NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Puerto Rican Action Board has provided early childhood, youth, family and community services to tens of thousands in need from its location at 90 Jersey Ave.
Now, the organization is looking for a new home after outgrowing its current location.
Chief Program Officer Maritz Raimundi-Petroski said the agency wants to remain in the city even though it serves all of Middlesex County.
“Our priority is New Brunswick. We really want to stay. We are hoping to find a location close," she said.
“It looks really big, but a lot of the space is warehouse space for our vehicles,” Raimundi-Petroski said. “In terms of office space and conference space and things like workshop areas, it really is not configured that way. And parking is difficult also. We’re over 200 employees.”
When asked if PRAB has been working with city officials to find a new space in New Brunswick, she said that “Jose (Carlos Montes), our CEO, is working with our board (of trustees) who is working with the right individuals.”
According to PRAB’s website, the agency has a diverse board of trustees that includes Middlesex County Freeholder Shanti Narra, South Amboy Council member Zusette Dato, Franklin (Somerset County) Council member Shanel Y. Robinson, North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack III and New Brunswick Housing Authority Executive Director John Clarke.
PRAB began in 1971 when a group of Puerto Rican/Latino volunteers provided English classes to Latinos who had recently come to the United States and assisted them with securing their high school equivalency diploma.
Just three years later, PRAB was running state-funded ESL and GED programs and operating the state’s first full-time bilingual/multicultural daycare center for children ages 2½ to 5.
Today, PRAB brings a ray of sunshine – hence its sunburst logo – for thousands of people. It describes itself as a “one-stop-shop that helps diverse Central New Jersey residents identify their assets and abilities, and strengthen themselves, their families and their community.”
PRAB provides services as diverse as afterschool arts and crafts to home energy assistance programs.
The agency also operates offices in Carteret and Perth Amboy and has a handful of early childhood education satellite sites in New Brunswick.
There is no specific timetable for a move. “We want to make the right decision. We have time," Raimundi-Petroski said.