Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

SDOP partner Ciudad Nueva embodies the gospel of Christ

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

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Ciudad Nueva serves 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)

LOUISVILLE — 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 and Yearbook, an annual guide to the work of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. It is published in advance of SDOP Sunday, which will be celebrated in Presbyterian churches across the United States on March 12. Click here to learn more about SDOP and SDOP Sunday as well as a survey to provide feedback on the resource.

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.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.