We Improve the Quality of Life of Hispanic Families
HAO was founded by Lupe Pearce in 1976 and Roberto Clemente Charter School in 2000 to assist Allentown's growing Hispanic Community become more economically self-sufficient. It grew, in large part, from her personal experiences coming to the United States, having to learn English, and then finding jobs at the University of Chicago library and ultimately teaching Spanish in the Chicago school district, using the teaching degree she had earned in Chile.
When she moved to Allentown with her family, she could relate to the plight of Hispanics who had lost their jobs when factories closed. Without new marketable skills, they were unable to support their families as productive members of the community. With a small grant from The First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, Lupe opened the doors of HAO to train and educate Hispanic residents to realize their dreams. Maria Cruz was the first Latina volunteer.
Since those early days, HAO has grown from an organization with a nominal budget, a staff of one in a small rented office, serving a handful of clients to an active, vital center staffed by over 60 people, serving a cross-section of inner-city residents.