign-born population is largely dominated by people from Latin America. The majority of Denver’s foreign-born population are non-refugee immigrants, or people who were born outside of the country and come to stay permanently or temporarily without going through a refugee process, according to Denver’s Immigrant Community & Neighborhood Assessment.
That is why the Centro San Juan Diego ministry in Denver is so important. Established in 2003 by former Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, the ministry serves as an important resource for immigrants in Denver. It offers free services like legal nights, tax preparation, and the Gabriel House which provides services and supplies to mothers and families with children.
Centro San Juan Diego, located at 2830 Lawrence St., also offers different classes to the community like English lessons, financial education, computer education, small business classes, GED classes and a UPAEP online bachelor’s program.
Sr. Alicia Cuaron served as an Executive Director of Centro San Juan Diego for over ten years and she has seen first hand what kind of impact the ministry has on the community. Her parents were from Mexico, and she wanted to give back and help others who were in her parents’ shoes.
We help (Centro San Juan Diego students) figure out how to enter into mainstream America and the kinds of things they need to know when they move into this country. I think we need to remember that we cannot forget our own culture and traditions. We bring great values as Hispanics into this country,” Cuaron said.
Recently, Cuaron had a foundation named after her at Centro San Juan Diego called the “Sister Alicia V. Cuaron Education Fund.” The fund was created to honor Cuaron and to support family services and programs at Centro San Juan Diego.
Curaon emphasized how important volunteer work, leadership and giving back to the community is in order to help each other succeed.
“Never forget your own culture, your heritage and what your parents have done for you, and how they struggled to get into this country,” Curaon said.
The organization was created to meet the needs of the Hispanic immigrant community in Colorado. Around 5,000 Hispanics reach out to the organization for faith and educational services each year.
The organization will be celebrating its 15th birthday on Oct. 11, or its quinceanera. In the future, the organization has its sights on establishing offices on the Eastern Plains and Western slope to help immigrant communities in those areas.
If you wish to volunteer at Centro San Juan Diego visit www.centrosanjuandiego.org/en/volunteer-at-centro-san-juan-diego/ for more information. Curaon encourages the community to impact lives by volunteering for the organization.