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Moab Valley Multicultural Center promotes cultural diversity

The Moab Valley Multicultural Center is one of Moab’s newest non-profit organizations. The center aims to promote cultural diversity as well as help Moab’s fast growing immigrant population assimilate into American society.

The MVMC opened its doors only a few months ago in the old city building at 115 W. 200 S., but is already swamped with people in need of its services. People come in with issues relating to employment, education, housing, health care and legal matters. The volunteer staff mostly handles translations and referrals to other agencies or non-profits.

The center is run by Leticia Bentley a native of Mexico who has lived in Moab for 22 years. She has taught ESL and Spanish at GCHS and Middle School for the last several years. Realizing the huge need for these types of services she took a year off from the school district to start the Multicultural Center.

Aside from trying to solve everyone’s problems, the center also offers classes in English, an after school homework club with volunteer bilingual tutors, sponsors a folk dance group, has nightly AA meetings in Spanish and a women’s support group. They also sponsor events throughout the year such as the Hispanic health fair and Hispanic resource fair. The most recent event, the Cinco de Mayo celebration was dampened by cold weather and rain, but the people who braved the elements to attend the event were treated to some fantastic singing and dancing and some great Mexican food.

Future plans include Mexican cooking classes, salsa dance classes and Spanish classes.

Response from Moab’s business community has been very positive. Many local businesses have begun to utilize the center to resolve issues they are having with employees due to language problems and cultural differences. Several of these businesses have been very generous with financial support enabling the center to keep its doors open.

As a fund raising activity the volunteers at the center plan on offering monthly tamales sales. This will take place the last Thursday of each month. Orders should be placed in advance.

The center is open for walk-in business for interpreting and referrals Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-6. The phone number is 259-5444. Mrs. Bentley’s cell number is 220-0209.

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