Centro services are provided at no cost to all who enter its doors and these services are non-discriminatory, non-denominational, and non-proselytizing. Current and past Board members and leaders of Centro Shalom have included prominent members of the Roman Catholic, UCC, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Jewish faiths, and community leaders who believe strongly in our mission. Typically Centro requests that individuals receiving assistance, as they are able, volunteer time at Centro. Centro also takes volunteers from the probation department and Long Beach Unified School District for their various service requirements.
Along with the direct services we provide in Long Beach, California, to those in poverty, we also educate our community. We have sent people to Immigrant Day and Hunger Day in Sacramento to give people an opportunity to see firsthand how our legislature works. We provide an avenue for students to fulfill their graduation requirements by allowing them to perform their forty hours of community service with our agency. We open channels for discussion on topics that are germane to our clients’ needs, such as issues affecting day laborers, street vendors, etc., and we invite anyone who is interested in volunteering to come and learn how to do the necessary and vital work that our community needs. And we encourage and assist our clients in advocating for themselves and their children.
In its 32 years of operation, Centro Shalom’s leadership has been the recipient of numerous community awards. These include the Southern California Chapter of the National Council of Community and Justice honoring Centro director Amelia Nieto with its 2005 Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award in recognition of her commitment to social justice, the 2003 Teacher Association of Long Beach Human Rights Award to Centro Shalom, and the 2007 Assistance League Woman of the Year Award to Amelia Nieto.
The South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC), made up of a great variety of religious congregations, serves as Centro’s parent organization. All Centro Shalom finances are handled through accounting provided by SCIC through its administrative services and paid for by Centro. Centro receives no funding from SCIC. Centro is managed by its own program board that sets policy and budgets, raises money, and oversees program services.