by Cindy McCain
Casa Azafrán Community Center celebrated its Grand Opening on December 1, 2012. Embracing diversity, unity and cultural exchange, the building beckons anyone who has made Middle Tennessee his or her home. The “Casa for All” is an international hub for education, health services, fitness, volunteerism, culinary and artistic expression. Yesterday it already housed happy people. Down the halls, crowds stopped to admire the art gallery, photos taken by locals of Nashville’s global community; heard about programs; bumped into old friends and made new ones. Likewise the courtyard, meeting rooms and studio buzzed with excited, smiling folks gathered to laugh, eat, enjoy. The festivities which included exhibitions, crafts, food and dance ran until midnight with a salsa social with Sentir el Ritmo.
The 28,800-square-foot building, located at 2195 Nolensville Pike, was purchased by Conexión Américas in December 2011. Teaming with the lead organization/site operator are partnering organizations: United Neighborhood Health Services, Family and Children’s Service, YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Justice for Our Neighbors Tennessee, and The Global Education Center. Goals of the colossal collaboration also include entrepreneurship training and community building events. Conversations are ongoing for other potential partners, and space is available for those who wish to rent it for classes, meetings, or events.
One of many opportunities at Casa Azafrán is a free class for girls in grades 5-8. Offered by YWCA Nashville’s Girls Inc. Program on Thursday nights from 6-7:30, participants will learn dancing, cooking, creative writing, and art. They will discuss topics such as economic literacy and how to deal with negative pressure from peers and media. The program’s goal is to empower women and encourage girls to become peer educators. Tina Ortiz of YWCA said: “We’re excited to partner with Casa Azafrán within the community. We believe great opportunities will come from this.”