WSVN — It's a place where kids love to play, learn and care for plants in the garden, but Centro Mater is also helping parents.
Soledad Serrano became a mother at 18.
Soledad Serrano: "My husband and I became very young parents."
They came to the U.S. from Argentina for a better life, but needed to finish their education. First, they had to find good child care.
Soledad Serrano: "He worked. I went to school. I was able to have my children in Centro Mater."
Not only did Soledad go on to get her master's degree, but says the school taught her be a better mom through parenting classes.
Soledad Serrano: "They gave me different resources that I could use to become a better parent."
Abilio Rodriguez: "Mostly we serve immigrant families."
Centro Mater was founded 45 years ago by a nun who saw a growing need to help immigrant families.
Abilio Rodriguez: "When she created it she called it Mater. It's the symbol of mother, the mother that brings the children and takes care of them."
The school serves low income families and goes the extra step to help parents from other countries settle here.
Abilio Rodriguez: "So they can learn where to go to find a job, to learn the language."
Jenny Diaz came to Miami from Cuba.
Jenny Diaz: "It was just getting used to a whole different life."
She went on to get married and have children. But at age 34, she got devastating news.
Jenny Diaz: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008."
With four kids to raise she was terrified.
Jenny Diaz: "Terrible diagnosis. Four children, a newborn … so I was in shock. I was very depressed."
Centro Mater offered her counseling and care for her two month old baby Adrian so she could focus on her health.
Jenny Diaz: "It was just an incredible feeling of knowing that even though I was sick that I was going to be OK."
Jenny is now cancer free and back to being a full time mom. Both she and Soledad credit Centro Mater for not only taking care of their kids, but helping their families through the toughest of times.
Jenny Diaz: "That's something I will never forget. I will never forget."
Centro Mater offers free child care services for families who qualify. They have five centers through-out Miami-Dade County.
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