History of La Casa Bienvenida (La Casa Bienvenida on facebook)
La Casa Bienvenida senior center was founded in 1972 in order to serve the low-income Hispanic Elderly community of the local Waterbury area. To this day, La Casa Bienvenida is the only non-profit organization in Greater Waterbury, which serves this needy population. The purpose of La Casa Bienvenida is to improve the quality of life of low-income Hispanic senior citizens. La Casa Bienvenida provided a myriad of essential Senior Citizens services.
Back in 1972, Mrs. Frezier, coordinator of the Vista Program suggested to Mrs. Ramona Pacheco, who worked as a senior aid, that she should create a program to serve the Hispanic elderly because there was not a program that provided services to this population in the community. Mrs. Ramona Pacheco loved the idea, and she started to talk with different people in the community looking for assistance. During that time, she spoke with Gumersindo Rodríguez, Director of South End Center. Mr. Rodriguez and Mrs. Pacheco worked very hard until they found a very tiny place located in Baldwin Street. Mr. Rodriguez bought the first stove and refrigerator in October of 1972, and that's how they started serving the first Hispanic meals, and the seniors finally ate their first " hot rice" "el primer arroz calientito".
The program, which was only known as the program that served the Hispanic elderly "Los Viejitos", grew and with it also grew the need for a larger place where the Hispanic seniors could meet every day and have other activities. After many fruitless attempts, she finally one day met with Father John Blackall, Priest of Saint Cecilia's Church, and to her surprise he agreed and allowed the program to move to the basement of his church. She was very grateful to Father Blackall to give her the opportunity and be able to expand what started as a small dream. In 1974, Ramonita Pacheco as a Director and Jill Ricci as her assistance began services at the basement of Saint Cecilia's church. Also, they formed the first board of directors and the big question took place, what are we going to call this program? At that meeting, everybody suggested different names and this is how it happened: Father Blackall said: "What do you think if we call it the Welcome Home?" and immediately proceeded to translate it into Spanish: "La Casa Bienvenida". It was put into a motion to name the program "La Casa Bienvenida" and it was approved unanimously.
In 1987, La Casa Bienvenida commenced the tradition of honoring a Waterbury resident of Puerto Rican descend as the, 'Puerto Rican Mayor for a Day'. During a Puerto Rican Flag Raising Ceremony , we recognize their contributions to our beloved City, and celebrate our grand culture. After a merger in 2012, the Hispanic Coalition continues the tradition of honoring an outstanding Waterbury resident of Puerto Rican descend.