NORWALK, Conn. – Common Councilman Warren Pena has been named chairman of the board of the South Norwalk Community Center, located at 98 South Main St.
The center shares space with Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now. The two groups' common goal is to help economically disadvantaged residents of the city - and in the case of the SNCC, particularly Norwalk’s Latino community.
“I look forward to working with all those who have needs in our diverse community,” said Pena in a statement, adding that the center assisted him and his family when they moved to Norwalk from Nicaragua.
“This is very dear to me, as I have a personal connection to the center and have seen firsthand, with my own family and others, how the center can make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
Pena said that in recent years, the center has been overshadowed by NEON and some of its troubles, including the resignation of NEON’s former president and CEO, Joe Mann. While the two agencies have a positive working relationship, Pena said he wants to ensure the public knows that the two have separate identities.
To that end, the SNCC is preparing to launch a re-branding initiative with a new website and a review of the group’s mission statement, partnerships, by-laws and other components. The center’s executive director continues to be Josie Castillo; the other board members are Vice Chairman Luis Miranda, Treasurer Guillermo Pino, Secretary Jose Graterol and Sergeant of Order Julio Cabrera. Local attorney Edwin Camacho will assist the SNCC on legal matters.
“The SNCC has a lot of partnerships, including a very close one with NEON, since they share the same building,” said Pena. “Previously, there has not been a clear understanding of what the legal relationship is between the two organizations, so I look forward to ironing that out and co-existing peacefully - as I believe we have common goals, and the original intent was to have a partnership.”
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