The new AMOR Wellness Center opened Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony heralding the launch of the rural health clinic and neighborhood resource in Mendota.

The $8 million center will house essential services such as primary and specialty medical care, mental, dental, behavioral health, educational, and youth services, which will be provided by partners Centro La Familia, Crescent View West Charter School, Girls Scouts of Central California South, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Madera Community Hospital, Marjaree Mason Center, and Turning Point of Central California.

It is at 121 Belmont Ave. at the corner of Belmont and Derrick avenues.

AMOR, the acronym for Alliance for Medical Outreach & Relief, is a nonprofit created to provide resources and services to families of minority culture and heritage.

“AMOR is deeply honored and humbled to be in partnership with the outstanding agencies that have been serving the residents of Mendota and its surrounding communities for the last 20 years,” executive director Davena Witcher said. “Leveraging the impact of these support systems by creating a hub where they are housed together for easy community access is the driving force behind the AMOR Wellness Center.

“We look forward to learning and growing together with our rural families and partners while advancing our collective vision for the future.”

Services Provided Closer to Home

The 20,000-square-foot project will provide residents of Mendota and surrounding areas with access to health and social services currently only offered in Fresno. It’s within walking distance of the local library, high school, middle school, and elderly care facility.

Research commissioned by First 5 Fresno County identified language barriers, access to services, and transportation as the top three challenges reported in rural communities.

Shellie Hanes, area superintendent of Learn4Life, parent organization of Crescent View West Charter School, said academic engagement increases for students when their essential needs are being met, so “delivering community wraparound services under one roof is invaluable.”

The two-building center will be open to the public on evenings and weekends and is designed to accommodate the long working hours of farmworkers and their families.

Evening, Weekend Healthcare Provided

“Our goal is to provide access to care to the rural community of Mendota,” Madera Community Hospital CEO Karen Paolinelli said. “Our Mendota Family Health Services clinic will be open seven days a week to meet the needs of the community. We are very proud to serve Mendota with a commitment to providing excellent service and quality care.”

Additional services at the wellness center include child watch services for visiting parents, emergency food relief pantry, nutrition education, computer lab, violence prevention classes, substance abuse counseling and parenting education.

The center will also feature a safe community space that includes a community garden, outdoor basketball court, developmental playground, and green space.

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