History of FAMILIA UNIDA
Incorporated as a grass roots 501-c3 nonprofit in 1998 as the first MS organization in the United States to outreach to the Spanish speaking community. Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis, e.g. Familia Unida; was founded in the early 90’s by Irma Resendez after her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she was 28 years old and learned at that time there were no services available or accessible for the Spanish speaking MS community. Irma experienced paralysis to her lower extremities and was confined to a wheelchair for almost a year. The Resendez home became the casa of hope where Irma and her family shared love with their new MS friends, learned about free resources, shared tears and hugs and especially reminded each other that they were not alone. Resendez went back to school to obtain her Masters in Social Work then incorporated Familia Unida as a non profit organization. Our office has been located in the East Los Angeles County- Centro Maravilla Center, for the past 17 years! The organization was initially founded to provide support services and resources to the Spanish speaking living with Multiple Sclerosis, targeting vulnerable, low-income and immigrants living with MS in the County of Los Angeles. However with the large demand for services in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and with Familia Unidas' open door policy more and more individuals arrived for help. Familia Unidas' reputation grew among the community as the "one stop for information and referrals" with a cultural sensitive approach.
Familia Unida heard the community plea to expand the services provided, 15 years ago officially revamped the organization’s mission to widen the services scope and core principles to include support to anyone who was living with a disability, chronic illness and who were low income immigrants who faced similar challenges. Today Familia unida serves over 15,000 individuals representing a rainbow of cultures, disabilities and especially immigrants who are in need of assistance to be included in the economic growth of their community and who deserved to be counted. Those we serve often express gratitude for our services and linkage to resources that changed and improved their life. Familia Unida has earned the reputation as the “safe place that doesn’t turn anyone away”, “if Familia Unida can’t help you directly, they will find the place where you need to go”. We accept all that walk in our door or reach us for assistance via telephone, email and during our community in person outreaches. Familia Unida staff conduct initial assessment to evaluate if client requires in-house supportive services or a referral to appropriate community service providers, often times needing more than one service or referral.
The office is located in the heart of East Los Angeles. FULWMS continues to uphold its solid commitment to offer innovative and comprehensive programs and services that has received National and International recognition. The family centered service model respect and value the diverse population served. Our programs promote healthier lifestyles, social justice engagement, immigration education, socialization, family unity and the importance of being a part of the economic development of their community.