“Future home” soon to be present home for Cape Verdean Cultural Center
After 20 years of working toward their goal, the Oak Grove Cape Verdean Cultural Center is now making plans to fully occupy their space in the old Oak Grove School school on Onset Avenue.
The organization now shares the building with its tenant, the South Shore Early Education Head Start Program.
The Cultural Center is currently located in the basement of the building while the Head Start program operates on the main floor.
“This almost seems unreal to us,” said President of the Oak Grove Cape Verdean Cultural Center, Yvonne Vierra-Cardoza.
The two organizations have been sharing the space for a year and a half according to Vierra-Cardoza.
“The South Shore Community Action Council has been a wonderful tenant,” she said. “I am kind of sad to see them go, but I am happy for them,” Vierra-Cardoza said.
The South Shore Community Action Council, the owner of the Early Education program, has recently purchased the once deserted East Wareham School and plans on moving the program there.
“It’s going to take a while, close to a year,” Vierra-Cardoza said. The East Wareham School property still needs renovations before the Head Start program can move forward.
The 314 Onset Ave location is significant to the Cape Verdean culture. Built in 1913, The Oak Grove School’s students were by majority Cape Verdean. Many members of the Cultural Center have either attended Oak Grove school or have family that did. Some have died in recent years.
“I am doing this for them,” said Vierra-Cordoza, “they were so passionate about it.”
The Oak Grove Cape Verdean Cultural Center strives to preserve Cape Verdean culture through its history, traditions, language, and community. The new open space of the main floor will allow the Cultural Center to expand their museum, offer more language classes, and provide more programs like cooking classes.
“We want kids to know the real traditional cooking,” said Vierra-Cardoza.
With recipes often changing as they get passed down to new generations, Vierra-Cardoza said that the Cultural Center emphasizes the importance of traditional recipes.
Vierra-Cardoza said she feels thankful for all the support from the town that the community has received. She noted continuous support from Town Administrator Derek Sullivan and town maintenance.
“It’s not just a Cape Verdean thing, it’s a community thing,” said Vierra-Cardoza.