What's in a name?

Originally named Centro de Educacíón de Trabajadores, Centro was founded in 1975 by Argentinians who left their country during the military dictatorship and resettled in New York City. Through Centro, they shared knowledge and skills with other Latin American immigrants seeking to find a place in a new city and new country. Over time, Centro attracted immigrants from all over the globe -- including Russia, China, and the Middle East - as well as volunteer teachers and administrators eager to welcome and support immigrant newcomers. Our mission has come to focus on English (ESOL) and Spanish language classes taught by native speakers, as well as bilingual computer classes and civics classes for immigrants preparing for the U.S. Citizenship exam. Intercambio, our Spanish-English language exchange, promotes intercultural learning, understanding and friendship, as do class time refreshment breaks and end-of-semester fiestas, where students and volunteers share food and games from their native countries. Over the years, additional programs have responded to the needs of our community, including computer classes, a free Legal Clinic staffed by volunteer attorneys, and, in cooperation with other organizations and agencies, workshops on financial literacy, immigrants' rights, and the NYC ID program. As New York City changes, so do we. We continue to embrace our love for Spanish culture and language, but our mission has broadened to serve lifelong New Yorkers and newcomers from all backgrounds and countries. Whoever you are, wherever you come from, and whatever brings you to New York, Centro welcomes you.

Centro and Hartley House

Since 1975 we have made our home in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, originally in St. Clement's Episcopal Church on West 46th Street, and since the 1990s at Hartley House, a settlement house founded in 1897 to serve the local community through programs for children, youth, and seniors. For two decades, Centro was Hartley House's principal evening tenant and, in effect, offered its evening program to the community and beyond. In 2018, as Hartley House closes its doors and we move on from our longtime home, we continue to embrace the ideals and activism of the historic American Settlement House movement, in our commitment to education for the community.

Our Mission

Centro NYC is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that has provided affordable adult education, advocacy programs, and cultural events to New Yorkers since 1975. We are a warm, inclusive and welcoming community, staffed entirely by volunteers who are committed to developing skills, confidence, independence and cross-cultural understanding among lifelong New Yorkers and immigrants alike.

Learn about cultural exchange and community-building at Centro