November 4, 2009


 lalo and inez

Community Resource Program

In 1972, a Catholic priest by the name of Father Ramon Gaitan was sent to be the new priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Topeka, Kansas.

Father Ramon had a passion for serving the least among us, especially our immigrant brothers and sisters. When he wasn’t attending to the many duties as a priest, Father Ramon worked diligently to help those in need in our community.

Over the years Father Ramon increased the time he spent serving families in need until he realized he needed help. That is when he established El Centro with the help of community members to serve the least among us.

Today we continue to strive to keep the spirit of service that Father Ramon exemplified.

We provide struggling families  awareness about local resources and bridge the gap between Low English Proficient residents and the rest of the community.

We provide support in a culturally sensitive and supportive environment with a fully bilingual staff. These services include Spanish-English interpretations(verbal), written translations and community referrals.

Mobile Health Clinic

The Mobile Health Clinic is a partnership between El Centro and Washburn University School of Nursing. The clinic provides free basic preventative health screenings and education in the community. As part of the program, nursing students are able to spend a semester outside of the classroom gaining experience serving community members. Students are supervised by Washburn University faculty and gain invaluable experience that will aid them once they graduate.

The clinic sets up next to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. One emphasis of the program is to go out into the community and set in neighborhoods where clients live.

The clinic is to ensure that communication does not become a barrier to improving health. For this reason, the clinic works to provide a volunteer interpreter who is available at all time while the clinic is visiting.

Lastly, the clinic serves to educate clients about the results of their preventative health screenings and create a plan of care. Too often, medical offices don’t have the time to sit with patients. The clinic is able to sit and talk with clients about options they can take to improve their health. Clients choose small changes or habits they would like to make in their life and follow up with to see how those changes have positively affected their health.

llc 2015 class

Latino Leadership Collaborative

The Latino Leadership Collaborative of Kansas is a community leadership development organization comprised by three leading Hispanic organizations in Kansas – El Centro de Topeka, Topeka LULAC Council #11071, and MANA de Topeka. The program is a first of its kind and established through a grant from Kansas Leadership Center.

The Latino Leadership Collaborative of Kansas will selects 25 participants who become knowledgeable, organized, and trained to better lead community organizations in the area of health, education and economic development – thus, creating neighborhood revitalization that will assist with building healthy, vibrant communities in Kansas and grow leadership within Hispanic communities and businesses in Kansas. 

The program will be facilitated by local community leaders from various grassroots, corporate and educational entities to deliver a comprehensive leadership training opportunity.