Puerto Rico opens first Kroc Center
The new facility resides in Guayama.
After three years of construction, The Salvation Army in Puerto Rico opened the doors to its first Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. The new center will provide education, art, music, sports, culture and recreation programs to the residents of Guayama.
The Salvation Army in Puerto Rico received funds for the project through an application process to which 30 other major cities in the northeastern United States applied. Puerto Rico was ultimately selected for the $20 million to fund the Kroc Center.
“As part of the requisites to obtain these funds, we have to submit proof that the Kroc Center would be established in a community where resources are scarce in order to provide them with services,” said Major Jorge Marzán, divisional commander of the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Division.
Marzán said that when choosing where the Kroc Center would be located, they conducted studies to look for cities with the most need. Guayama fit the socioeconomic profile and was chosen as the new site.
Guayama Kroc Center Administrator, Major Juan Mercado, is also asking for donations and support to provide the community with more programs in order to keep the facility running.
“We count on the continued cooperation [of Puerto Rico] to guarantee the success of the center and its mission to provide social services that help improve living conditions and provide development opportunities for disadvantaged neighboring communities,” Mercado said.
The Guayama Kroc Center will offer programs including after-school care, social work, music, art, recreational classes, activities and a variety of sports. The facility includes a semi-Olympic pool, playground, cafeteria, classrooms and main chapel.
“The Salvation Army is growing and has faith in Puerto Rico and the potential of our people,” Marzán said. “For this reason, we put a lot of effort and heart into this project…to serve Guayama and open doors to neighboring communities and all of Puerto Rico.”