Sophie Wozniak is our incredible Administrative Assistant and co-leader of our High School program! She began volunteering at Ciudad Nueva in 2019 as she completed her Border Fellow program. In Northern Virginia, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and wrote her thesis on border security and U.S./Mexico collaboration. She worked at summer camps and enjoyed her work with children. She was drawn to El Paso through the Border Fellows program, having studied Latin America and Hispanic cultures in college as well. Having now lived in El Paso for almost two years, Sophie appreciates the strength and community of this unique city. She is currently a graduate student at UTEP.
Sophie’s experience with children as well as her fascination with the El Paso community led her to Ciudad Nueva. She began her work as our administrative assistant, helping in strategic planning and the behind-the-scenes organization to help keep our office running. She said, “The best part has been getting to know the admin team. Working under Lexi has been such a privilege. It’s such a great squad of women back here.” As her professional development progressed, she became a part of our Ciudad Nueva family.
When applying for the Border Fellows program, Sophie was hesitant to work with high school students. Seeing her leadership potential with this age group, the program actually placed her in our high school program! Her hesitation to work with students this age melted away as she got to know the young adults of our community. She shared that before the pandemic, the weekly ritual of picking up the kids and seeing them share fellowship together filled her up. She cherished the experience of “talking to the kids at this really unique time in their lives and getting to walk through it with them.”
As the coronavirus situation advanced and the students switched to virtual fellowship, they awed Sophie by their steadfastness. She shared that through the distance the kids have endured, and they’ve continued to have each other’s backs. Across various grades and age differences, the kids encouraged each other and interacted on social media. Sophie reflected that, “Ciudad Nueva fosters a family environment and a safe space for the kids. They all become friends.”
Empowering youth has been a central part of Sohpie’s work here at Ciudad Nueva, but she shared that the community itself has been a source of learning for her. She commented that, “Ciudad Nueva has a commitment to build on the strengths of the community. Those strengths were already here before us. It is such an honor to be here and watch our neighbors better our community and love each other.” She described the ministry as “serving alongside the community.”
She said that as she drove home from work, she witnessed members of our co-op delivering meals to their neighbors. The community members’ overflowing participation surprised Sophie, and drove her to love like they do. She said that Ciudad Nueva could simply get college students to do the work, but instead, they function like a real community and make a difference, one little change at a time.
“You see firsthand the intersection of generosity in the community and supplementing the needs. We are here becoming part of it. The perspective I’ve learned here has radically changed me.”
Sophie has become a part of our family and her work is making a real difference. El Paso is making a difference in her life, too.
“El Paso has gone from being their community to my community. Collaboration in one small neighborhood can go such a long way.”
Would you like to get involved in a community that loves and cares for one another? We would love to have you as part of ours. Call us today at 915-521-2951 or contact us online.