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History of Plaza

Plaza Community Center was founded by Rev. Dr. Vernon McCombs and Miss Katherine Higgins in 1905 and incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1916. In the fall of 1932, a training school was opened as part of Plaza’s educational program to provide leadership to Mexican American adults.

Plaza Community Center was designed to offer leadership training, educational and welfare assistance programs, medical services, and recreational activities for children and adults. The industrial department of Plaza Community Center became the Goodwill Industries of Southern California in 1919.

Plaza moved to East Los Angeles in 1956, following the dramatic shift of the Hispanic population to this area. Besides the medical services, Plaza initiated extended childcare services and continued to develop medical and family-oriented programs. In the late 70’s, Plaza initiated child welfare programs using comprehensive bilingual/ bicultural methods to provide services to victims of child abuse and neglect. In the 90’s, Plaza greatly expanded its services with the following programs: Family Preservation, L.A. Bridges, Domestic Violence, Perinatal (Esperanza), Healthy Families, Plaza Youth Advantage, Safety Seat Voucher, Teen Smart and CalWORKS. Presently, the primary targeted population is Latino children, youth, and families of low-income status. Plaza provides services to the East Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

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