At Ciudad Nueva, we are always pleased to hear from the students who’ve graduated from our programs. We are honored to hear that our programs have influenced the lives of these young people as they go on to make a difference in their communities. In an alumni testimony with Denisse, she shared how her experience at Ciudad Nueva changed the course of her goals and education.
What Brought You To Ciudad Nueva?
Denisse began attending our elementary school program, Launch Pad, when a family friend recommended it to her mom as a great resource for single moms who need assistance with childcare and advocacy. Denisse took part in the group specific to her age, and also got to spend quality time with her younger brother during certain activities and trips. She went on to participate in Kids Create, a program focused on creative arts, offered to children in the neighborhood. Though Denisse attended high school outside of our program area, she continued to visit our campus regularly. Even as a young adult, she felt drawn to the relationships and mission of Ciudad Nueva.
What Is Your Favorite Memory From Ciudad Nueva?
Denisse shared how the staff and volunteers went above and beyond to offer support, kindness, and guidance to the families involved. She remembered how, as a child, she especially loved the Launch Pad store and earning the “bucks” from participating in various activities. Christmas was made special by the generous gifts given to her and her family each year. Summer camp was a favorite memory of hers.
“Camp counselors were always super excited to see us,” Denisse said. “They came up with crafts for us to do. When I continued my education, I took on that role with youth students.”
Fond childhood memories developed into personal goals, as she felt compelled to continue the work she witnessed at Ciudad Nueva. Through her time at her university, Denisse gave back to the community by investing in the lives of even more young people.
How Did Ciudad Nueva’s Program Influence You?
The alumni testimony with Denisse also gave her a chance to reflect back on her experience from an adult perspective. She realized some things she had missed as a child, especially the ways that Ciudad Nueva invested in the community through services like:
- Direct, relational support of families and individuals.
- Community dinners that brought the neighborhood together.
- Teaching kids to support their neighbors through volunteering at the food pantry and park clean-up.
- Legal support to help people fill out passport applications and green cards.
“I wasn’t aware of how good of a program it was back then,” she said. “It was such a good thing for the whole community, especially the Hispanic community.”
Denisse took that spirit of community service with her into her young adulthood. She remembered how Sami, our director at the time, was a support system for her family. He helped her mother locate Denisse’s sister when she went missing, and continued to remain a steadfast support throughout their childhoods. Through what Denisse witnessed as a child, she learned the value of one-on-one support and the impact of youth mentorship. “Even if the kids don’t appreciate it at the time, we do as we grow up,” she said. “It’s greatly appreciated.”
Community leaders like Denisse drive us to continue our mission of community-serving-community. We are so proud of Denisse’s accomplishments and the way she is giving back to her local youth students.