ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The music was playing, and the sun was shining this Saturday afternoon at the International Plaza on Rochester’s North Clinton Avenue. Neighbors joined together for a community health fair hosted by the Father Tracy Advocacy Center.
This was in collaboration with other local groups such as Healing for the Homeless, Trillium Health, and the Monroe County Public Health Department.
On top of the health fair, the group also celebrated the opening of a new food pantry located down the street at St. Michael’s Church. All of these resources are only a portion of the work being done by the Father Tracy Advocacy Center.
Beatriz Lebron took over as the Executive Director of the center around four months ago, and has made it her mission to connect with the community. Lebron says she wants to make the center more of a community hub where everyone feels welcome. They offer tons of resources, from connecting folks to affordable housing to providing jobs with no questions asked.
“At the end of the day, the impact that I really do hope to have is to uplift this community to where it needs to be— to where it really needed to be 20 years ago. By being intentional about the resources that are offered here and really allowing individual residents to feel empowered in their own neighborhood,” Lebron said.
As more people utilize these resources, Lebron says she hopes to rebuild North Clinton Avenue— one community member at a time.
She adds the goal of the Father Tracy Center is not to tell people how to live their lives. Rather, it is to support them in whatever way they may need. Those we spoke to say Lebron has already accomplished so much in her short time at the center.
“Beatriz is the person we need here, because we need a person that can advocate for the community, and she’s got that. She knows how to advocate for our community,” said Luis, the program coordinator of the Father Tracy Center and a longtime resident of the community.
The food pantry at St. Michael’s Church is staffed with people from the North Clinton area, employing people from the neighborhood, for the neighborhood.
Lebron said when they opened the doors for the first time this morning, they already had a line waiting to come in. The pantry is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Father Tracy Center is currently open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. However, they do plan on extending their hours this fall.
Lebron’s overall message to the community is “Hope lives here on North Clinton Avenue,”. If you need help or even just someone to talk to, the doors are always open at the Father Tracy Center.