Guatemalan Maya Center in danger of closing


It's a center that thousands of families in our area turn to for help navigating their way through society, but right now it's in jeopardy of closing.

The Guatemalan Maya Center in Lake Worth isn’t getting its typical amount of funding. The center has been a staple in the immigrant community for over 20 years. One mother tells CBS 12 she would have nowhere to turn if the facility closed its doors.

Adinas, a mother three, came to Lake Worth from Guatemala and spoke with us through a translator.

“The hardest parts for her were crossing the sea through a small tiny boat and crossing the desert was very difficult for her,” Adinas said. Adinas is an undocumented immigrant.

“My kids were not going to succeed in a country like mine," she said. "I came here simply to give my kids a better life."

One night, things took a violent turn with her husband in Lake Worth.

“When I started to scream and holler for help, my kids ran out of the room and he started threatening them,” Adinas said.

She became a single mother, and all three of her sons were traumatized. The Guatemalan Maya center had her back with counseling and is a place for the kids to go while Adinas works full time.

“Without the center, the kids would have no guidance, and they would be very left behind in school,” Adinas said.

However, enrollment at the center has dropped and grant money follows.

Assistant Executive Director, Timothy Gamwell says, many immigrants are now hiding.

“The other problem we found is a lack of funding for anything regarding immigration, people don't want to donate for undocumented persons,” Gamwell said.

The center helped over 2,500 families last year with things such legal aid and help getting social services.

"Our doors are open for those families, and without funding, we can't continue we can't keep our doors open and we need help,” Gamwell said.

Gamwell also said if the center doesn't see an increase in funding through enrollment or private donations, it will be forced to close its doors by September.

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