After 15 long years, Proyecto Juan Diego celebrated a significant milestone Thursday morning in a dusty lot in Cameron Park.
A long-awaited, two- story community center designed with the goal of serving Cameron Park and Brownsville will become a reality in nine to 12 months in one of the city’s poorest areas to bring social services to the doorsteps of those in need.
Brownsville Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Mario Alberto Avilés said the community center will serve the people of God.
“The work that the sis- ters do here is very important, because they are helping the poorest of the poor overcome the difficulties in their lives,” Avilés said, before opening the ground- breaking ceremony with a prayer, asking for wisdom and help as the project moves forward.
The new community center has long been a necessity for Proyecto Juan Diego, which has made a positive impact in Cameron Park and in surrounding communities, resulting in growth and demand for the organization’s services.
Proyecto Juan Diego’s building limits its capacity to reach and serve under-served families, and the new building will allow for growth without the need for future relocation or expansion. Also, it will help the organization reach and serve large populations.
The two-story building will be nearly 19,000 square feet, hold 22 offices, 19 cubicles, seven classrooms and will have 77 parking spaces.
“There is no building more special than this one,” said Rene Capistran of Noble Texas Builders, the contractor for the community center.
Sister Phyllis Peters said health care at the space will be a priority, including Proyecto Juan Diego’s diabetic programs and its diabetic prevention program, and also will utilize teleconferencing for health care services that will allow the organization’s health care partners to serve clients remotely.
Additionally, the community center will continue Proyecto Juan Diego’s civic engagement programs, particularly helping people with citizenship. So far, the nonprofit has taken 700 applications, and 298 people have received citizen- ship through the program.
And, there will be computers available to the Cameron Park community and the public.
“We would really like to become a Hispanic resource center,” she said.
However, the work on raising the funds toward the community center’s completion is not yet over.
Peters said, thus far, there is $2.7 million toward the project, which includes grants from the Legacy Foundation and Mission and Ministry. Proyecto Juan Diego needs to raise a total of $5 million, including the $2.7 million in funds it has already secured.
Proyecto Juan Diego is still looking to raise the rest of the funds, she said, calling donations an investment that will have a long-lasting duration in Cameron Park and the City of Brownsville.
By Mark Reagan, Staff Writer
Source: The Brownsville Herald