Community

Thanks to a $4 million capital campaign, the Americana World Community Center will offer workforce training to more than 5,000 immigrants, refugees and underserved Louisvillians this year.

Maria Elbl, a vice-chair for Americana’s board of directors, said the money will allow the center to hire more staff, work more with partners and organizations, and expand programs such as professional mentorship and family coaching.

“Through that support of local foundations and more than 40 community partners, Americana has begun a new chapter,” Elbl said. “The Americana dream has allowed us to begin to grow and to better serve the whole family, and I can think of no better time to thrive.”

Maria Elbl, a vice-chair for Americana’s board of directors,Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Maria Elbl, a vice-chair for Americana’s board of directors, speaks at the campaign announcement

Americana started the three-year campaign in 2015 when it faced cutbacks due to low funding. Officials celebrated the campaign’s completion by planting 430 pinwheels on it’s campus. Each wheel represented a refugee or immigrant child served through Americana’s Youth and Family Education program last year.

Regardless of hardships the center may face, Americana Executive Director Edgardo Mansilla said they would continue to support the community and its families.

“We are not going to turn away when we get overwhelmed by the heart-breaking reality that our nation is facing today,” Mansilla said. “We are going to defend the values of each person, that’s no matter where they’re coming from.”

Americana Students Watch a Talent ShowKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Americana students watch a talent show.

Americana was established in 1990 to help refugees, immigrants and low-income families through education and programs. In a news release, the center said its students maintain a 3.14 grade point average, and 1,600 people took adult education classes last year.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.