Fifteen years of growth and transformation
Throughout our 15th Anniversary Quinceañera celebration, we’ve been reminded just how blessed we are to participate in the ongoing emergence of a new city — a ciudad nueva — here in the Rio Grande District, a place where lives are transformed and a flourishing community is nurtured.
When we started this work 15 years ago, we began by walking alongside ten third-graders in one program with just one part-time staff member. Today, we have 23 full-time and part-time staff members and interns working with hundreds of community members in over one dozen programs, initiatives, and events designed to empower youth, support families, strengthen community, and equip leaders in our neighborhood.
During the past 15 years, we have watched our youth grow up, earn scholarships to college, and become successful professionals, loving parents, and caring community members. We have welcomed some of them back as mentors and staff who invest in our elementary, middle school, and high school students.
We have watched their parents earn GEDs, find gainful employment, and become strong community leaders, advocating for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. We have welcomed some of them as Ciudad Nueva volunteers and staff members, key partners and leaders in our shared mission to advance the renewal and development of the Rio Grande District.
When we take time to pause and look back to our founding 15 years ago, it becomes clear just how much we as individuals, as an organization, and as a community have grown and changed during this time. And as we give thanks for the many blessings of these past 15 years, we also look ahead to the future in anticipation of the amazing work God will continue to do in and through us. Thank you for being a partner with us in bringing this new city to life!
Ciudad Nueva Timeline
- Rev. Cliff Warner founds Ciudad Nueva
- Sami DiPasquale becomes Ciudad Nueva’s first staff member
- Offer after-school program for elementary school students in grades three through five
- Help form the Downtown Connection, laying the foundation for collaborative efforts by churches in the community
- Join forces with neighborhood associations in the Rio Grande District to advocate for community improvements, specifically for a Parks and Recreation Center in our community
- Begin offering middle school programs
- Take the first group of kids to summer camp
- Receive first Border Servant Corps volunteer
- Form the Sun City Wolves soccer team, a team comprised of kids from the Rio Grande neighborhood
- Host series of workshops for adults
- Partner with Young Life for summer camp and Mad Science for science activities
- Coordinate services for adults, including ESL
- Work with youth and families to prevent homelessness, mobilizing churches to serve as temporary shelters during the winter months.
- Begin offering high school programs
- Form the Border Fellows program, a 10-month leadership development program for young adults
- The Pat O’Rourke recreation center opens as a direct result of joint neighborhood advocacy efforts
- Begin leading graduate course for Border Fellows and community members, including training on poverty, culture, faith, and community development
- Explore the possible renovation of St. George for a future Ciudad Nueva community development center
- Help form the El Paso chapter of the Christian Community Development Association
- Hire three new El Paso staff, including one individual from the neighborhood
- Begin hosting community dinners and events in partnership with the Mustard Seed Cafe
- Create a high school internship program for high school students to mentor younger kids
- Form the Catalyst Program for high school students, a college- and career-readiness program designed to give students exposure to different career options by meeting professionals from different career paths
- Launch the Family Resource Center, enabling us to better walk alongside our community by helping connect them to needed resources, including emergency assistance as well as employment and educational opportunities
- Start a food co-op, resulting in 125 families helping to sort and equally distribute food donated from local grocery stores to its members twice a week
- Launch Community Connectors Program with the goal of hiring women from the neighborhood to act as resource connectors to adults and families in the community
- Establish Esperanza Nueva, a community immigration legal services center
- Start an Upward Soccer League in collaboration with St. Clements Church and School
- Support the women from the food co-op in establishing a microlending fund through funds they raised by making and selling tamales
- Form a community advisory board to help direct the vision for Ciudad Nueva programming and for the neighborhood
- We partner with McComas and Associates to launch a Reading Plus program for Launch Pad students, helping our students to reach and exceed grade-level reading comprehension
- Expand our Upward Soccer league to include middle school teams
- Plant the seeds of a new initiative to increase homeownership in the Rio Grande District
- Make the strategic decision to form a separate initiative, Abara, to focus on inspiring connections and responding to needs on the US-Mexico border
Invest in our future
Ciudad Nueva is a community-based nonprofit that exists to advance the renewal and development of central El Paso’s Rio Grande neighborhood through the empowerment and transformation of its residents. If you would like to invest in our future, please call us today at 915-521-2951 or contact us online.