as an example the services furnished to the Hispanic community in Texas since 1963, the
agency opened its doors on March 27, 1979. Six individuals - including current
staff members Executive Director Paula Raposa, Deputy Director Francisco Cabral
and Fátima Gonçalves - answered the call of the necessities of the Portuguese
community. Their principal purpose was helping families to keep their children
from dropping out of school with the program "School to Work."
Since then, many other programs have been created by the agency with special attention to the community's needs, including adult basic education classes, English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) classes, computer literacy classes and job search training, among others. Along the way, there have been times of prosperity and periods of shortage.
"We hope to continue to help people where they need it most," said Raposa. "That's why we're here."
On Aug. 26, Ser-Jobs celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Cultural Center of Fall River. Berta Cabral, the Mayor of Ponta Delgada, Azores, was an honored guest.
"I'd like to congratulate Ser-Jobs for this anniversary serving the community," said Mayor Cabral. "It is, in fact, a long life and, above all, a life of much work, of a generation which benefited due to the work performed by this institution... This is a good opportunity to congratulate all those that have made Ser-Jobs the institution it is."
Mayor Robert Correia also praised the work of the agency.
"Ser-Jobs has helped out thousands and thousands in our community over the years," he said. "They've made a direct positive impact in so many lives. I'm very proud they are in Fall River."
Several state and city officials took the opportunity to present Ser Jobs with citations.
On hand was also the former national director of Ser-Jobs, Pedro Garza, who traveled purposely to attend from Austin, Texas.
"Buenas noches, Fall River," he said. "I took a tour of the office today and I was so impressed with the facilities and the staff. It really makes me feel special being here."
Earlier in the day, he visited the final resting-place of Fall River Ser Jobs founder Tony Gomes.
"It was heartwarming to see the Ser logo on his tombstone... still there with him 30 years later. It was Tony, Paula [Raposa] and others who really did the heavy lifting. It was my privilege to be national director at the time, and the community of Fall River embraced her [Raposa]. We have so many memories."
Also in attendance was the present national Ser-Jobs Director Ignacio alazar, a native of Texas.
"I had the opportunity to be here last year to honor the efforts of Congressman Barney Frank and all that he has done in conjunction with Paula [Raposa] to make sure that we had financial literacy on the agenda and receive funding for this and made it a priority. In fact, we did deliver services in this area... many needed services."
Two students enrolled in literacy programs spoke of their experience at Ser-Jobs.
"I will be completing my course in a month and I am very happy to have had this opportunity to better my English," said José Manuel Oliveira.
Ludevina Lopes, who arrived in the United States three ago, said she is attending ESL at Ser Jobs.
"I am here since December to learn English and I like it very much," she said.
Many attendees credited the agency's success to the effort and dedication of a group who continues to labor for the betterment and the benefit of the community, with their eyes fixed on the ideal which brought this project to fruition.
O Jornal, aqui.