CLEVELAND – Angelica Campos said she has met many wonderful people since moving to northeast Ohio, but she was particularly excited to introduce her Hometown Hero.
His name is Rev. Max Rodas and he is the executive director of Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center.
It’s an organization that addresses the root causes of poverty and health inequities in Cleveland and Lorain.
“We have a commitment, not only to the greater City of Cleveland, but we’re very focused on Cudell and we are a Latino serving organization. By that I mean we have bilingual and cultural competent staff that can serve our Latino folks,” Rev. Rodas explained.
Like Angelica, Max is from Central America. He moved from Guatemala to Cleveland 28 years ago.
Rev. Rodas said he enjoys the local sports flare.
“Love the Indians,” he said. “To see a bunch of Latinos hitting the ball, that’s a cool thing!”
The cornerstone program of Nueva Luz is HIV ministry and medical case management.
"You can define spirituality in many ways,” Rev. Rodas explained. “But spirituality to me is purpose, and a center, and it’s also compassion. When we stumble into a bunch of folks with HIV and AIDS we wanted to respond compassionately."
Nueva Luz also offers other services.
At the Cleveland facility, there's a food pantry and a community playground right in its front yard.
With these tools and other community engagement programs, Rev. Rodas is committed to helping to reduce economic and health issues within all minorities.
“The community has everything within itself to transform itself, we are just facilitators,” he said.