Hispanic Baptist Church tries to build better NL 'one family at a time'

New London - With Encounters of Hope ("Encuentros de Esperanza") the First Hispanic Baptist Church is tackling a goal it has had for several years: "to transform New London one family at a time."

"It is our mission," said Executive Director Debra Pennuto-Muñiz, "to strengthen, educate Hispanic families not only in New London but in our surrounding (area). ... Our focus is on the Latino community, but we're not exclusive, we're inclusive."

Encounters of Hope is the new service arm of the church at 35 Redden Ave. The church raised funds to build the addition that now houses the Encounters office and meeting spaces.

The multi-service center opened June 30 and provides an umbrella under which the church can offer educational, advocacy and health services to anyone who needs them, said Pennuto-Muñiz. It will eventually house a free clinic, the cornerstone of the center's goal to help an underserved segment of the population.

The opening of Encounters means the church can expand on the resources it already provides, such as tutoring and discounted groceries from the Angel Food Ministries.

Encounters provides immigration assistance to people who are undocumented and a new support group for parents and families of children with special needs, which meets at 5 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month.

"We offer a multitude of services that aren't even listed," Pennuto-Muñiz said. "Informally, we offer paralegal services, social services, we do referrals. We help people with translations."

After-school and mentoring programs are planned for when school gets back in session. And members of the congregation are undergoing a six-month program to become certified as drug and alcohol counselors, Pennuto-Muñiz said.

There's even a new café and bookstore where people can get coffee and Latin sweets and use the free wireless service, Pennuto-Muñiz said. It's open only on Sundays after church services, but Pennuto-Muñiz hopes to expand the hours and attract students looking for a quiet place to relax or study.

Encounters of hope

Who: First Hispanic Baptist Church

What: Encounters of Hope/Encuentros de Esperanza, a new faith-based center offering services for the Hispanic community and beyond

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

Where: 35 Redden Ave. in New London

Contact: Executive Director Debra Pennuto-Muņiz at (860) 439-0034 or dap_legal@sbcglobal.net

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Model train club to hold open house Saturday

The Mohegan-Pequot Model Railroad Club will hold an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at its clubhouse in the Tally Ho Mall at 73 Route 2, Preston.


Hands-on: At this art park, you can touch the sculptures

Gilbert Boro is the owner of Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, a spot that's free and child-friendly.


'Fearless' grads leap into future while reflecting on life at Ledyard

Almost 200 Ledyard High School seniors celebrated their graduation on Saturday morning.


Jewish Federation director, a community pillar, to retire

When Jerome ‘Jerry’ Fischer first came to New London to serve as executive director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut in 1984, he brought an energy backed by life-changing experiences gained while living in Israel in 1966 through 1967.

TRENDING

PODCASTS