HIJOS DE BORINQUEN SPANISH AMERICAN-CENTER is a multi-service social agency which was formed to serve the needs of the east side Hispanic community. Hijos de Borinquen (which translates as "sons of Borinquen") was established in Dec. 1979. Its incorporators and first Board of Trustees were Avis Sanchez, Lora and Tomas Santiago, and Fr. Timothy Troke. Sanchez has remained with the agency since its formation, and she continues to serve it as executive director. Originally the center was chartered to serve the east side Spanish-American population clustered in 3 city neighborhoods, St. Clair-Superior, North Broadway, and Hough. Over the years, however, its mission has broadened, and its outreach programs now serve Spanish Americans anywhere on the east side, as well as members of the VIETNAMESE and AMERICAN INDIAN communities.
During its first few months of operation, the center was located at 7049 Superior Ave. In 1980 it relocated to 6207 Superior Ave., and in 1994 it moved to 5139 Superior Ave. The center assists its clients in a variety of ways. It helps them locate and access community resources, acts as a liaison with other social service agencies, helps with vocational placement, conducts voter registration, sponsors karate classes for youth, and in emergency situations distributes food and clothing. One of its most sought-after services is helping non-English speaking clients interpreting and translating. Hijos de Borinquen operates with only one full-time and one part-time staff member, but 5 others volunteer their services to the agency. During recent years, the center has helped an average of 800-900 clients a year.