Community. When I think of the word community, images of people helping other people come to mind. A community where neighbors help others, a place where if there is a need the community steps in to help find solutions in order for the community to grow. I previously wrote about my volunteer work with the migrant crisis at the US/Mexican border. Upon my return, I started to think about my life purpose and how I could help in my community.
At the time, I was working on organizing citizenship classes that would be offered throughout the county. However, after calling community groups, churches and the public library, not one would commit to loan space for the classes. I felt disappointed and frustrated. One cold, rainy day in early February, on my way to work, I noticed a group of day laborers huddled by a gas station, waiting for work. For weeks I saw them standing there, rain or shine. An it hit me, the need for a community center where day laborers can gather to wait for work in a safe space. The idea for the Esperanza Community Center was born.
Meaning of the Name
I decided on the name, Esperanza Community Center, as Esperanza means hope in Spanish. Community because it will be a place where the community can come together and work towards a common goal; hope in community. Hope in a future that we can build together.
The Benefits of Esperanza Community Center
Esperanza Community Center will be a center that for all community members; with a focus on day laborers and their families. The center will offer:
- Day labor center
- Adult literacy classes
- English language classes
- Citizenship classes
- Financial literacy workshops
- Know your rights workshops
- Youth mentoring and tutoring
- Legal assistance and referral services
- Health and wellness workshops and classes for parents
- The center will be a safe and welcoming place for all in the community
The Search for a Center Location
I have started to look for a building to lease, and hope to find our new home soon. Although I have faced some challenges, I will not give up. I am encouraged by the support that Esperanza Community Center has received from local leaders and citizens. I look forward to the day when we open our doors to welcome the community to their new center.
Leap of Faith
I remember the day I left to volunteer at the border, I knew I was taking a trip that would change my life. I had hope, faith, and a desire to help others. My life has been enriched in countless ways since then; it is true that when we follow our dreams we find our purpose and destiny.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments about Esperanza Community Center, please leave them in the comments section below.