Native American Center Opens in San Jose
By Osvaldo Castillo
Posted: June 21, 2012
Native American communities can be found throughout the country. In San Jose, the community has worked hard to get a new facility that will allow them to succeed in Silicon Valley.
On Wednesday, June 13, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the Indian Health Center hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Family Resource Center in downtown San Jose. The new resource center is designed to provide young children with a place to learn, play, and interact with their parents as they prepare to enter Kindergarten.
FIRST 5 has funded Family Resource Centers across the County for a number of years. They were approached by the Indian Health Center to transform its downtown location into a Family Resource Center that would serve downtown residents who have children or are expectant parents.
“The Indian Health Center has had the lease on the building since 2009,” Makdessian said. “However, renovations did not begin until the summer of 2010. Renovations were completed late last year and the center started operations in October 2011.”
The center is open to any child and family who seek information, or programs regarding children’s health, or programs that prepare children for school. It is funded through a grant from FIRST 5.
“Children learn basic literacy and numeracy skills as well as participate in physically active games and art projects that help prepare them for school,” said Avo Makdessian, Associate Director at First 5 of Santa Clara County. The center will also provide culturally competent programs specifically for American Indian/Alaska Native families.
FIRST 5 paid for the $50,000 renovation of the center and the purchase and installation of age-appropriate furniture and learning materials for young children. “In addition, FIRST 5 funds one of Indian Health Center’s program coordinators to operate the center. The lease for the center is under Indian Health Center’s purview,” Makdessian said.
The center is operated by the Indian Health Center through a grant from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County funds. All programs and services offered at the center are open to all families at no cost.
The Indian Health Center is a non-profit agency established in 1977 to provide comprehensive health care and wellness services, primarily to the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) community of Santa Clara County. The new center is one of 17 Family Resource Centers in Santa Clara County funded by FIRST 5’s Learning Together Initiative.