AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — 2021 marks a big milestone for the Amarillo Wesley Community Center.
The center has grown tremendously through the years.
“We started off serving just hundreds of people and now it’s thousands of people throughout the year,” said Liz Rascon Alaniz, Amarillo Wesley Community Center Executive Director.
That all started back in 1951 when the community center was established by a group of United Methodist women from Polk Street United Methodist Church.
“They had this vision to start a Hispanic ministry in the barrio neighborhood. So they raised all of this money and got a house donated basically and they raised the money for the programming to start the Wesley Community Center,” said Alaniz.
They started offering ESL classes and after-school programs among other activities. From there, they expanded on the programs through the leadership of Reverend Jacinto Alderete who served as Executive Director for 32 years before Belinda Gonzales Taylor served in that same role for 15 years.
“We’re very fortunate to still be here 70 years now,” said Alaniz.
You heard that right, 2021 marks 70 years of them making a difference in the Barrio Neighborhood with the Hispanic community.
“Because we are celebrating 70 years, to begin the year we started off with a mural that was also funded by the city of Amarillo and created by Blank Spaces Murals along with Los Barrios de Amarillo,” said Alaniz.
Expansion is in the works too for the Amarillo Wesley Community Center.
“We’re actually opening up a new center now on Southlawn Amarillo, which is on 4801 South Austin street. It’ll be our Amarillo Wesley Community Center South Campus. So we’re really excited that we’re growing these walls with many families but also we’re able to serve a new area in Amarillo and grow our ministry there. We’re really deeply indebted in our Hispanic roots and culture here at the Wesley Community Center,” said Alaniz.
The future continues to look bright for the Wesley Community Center. Alaniz says they’re planning to launch a capital campaign in a couple of years for a new recreational center.
To learn more about the Wesley Community Center, click here: https://www.facebook.com/amarillowesleycommunitycenter