The El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center partners with The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP) once again this year to celebration National Pride Day – a day of giving back to the community – by making improvements to the Kennedy Community parking lot, one of HACEP’s largest communities located in the Mission Valley.
“For the last ten years, we have built a strong partnership with the El Paso County Juvenile Justice Center that has led to many opportunities of improving our communities throughout El Paso, involving the Justice Center’s youth in proactive civic engagement, and pumping a sense of pride into our communities that will actively engage our residents,” shares HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon.
The Juvenile Justice Center is part of the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department who work with youth (14 to 17 years old) to participate in the Community Service Program as a means to receive physical, emotional and educational needs in safe and structured environments.
The Kennedy Community, located at 400 South Zaragoza in the El Paso’s Mission Valley, is one of HACEP’s largest communities with 364 residential units, a gymnasium, and daycare center, plus a 200-space parking lot that serves the Community Center.
Together, the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and HACEP’s Resident Council (a community-resident association) brought 20 youth from the JJC and a group of residents from the Kennedy Community to completely restripe the 200-space parking lot for the Kennedy Community Center that translated into a cost savings for the agency of about $3,500.
Savings in maintenance costs for any property in the HACEP portfolio improve the agency’s ability to host special events and educational opportunities to further enrich the lives of residents and their children.
The impact it has on the lives of the volunteers, according to Joel Olivas, Community Service Juvenile Supervising Officer, is priceless in that it gives each of the youth an opportunity to directly serve their community and see the product that they were directly involved with.
“These community service projects are extremely important as they allow our youth to see the positive impact they can have in their very own neighborhood,” states Joel Olivas. “And when our youth play a role in improving their neighborhood, the more likely they are going to continue to take care of it while recognizing the world around them.”
The partnership between the JJC and HACEP has led to the restriping of parking lots at several other HACEP communities throughout El Paso, the neighborhood cleaning initiative in the historic Chamizal Neighborhood near North Tays Community, and the construction of keyhole gardens at the Paisano Green Community, an elderly and disabled living community, in south-central El Paso (keyhole gardens are raised-bed gardens ideal for elderly and disabled).
National Pride Day is a day of giving back to your community in the form of community service that targets a need, and through volunteer service people work together to serve that need.