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New community service center opens in Maryvale

PHOENIX -- Families in Maryvale have a new place to go for help.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday at the new Maryvale Community Services Center, which is designed to provide several services for families. It's located in a renovated fitness center near 67th Avenue and Indian School Road.

"We provide basic services such as GED and English as a Second Language Services," said Edmundo Hidalgo, the president and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa. "Also, more extensive services that include Behavioral Health Services for Children, family counseling, and parenting skills development."

His group teamed with Salt River Project to spend over $3 million to buy and renovate the place.

"This is our investment," said Hidalgo. "This is our little grain that, hopefully, will have a ripple effect in this community."

HIV and AIDS counseling will also be available at the center.

Hidalgo said the new center will give the people of Phoenix a chance. "We're about a hand up, not a hand out," he said. "For those people who are looking to move up economically, improve the quality of their life, we try to bring in the tools and services that hopefully allow them to be self-dependent, so that they themselves are able to prosper."

Most of the services at the center are available free of charge.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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