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SDOP partner Ciudad Nueva embodies the gospel of Christ


The El Paso, Texas, community group is featured in the SDOP Sunday Resource & Yearbook

March 13, 2023

Ciudad Nueva services economically and socially vulnerable youths, families and seniors who are primarily first- and second-generation immigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. (Contributed photo)

From youth empowerment programs to leadership and family support initiatives, Ciudad Nueva is working hard to enact long-term change in the Rio Grande neighborhood of downtown El Paso, Texas.

Serving economically and socially vulnerable youths, families and seniors who are primarily first- and second-generation immigrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, Ciudad Nueva’s journey started in 2004 as Launch Pad, an after-school program with 10 third-grade students. It has evolved in the nearly two decades since to include summer camps, a food distribution network and outreach programs serving more than 150 youths from grades 3–12 and more than 500 people per year through its Family Resource Center.

Abigail Carl-Klassen, Ciudad Nueva’s director of development, discussed some of the challenges the organization faces.

“Our mission is to partner resources alongside the assets, knowledge, skills and determination of our neighbors to create a healthy, vibrant, thriving community. The finances and support necessary to partner with the needs of our neighbors often exceeds our resources and capacity and our neighbors are often stretched thin to the point where it can be difficult (for) them to participate in opportunities that would improve material and social conditions for themselves and their families,” she said.

When asked what made a grant from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) the right fit for their group, Carl-Klassen emphasized the mutual philosophy around project ownership.

“SDOP’s model of beneficiary project ownership is in line with our asset-based community development philosophy and practice of resourcing and equipping community leaders,” she said. “We value mutuality and reciprocal approaches to community work maintaining that ‘everyone has something to give, everyone has something to receive.”’

Carl-Klassen said that SDOP’s assistance has been invaluable. Without it, Ciudad Nueva would not have been able to open a 15-station mobile community computer lab that includes a community jobs, benefits and education center, or to hire a computer lab assistant.

Funds from SDOP have enabled Ciudad Nueva to put up a job board that contains information for job seekers and promotes neighborhood small businesses. In September and October 2022, Ciudad Nueva hosted a six-week small business class attended by 20 individuals from the neighborhood. Class graduates became eligible to apply for $1,000 business microloans that will be awarded in the spring.

This story is part of the SDOP Sunday Resource & Yearbook, an annual guide to the work of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People.

The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible through your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

Today’s Focus: SDOP Sunday Resource & Yearbook

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Tom Taylor, President & Chief Executive Officer, Presbyterian Foundation
Erica Thomasson, Help Desk Technician, Presbyterian Foundation

Let us pray

Jesus, Prince of Peace, too often our attitudes turn others away from you. May the manner in which we relate give credible witness to your good news. May we and those who observe our lives turn to you and find owner to break down barriers, heal divisions and together experience life as you intend it to be lived. Amen.

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