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Thanks to collaboration with the University at Buffalo, the Father Belle Center at Maryland Street and Busti Avenue has received a $55,000 state Health Department grant to establish a wellness center, officials announced.

The grant, from the Health Department's Office of Minority Health, will allow the center to promote wellness, including good nutrition and physical fitness, with a qualified, bilingual staff.

The center, with some programs expected to begin this month, also will provide a bilingual wellness library as well as information on access to nearby health-care facilities.

Ronald Ingalsbe, director of UB's Living Well Center, provided the technical expertise for the grant proposal, officials said. He and the Living Well Center will continue to offer the Father Belle Center expertise and resources.

The wellness center was conceived by Modesto Candelario, executive director of the Father Belle Center; Michael Szymanski, assistant director; Ingalsbe; and Michael Rivera, president of the Father Belle Center's board of directors as well as a senior associate in the UB Office of Career Planning and Replacement.

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