Centro Latino Reaches New Audience

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COLUMBIA - Leaders at Centro Latino said Wednesday they are working on a new location to reach new clients. The original outreach for the organization was to the Latino community in Columbia. Now, with the new location under construction on Garth Avenue, program director Eduardo Crespi said the potential to serve has expanded.

In addition to the local Latino community, the facility will become a wellness center for people of all ethnicities who live in the area. However, according to Crespi, having a diverse community is not the only focus.

"Public health and our work goes beyond race and ethnicity," said Crespi. "We serve anyone that has an interest in better[ing] themselves and better[ing] the community."

Workers with the new center plan to focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and raising awareness about heart disease and diabetes.

"We are working on obesity prevention in a really visible way by planting vegetables in our front yard [and] garden," Crespi said.

The facility already has a produce garden in front of the new building. Crespi and other Centro Latino workers hope to sell the produce from the garden as part of a healthy living campaign.

Residents like Charles Logan, seem to be excited about the new neighborhood addition.

"I feel it's a very good addition to the community," said Logan. "I think people will... take care of their health [better]."

Construction of the new wellness center is still underway, but it should be done by fall.