The Community Assistance Center (CAC), LaAmistad and Los Niños Primeros made their return on April 27 south of Sandy Springs to the same location near Northwood Drive but in a brand new building.
The three nonprofits have worked with the developer of the building at 120 Northwood Drive to secure space for them on the site, which includes rental storage space, retail space and Northwood Park for local residents. . On Wednesday, they held a joint ribbon cutting and open house to thank supporters, boards and volunteers.
Community help center
“It’s a celebration, a celebration of a return to this community for these three organizations,” said CAOT Executive Director Francis Horton. “And listen, it’s great for us and for the organization. But it’s also great for the community, because it opens up opportunities.
He thanked Mayor Rusty Paul and the Sandy Springs City Council for helping to achieve this goal.
“The mayor was instrumental in making that happen – negotiations, that perseverance – in all the things that the mayor put in place to allow these three organizations to have this space that you are looking at today in a whole new building across the brand new park,” Horton said.
He said CAC could not have opened its doors without its partnership with the Georgia General Contractors Association, which contributed financially, provided expertise and more.
The CAC’s South Sandy Springs branch improves access for residents who live nearby and will offer customer support services, a food pantry and adult education classes. Opening hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Los Ninos Primero
“I welcome each of you on this special day as we celebrate the power of partnerships and embrace diversity in more different shapes and forms,” said Maritza Morelli, Executive Director of Los Niños Primero.
She said it was about opening a community center wanting to extend its face to where the Latino community felt connected to their culture and roots.
“My heart today is full of joy, knowing that this center will soon be filled with children who will learn, dance, play instruments and ultimately improve their lives,” Morelli said.
Los Niños Primero is the only Latina-led nonprofit organization in Atlanta that provides educational enrichment, leadership, civic engagement, sports, arts, and culture programs to children, youth, and adults. families.
“We have been working in the community for 20 years. And it’s such a pleasure to be back as Francis said, where we were in that run down old building and now watching each other,” said LaAmistad Executive Director Catrina DaCosta Mcafee.
The three organizations collaborated on how to use the space together to ensure they serve all of their friends across the street and in the surrounding community.
“It’s wonderful because we have a bit of everything. We have food, we have financial knowledge, we have adult education and we have Los Niños Primero, which of course can work with all the little ones,” Mcafee said. “So we really have a wonderful opportunity here to continue to enable this community to get the services that they need, the education that they need so that this community can thrive and not survive.”
The LaAmistad Community Center will be the first venue dedicated to adult education, including ESL classes, parenting workshops, and more.
Remarks from Mayor Rusty Paul
Mayor Rusty Paul said the community had just emerged from two years of COVID only to deal with inflation, which sent housing and gas costs skyrocketing. Some struggling families were beginning to gain a foothold when they were hit by the pandemic.
“So to have this facility here at this time is almost godsend because so many families who have gone through stress and through challenges are now continuing to face a different set of challenges. And you are going to be there to help them meet and survive these challenges,” he said.
Units like apartments across the street that would have been valued at $95,000 six or seven years ago now cost between $275,000 and $300,000, so rents are going up substantially, Paul said. Everyone went to the grocery store and saw what was happening with food prices, he said.
“Having people who are working now but can’t afford to get to work, so they need more help. They need more support,” Paul said. “And I’m so grateful for the community effort that went into making this happen.”