Programs & Services
» Community Resource and Outreach
Community Resource & OutreachBilingual Information, Advocacy, and Referral
Centro de Información offers the following services in this area:
- Information and referral
- Job fairs and supportive employment search services
- General interpretation and translation of written communications, e.g., letters, applications, birth certificates, marriage certificates.
- Advocacy in the areas of housing, employment, and immigration
- Emergency food pantry
- Information fairs bringing local resources to our community
- Jueves Informativos – legal clinics in the areas of labor, Social Security, domestic relations, housing, Workers Compensation, immigration, and others.
» Educational Seminars
Educational SeminarsEducational seminars are presented on a variety of topics throughout our community.
Agencies may request seminars at no cost. Presentations are made in Spanish or bilingually.
The following is a list of Educational Seminars:
Finding resources for your family in Elgin: Medical, legal, unemployment, immigration and naturalization, clothing, food, mental health, counseling, child care
Healthy lifestyles: How to eat healthy and exercise. A dietician makes the presentation
How to deal with common illnesses: Upper respiratory infections, colds, and ear infections. What parents and children can do to prevent them. A doctor or nurse makes the presentation
Employment: How, where, and when to look for employment. job applications, interviews, short resumes
Gang awareness: Methods parents can use to help their children stay safe, warning signs of gang involvement, and where to get help
Housing: How to buy a house, why a lease is important if you are renting , and local housing codes and standards
Building Family relationships: The importance of communication
Disciplining your children without abuse: Behavioral management techniques are taught and discussed
Child abuse/neglect: What is it, state mandates, and how to get help
Immigration and naturalization: (Many topics are available depending on the audience, e.g., Legal Permanent Residency, Naturalization, Waivers, Affidavit of Support, Final Interview)
Bank/credit: How to open, keep, and balance checking and savings accounts; other banking services; the importance of obtaining and maintaining good credit; the use of credit cards
How to establish a budget: Evaluating family needs, setting priorities, planning for present and future needs
Insurance: How and what insurance is appropriate for family needs (e.g., house, car, health, life)
How you can help your children succeed in school
Stress and burnout: How to cope
First aid: What to do in case of emergencies
Alcoholism: Symptoms, consequences, and treatment
Women's Health and Cancer Awareness: Breast self examination, pap smear, uterine cancer
Diabetes: Types of diabetes, symptoms, effects, diet, and treatment
Cholesterol: Causes, effects, diet, and prevention
Income Tax: Know your rights and responsibilities W7 and ITIN
- How to buy a house
» Emergency Food Pantry
Emergency Food PantryThe Emergency Food Pantry is located at Centro's Elgin main office.
It serves principally the needy Hispanic population with special attention given to food that Hispanics eat on a daily basis. In 1999 Centro opened the emergency food pantry as part of its outreach efforts to help meet a need in the Hispanic community. The population is especially vulnerable because many times immigrants speak little English, and have substantially less income and education than the population at large, leaving them more likely to live in poverty.
The emergency food pantry needs a constant flow of food donations in order to meet the needs of the community. Centro has developed a supportive network of corporate, church, and community resources and volunteers.
Most of the people who come for food are adult Hispanic females with small children. The 2010 census puts the Hispanic population of Elgin at 43%, Carpentersville at 50%, and Hanover Park at 38%. Centro has offices in all three communities, and the need for food is evident. Food is distributed by Centro on a daily basis. Approximately 2000 families use the emergency food pantry per year, and the food they receive feeds more than 8,000 (including family members).
Staff: Volunteer Coordinator Cathy Korak
» DCFS Contracted Individual, Youth and Family Counseling
DCFS Contracted Individual, Youth and Family CounselingDCFS Counseling Program
Centro counselors have the professional background and experience to understand the challenges of the various Hispanic cultures that are represented in Kane, Cook, and Dupage counties.
Centro receives case referrals from the DCFS offices of Cook and Kane counties. All families receiving counseling services at Centro through the DCFS counseling program are families involved in the DCFS system.
Our services are provided in the home of the client or in our office to facilitate the best environment for the family. Services include:
- Individual, youth and family counseling
- Play therapy
- Specialization in the treatment of children and youth victims of sexual abuse
For more information contact Veian D'Abreu at 847-695-9050, ext. 317
» Parenting Skills Classes
Parenting Skills Training
Centro de Información provides parenting classes in English and Spanish. Each course is for nine week sessions, once a week for two hours. During the time of the course, parents have the opportunity to relate and share concerns with other parents. In each of the sessions, the parents receive small assignments to do at home and to complete the course, parents must pass the final exam.
1. Understanding Yourself and Your Child
2. Understanding Beliefs and Ideas
3. Encouraging Your Child and Yourself
4. Listening and Talking to Your Child
5. Helping Children Cooperate
6. Discipline that Makes Sense
7. Choosing Your Approach
9. Money Management and Budgeting
EmploymentThe employment program focuses on assisting Hispanics and low-income adults who have limited English-speaking skills to obtain employment.
Centro has developed job-seeking training, techniques, and strategies in Spanish and holds seminars on such topics as how to look for job openings, how to dress, dos and don'ts of interviewing, how to use the telephone and letters to find and respond to openings, and the importance of being on time.
Centro has identified and contacted employers to learn of training programs and jobs available in the area. Centro hosts weekly job fairs in Elgin, Carpentersville, and Hanover Park. In the next year we will give increasing emphasis to Internet employment resources to allow clients to respond to such employment opportunities.
Employers are encouraged to call Centro de Información with job openings.
For more information contact Jose Ares at 847-695-9050 ext. 306
» Immigration and Naturalization Services
Immigration and Naturalization Services
Immigration law is complex and ever-changing.
The many forms and requirements can often confuse applicants who want to receive immigration benefits. Immigration law provides that aliens in immigration proceedings have the privilege of being represented, at no expense to the Government, by counsel selected by the alien and authorized to practice (Section 292 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C.1362).
Centro de Informacion is a BIA accredited organization, that has been offering immigration services to the far northwest Chicago suburbs for more than 40 years. Our immigration counselors have received BIA accreditation and are dedicated to guide clients through their immigration process by explaining and assisting with necessary forms and responding to questions on immigration benefits.
Some of the services provided in our office include: Family-based Petitions, Adjustment of Status applications, Employment Authorization Cards, Consular Process, Temporary Protected Status, Naturalization and Citizenship. A modest fee is charged for these services.
For an appointment to complete any of these processes or an appointment to consult with our immigration counselors, please call (847)695-9050.
Immigration Program Staff:
Coordinator of Immigration Services, BIA Accredited
Marta Gómez, Immigration Counselor, BIA Accredited
Susana Tinoco, Immigration Counselor
Alejandrina Vargas, Immigration Counselor
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (U.S.C.I.S.)
Chicago Office at 101 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60604
Customer Service Number 1-800-375-5283 or at www.uscis.gov
U.S. Department of State www.travel.state.gov http://usembassy.state.gov
» Families in Crisis
Families in Crisis
This program is temporarily not available from loss of funding from the State of Illinois. We hope that funding will be restored.
This program with DCFS and foundation support offers educational support services to promote positive behavior and academic engagement of children from Spanish-speaking families.
Program goals are to improve school attendance, decrease suspensions, increase children's behavior, social, and educational skills, and strengthen families.
In Elgin, the program takes a counseling approach for children who live in Kane County. Centro receives referrals from the community and more than 20 schools throughout northern Kane County. A counselor meets weekly with children individually and in groups to address issues of anger management, isolation, communication, personal responsibility, and self esteem. She meets with parents monthly to address issues that affect their ability to parent their children.
In Hanover Park, the program provides after school homework assistance, small group discussion, monthly family nights, and a variety of enrichment activities.
For referrals or additional information on the Elgin Families in Crisis program, contact at 847-695-9050, Ext. 316.
To inquire about homework assistance in Hanover Park, call Herlinda Castillo at 630-550-5131.
» Public Benefits Outreach and Advocacy Program
Public Benefits Outreach and Advocacy ProgramCentro, in collaboration with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights provides outreach and interpretation services focusing on all of the programs administered through the Illinois Department of Human Servcies, especially the food stamp and Temporary Aassistance for Needy Families programs (TANF).
Centro also links clients to related programs such as SSI, Social Security, Medicare, WIC, LIHEAP, as well as childcare, job training, and ESL programs. We assist individuals to sign up for AllKids and family care insurance as well as for the safety net equivalents for those who do not qualify for government programs.
Centro explains and clarifies public benefits issues with clients in person or by phone. The worker explains the general eligibility requirements for public assistance programs administered through IDHS, the process for potential applicants, and clarifies immigration issues as they pertain to the receipt of public benefits.
Centro aids clients to overcome language barriers in situations where individuals have limited literacy skills in both English and Spanish and advocates for clients who need to collect documentation required for application for benefits.
Centro advocates on behalf of their clients as well as collaborates with the IDHS in order to obtain case related information and clarification. Organizations and individuals may call Centro de Información for additional information.
Centro de Información provides orientation and advocacy with the following programs available to immigrants in our community:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Food Stamp Program and local food pantries and soup kitichens
- AllKids state medical insurance for children and families
- Social Security, SSI, and Disability
- Childcare assistance for working families
- Job Training and ESL Classes
For information contact Josefina Guerrero de Rodriguez at (847) 695-9050 Ext. 302