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                     THE HISTORY AND GROWTH OF CENTRO 



Established in 1977, CENTRO, formerly Centro Las Americas, is the largest minority led, community based, multiservice, multicultural, multilinguistic, nonprofit organization in Central Massachusetts serving over 24,000 people each year. CENTRO’s primary purpose is to assist individuals and families striving to reach self-sufficiency while promoting social responsibility, fostering cultural identity, and encouraging families to be significant contributors to the community. CENTRO is a CARF accredited institution.

SINCE 1977


  • To provide culturally and linguistically competent services, that help our clients striving to be self-sufficient, achieve their dreams;

  • To be compassionate to our clients and treat them with respect;

  • To carry ourselves with dignity, integrity and to strive for excellence;

  • To not make excuses, take short-cuts, or loose track of how our work impacts the lives of our clients;

  • To support our co-workers and provide value to our stakeholders; and

  • To help make Centro the best place to work in all of Central MA;We commit to serve our clients with excellence!


We achieve our mission, by providing culturally and linguistically competent case management, community-based, social, behavioral, mental health, and health-related services; while preserving and sharing our diverse cultural values and experiences.

This is possible by establishing a strong bond with our clients and the communities we serve and leveraging partnerships and collaborations with other providers, colleges, universities, hospitals, government entities, and other institutions.

Our employees are committed to their clients first, then, their colleagues, and finally our institution.

Today, almost 40% of the clients we serve are non-Latinos.

CENTRO has undergone a tremendous transformation during the past 10 years, and it is no longer the neighborhood center that many Latinos families grew up knowing. Thankfully we are much more able to meet many of the social, behavioral and health-related needs of our community; than ever before. Originally founded in 1977 as Centro Communal Hispano by a group of community activists to serve Puerto Ricans, CENTRO was founded by volunteers. Its original purpose was that of preserving and sharing the Puerto Rican culture, to act as a gathering venue for celebrations and important community matters, as well as to assist these newcomers establish strong roots in Worcester. CENTRO’s mission and the community it serves has evolved, as the make-up of the population in Worcester has changed. By the mid-1990s, CENTRO realized that all Latinos in the area could benefit from the services it offered. That mission has evolved further as the make-up of Worcester’s population has continued to evolve. Today, we proudly serve individuals and families from North, Central, and South America. We also serve people from several countries in the African Continent, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Image by Dollar Gill


CENTRO’s vision 2020 strategic planning process has been conceived and we are going into year two of implementation. During the last six months of FY 2019, CENTRO concluded the process, and produced its this critically important three-year plan. In order to do so, the organization’s leadership was able to actively engage 52 different stakeholders from our community to participate in this process. Board Members, Payers, Leadership Staff, employees, Clients, and other community representatives contributed. In addition, we elicited feedback, recommendations and suggestions, from over 150 clients and front-line employees.

As part of developing our strategic plan, we elicited CENTRO Client input, by way of a survey to 500 of our clients; We gathered CENTRO Employee feedback at our Employee retreat, as well as at a special activity in September 2018; and we had a graduate Capstone Group from Clark University conduct a Strategic Analysis. In October 2018, we held a kick-off event, with all 52 stake-holders; during which we had one expert of each of CENTRO’s three divisions, speak on the condition of the industry, the future of each of those and what roll CENTRO could play, if it prepared adequately.

A. CENTRO Family Services
B. CENTRO One Health
C. New Americans Community Development Corporation

We separated these stakeholders into three subcommittees, reflecting those three divisions. Through the winter we held 9 different subcommittee meetings, during which we elicited feedback, strategized and compiled information to create our Strategic Plan. All the information, feedback and strategies were condensed into five major Benchmarks to focus on for the next three years; and they are as follows:

A. CENTRO will focus the necessary resources, attention and time to augment every element that strengthens its workforce

B. CENTRO will enhance its clinical capacity and raise the bar on quality of care of persons served

C. CENTRO will expand its cultural and Linguistic competence and reach an unequaled level of capacity among its peers.

D. CENTRO will expand its infrastructure and support capacity to ensure it can provide the highest degree of excellence in the care of persons served

E. CENTRO will ensure its long-term financial strength and sustainability, by implementing even stricter budgeting and financial management practices, aggressive outreach, and enhanced capital development practices.


In response to the changing needs of CENTRO’s target population, the organization has evolved into a tri-divisional, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, fully integrated, health and human services delivery system. This fast-growing, minority-led organization is the only minority provider of multiple services, under contract to the Commonwealth of MA in Central MA. CENTRO currently serves over 8,700 individual families in over 52 cities and towns in MA and provided over 24,000 incidents of client contact services last year. This is year 2 of implementation of its CENTRO Vision 2020, Strategic Planning Process.


CENTRO Family Services

A. Community Based Services
B. Family Support Services
C. Family Support & Stabilization

CENTRO One Health

A. Adult Family Care (AFC)
B. Group Adult Foster Care

New Americans Community Development Corporation

This affiliate of CENTRO is in the heart of Worcester and seeks to help improve the economic viability of the Main Middle section of Worcester, through development and incentivizing of Home Ownership, creation and redevelopment of Workforce Housing, and Business and Entrepreneurial Development. New Americans CDC is also the vehicle through which CENTRO can make Neighborhood Infrastructure Investments and acquire, develop and manage property dedicated to support its programs.

Some of the Founding Members of CENTRO formerly known as Centro Las Americas include:

  • (THE LATE) Father Miguel Bafaro

  • The Honorable Luis Perez

  • Jacinto Arroyo

  • Lidia E. Reyes

  • Francisco Ojeda

  • Jose R. Perez

  • Juan Mirillo

  • Armando Santiago

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