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 use of 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.
Citywide Community Services Program
Citywide is a service for those low-income elderly and disabled persons who are unable to maintain safe and sanitary living conditions. Tasks include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the 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
Holiday assistance – Thanksgiving and Christmas
School supplies, backpacks, and student clothing
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 typically referred to the program by their school counselors or teachers. The program strengthens the partnership for educational excellence between Casa de Amigos and 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 1970s with basic reading classes. It grew with community needs to include High School Equivalency, English, Citizenship and Financial Literacy classes. 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. Up to 400 clients are seen by our volunteer tax preparers. The program began at Casa de Amigos in the 1960s when an IRS employee saw the need to offer free tax services to low-income families. The IRS trains and certifies our volunteers, many of whom have a financial background in banking or accounting. VITA is now established nationwide at community centers, bank, and military bases. Last year, the Casa de Amigos VITA program helped low-to-moderate-income taxpayers receive, on average, a $1,500 refund per tax return resulting in more than half a million dollars refunded and put back into the economy.
Take2 Job Skills
Chevron’s Take2 Job Skills Training Program began in 2011. Primarily funded by Chevron, the Take2 program has served more than 300 clients. 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. The Health and Wellness program serves all ages. Weekly medical clinics are available.