Centro Mater embraces the concept that love for children brings hope for the future. With its core defined more than half a century ago, Centro Mater’s unwavering mission is, “To extend the educational mission of the Catholic Church while providing programs and services that assure optimal educational opportunities for all children regardless of race, creed or religious affiliation”.
MARIA ELENA WOLLBERG
ISABEL DE QUESADA
MAX VAN WALLEGHEM
JOSIE ROMANO BROWN
Centro Mater Child Care Services (CMCCS) was founded in 1968 by Mother Margarita Miranda Otero—a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Cuba—who recognized a desperate need for child care services among the newly exiled Cuban families in Miami.
Miranda Otero established the organization in an effort to provide the necessary care and protection for South Florida’s growing immigrant youth population, burgeoning latchkey children, mothers as head of household and more women joining the work force to obtain financial independence in a foreign land. Over time, the center expanded its reach, from the streets of Little Havana, to Hialeah Gardens, and eventually, Hialeah. These expansions allowed Centro Mater to service, previously underserved neighborhoods where immigrants suffering from socio-economic disadvantages have historically concentrated.
And while founded upon a Cuban and Catholic base, Centro Mater now serves children and families of every nationality, faith and race - about 1,500 annually, 96% of which qualify for free lunch based on their household income.