Casa de Amigos maintains a 4,000 sq. ft. Senior Center where people can come together for a balanced program of social, educational, health and recreational activities. Seniors are encouraged to participate in three to five activities a day including: the exercise room, arts and crafts, games, informational presentations and a hot lunch. It is a relaxed atmosphere where clients can comfortably approach staff with other social service needs. Many of the seniors take advantage of health screenings through the Health and Wellness Program.
Senior Center Citywide Community Services Program
This is a service for those low-income elderly and disabled persons who are unable to maintain safe and sanitary living conditions. Cleaning includes sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning kitchen and bathroom as well as removal of trash. The goal of this service is to help people continue to live independently and prevent nursing home placement.
This department provides comprehensive assessments to identify the needs of clients. Once needs are identified, they are addressed through services offered at Casa de Amigos. Cases that go beyond the scope of services offered by Casa de Amigos, are referred to partner agencies. The goal of Social Services is to address immediate needs.
Services provided include:
- Emergency Food Pantry and Nutrition Center
- Kathryn’s Closet – free quality clothes for adults and children
- Holiday assistance – Thanksgiving and Christmas
- School supplies and backpacks
- Winter jackets for children
- Volunteer placement within the agency
- Information and referrals
Casa de Amigos has always emphasized youth education. Children attend the after school program for homework assistance, tutoring and structured extra-curricular activities. Children are referred by their school counselors or teachers. The program strengthens the partnership for educational excellence between Casa de Amigos and the MISD. The Summer Literacy Camp runs in two week sessions and helps students maintain and improve reading levels.
Casa de Amigos’ Adult Education Program began in the 1970’s with basic reading classes. It grew with community needs to include High School Equivalency, English, Citizenship and Financial Literacy. Highly individualized, each student develops an instruction plan to meet his or her particular goals.
From February to April, Casa de Amigos’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, known as the VITA program, is in full swing. Four hundred clients are seen by our volunteer tax preparers. The program began at Casa de Amigos in the 1960’s when an IRS employee saw the need to offer free tax services to low income families. The IRS trains and certifies the volunteers, many of whom have a financial background in banking or accounting. VITA is now established nationwide at community centers, banks and military bases. Last year, the Casa de Amigos’ VITA program helped low to moderate income tax payers receive, on average, a $1,500 refund per tax return. That was more than half a million dollars refunded and put back into the economy.
Chevron’s Take 2 Job Skills Training Program began in 2011. Entirely funded by Chevron, the Take 2 program has served more than 300clients. The program helps participants break out of the cycle of poverty by gaining employment in high paying industries such as energy and nursing.
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness provides regular screenings to identify and monitor high blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and kidney function. Diabetes education and a Spanish diabetes support group are also available. Clients can be referred to Howard College for teeth cleanings and to a local dentist for one-time emergency help. A volunteer doctor visits once a month to see patients who are uninsured. The Health and Wellness program serves all ages.