Kids are so great at celebrating. I recently watched one of my kids after a great performance that helped her team win a big game. The delight and pleasure radiating from her face made my heart want to burst. She was completely absorbed in enjoying that moment of triumph with her teammates.
As adults we rarely experience those moments of pure, all-encompassing joy. Maybe the birth of a child or another big event compares, but the day-to-day victories often get swallowed up by the demands of life.
That’s why it is so important to stop and acknowledge our progress along the way, and the end of a year provides the perfect opportunity. So many great things have happened in 2017 at Ciudad Nueva. We believe this truly was a year to celebrate growth, new opportunities, and new relationships.
We celebrate growth in people and programs
Growth is not just measured in numbers, although all our programs for youth did expand to include more students this year. We also saw growth in our staff working as a team and gaining skills as leaders in their unique roles.
Our staff grew in number this year with the hiring of Tamy and Alma to run the food co-ops (Tamy also co-leads elementary school programs). And the organization’s ability to serve our community grew in two important areas as well. The food co-op, which we sponsor but is run by community members, opened this year and now provides nourishment and an opportunity for community members to serve each other. Our immigration clinic got off the ground as well, and we are excited about the opportunity for growth in these programs in 2018.
“I think supporting families was the biggest growth point for us!” says Lexi Moles, our Border Fellow and Middle School Assistant. “The way we loved on the families holistically by providing them the things they needed and helping them to be stewards over their resources. Also, collaboration with other organizations like the Mustard Seed have helped us grow and meet needs. It’s been a good way to reach out to the community and partner with those we serve.”
Opportunities abound in 2017
Many of our staff had the opportunity to participate in training through a number of conferences this year. These opportunities gave them new learning experiences and connections with others around the country who are doing work similar to what we do here. You can read more about their experiences here.
Tough circumstances are always present in our line of work. Sometimes we think of them as challenges, but I like to look at them as opportunities — opportunities to learn and grow in ways that we would not have otherwise. Working in community development, we often have challenges finding resources to meet needs or having the capacity to complete a goal.
Somehow these things always seem to work out, and we can see the hand of God at work around us. Many of our staff personally grew through these learning opportunities. Leadership skills and raising up volunteers are areas where we are always growing. Although we still need more, our elementary, middle, and high school programs were able to recruit volunteers this year.
We also had opportunities for partnership with our local community through education and by sharing resources. Events like the Spring Fest sponsored through the Downtown Connection and the Fall festivals at area churches allow us to strengthen our community as a whole. We are also looking forward to our annual Christmas Store in December where families can purchase discounted Christmas gifts for their children.
We celebrate people!
Ciudad Nueva is all about people, and 2017 was definitely a year to celebrate the people around us — in our organization and in our neighborhood.
“It was great to see Ciudad Nueva have the ability to offer more opportunities to adults and also amazing to see some of the members of the community step into their leadership roles,” says Marianne, Ciudad Nueva’s office manager.
Tamy is new to our staff and shared this with us about her first year here: “Just having joined Ciudad Nueva, I can say how impressed I am with the team of people in this organization and the level of love and dedication they have for the people they serve.”
For our youth programs, getting to know all the students is the highlight of each year.
Lexi, our youth program assistant, shared that her highlight was getting to know all the kids’ names, and Simon, the Middle School Coordinator, enjoyed beating the Westside middle school kids at bus karaoke!
Onward to new adventures in 2018!
Although 2017 was a year to celebrate successes and new opportunities, we are equally excited about 2018! We are so grateful to our staff, our neighbors and partners in the community, and all our supporters. We look forward to the new adventures to come!