The mission of Project Vida is to identify the comprehensive vision of the community for its future and to develop community-based structures and programs to implement that vision in light of the needs and direction of the wider society.
Project Vida began in 1991 in a small adobe home in the Chamizal neighborhood of central El Paso. We wanted to know what people in the neighborhood felt they needed to help them improve their lives, and Community Congresses were held to help determine those needs. A Community Congress is a citizen-driven event where participants determine what they need as a community and how they believe that can be achieved. From those events, it was determined that the community wanted to address education; healthcare; affordable housing; gang prevention; homelessness; and later, the needs of small business owners. Since those early days, Project Vida has addressed all of these issues by building affordable low-income rental housing; building clinics and providing high quality, low cost healthcare; creating a homelessness prevention and recovery program; developing a best practice, curriculum-based early childhood education program; offering dynamic after-school enrichment; and providing microenterprise technical assistance and support.
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