Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte International Cabinet have named Wendy Mateo-Pascual, executive director of the Camino Community Center, their 2017 recipient of the Global Leader Award. Mateo-Pascual is being honored for her “strong leadership in Charlotte’s international community, and commitment to embody the spirit of Charlotte’s Global significance.”
“This is well deserved recognition for Wendy, the Camino Center, and the greater immigrant community as we come together to address the challenges that are before us,” said Charlotte City Councilman Greg Phipps, a member of the Camino Community Center Advisory Board.
About the award
The award will be presented on May 11 at the Mayor’s International Community Awards gala on at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The Global Leader Award is given to individuals “who embody the spirit of Charlotte’s global significance.”
“They display strong leadership in Charlotte’s international community and cultivate awareness of the growing diversity of Charlotte. Furthermore, award recipients have evolved from being leaders in their respective cultural communities to become leaders of the Charlotte community at large,” the award citation reads.
Building the center
Mateo-Pascual helped her congregation at Concord-based Camino Church launch the bi-lingual, bi-cultural center in 2004. Located just off North Tryon Street at 133 Stetson Drive, the center serves several thousand low-income people annually with free health care, fitness programs, mental-health counseling, a thrift store, University City’s only Loaves and Fishes food pantry and meals for homeless men at area shelters.
The center also hosts community events. The Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa and a Charlotte Children’s Theater performance of “Letters to China” were presented here in March.
Strong community support
Camino Church continues to provide strong support for the center. Camino Pastor Rusty Price serves as the center’s president, and the church holds bi-lingual worship services both here and in Concord.
Under Mateo-Pascual’s leadership, the Camino Center has built a broad base of community partners, as well, including BlueCross BlueShield, Compare Foods, StoneBridge Church, University City Partners and, most notably, UNC Charlotte.
Mateo-Pascual has worked closely with UNC Charlotte’s ARCHES initiative and its director, Professor Mark DeHaven, to bring mental-health counseling, health-risk screenings and exercise programs to the Camino Center.
ARCHES (The Academy for Research on Community Health, Engagement and Services) brings together community leaders and university faculty and students to develop and sustain programs that promote health, prevent disease and eliminate health disparities.
One of the Camino Center’s wellness programs is based on research showing that 80% of chronic disease can be prevented through proper diet, exercise and early detection. ARCHES secured a grant from BlueCross BlueShield to fund a graduate assistant who works with clients to design lifestyle and behavioral changes to improve their health.
Visit the Camino Community Center website for more information about Mateo-Pascual and the Camino Community Center.