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Friday , November 16 2018
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Tag Archives: project amistad

EPWater, Project Amistad, City of El Paso Partner for ‘AguaCares’

Leaders from El Paso Water, Project Amistad and the City of El Paso gathered Thursday to announce a new customer assistance program called AguaCares.

The program officially launches January 2 and will focus on helping elderly, low-income customers who struggle to pay their water and wastewater bills.

Many customers are struggling to meet basic needs. Every month, EPWater is forced to disconnect thousands of customers for non-payment. In 2017, more than 15,000 customers were disconnected at least once; more than 5,000 customers were disconnected more than once; and more than 500 were disconnected four or more times.

EPWater partnered with Project Amistad to formalize the AguaCares program, which will help keep services on for customers who qualify.

“We strive to provide reliable, high-quality water services to all El Pasoans,” CEO and President John Balliew said. “The AguaCares program will be a valuable tool we can deploy to help our customers in need.”

The El Paso City Council on Tuesday approved action to contribute seed money in the amount of $50,000 to help launch the program.

“The seed money is part of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with El Paso Water, which supports some of our most vulnerable members of our population to maintain a basic need,” Mayor Dee Margo said. “This is a wonderful partnership, and I encourage the community to support this much-needed program.”

Under a contract agreement between EPWater and Project Amistad, EPWater will refer customers in need to Project Amistad. The agency will determine qualification and offer services to include money management counseling, conservation support, payment plan arrangements and emergency payment assistance.

“Here at Amistad, we want to help EPWater customers who are underserved and are on the verge of being disconnected from water services,“ said Andrea Ramirez, Project Amistad Chief Operating Officer of Social Services. “We are asking the community to assist us by donating and raising funds to maintain support for AguaCares.”

Currently, the program is in a developmental stage and is in critical need of donations. Officials are asking El Pasoans to remember Project Amistad on El Paso Giving Day – November 15. Donations to Project Amistad will be directed toward the AguaCares program.

“Our region’s only community-wide day of charitable giving is held annually on November 15, and donations as small as $10 are accepted,” said Paso del Norte Foundation Director of Development Anna Aleman. “Since its inception in 2016, El Paso Giving Day has raised more than $300,000 for 165 non-profit organizations in our city.”

Additional fundraisers will be held in the coming months to continue to build up the program.

To donate to AguaCares on El Paso Giving Day (November 15), follow this link. To give year-round, click here. For more information on the program, visit the AguaCares website.

Project Amistad Awarded Grant, Provides Training for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

El Paso’s own Project Amistad has been awarded a grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities for a peer support specialist program in the greater El Paso community.

“The goal of our program is to expand access for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to information, training, and support, so that they can advocate for themselves and/or collaborate with allies to impact public policy, help improve service systems, and serve as community supports,” says Andrea Ramirez, Amistad’s chief operating officer of Social Service Programs.

The purpose of the program is to provide training for people with developmental disabilities so that they can serve as peer support specialists. Once trained, they then help other people with developmental disabilities, many of whom often live in institutions, enabling them to exercise more control over their own lives.

Amistad trains peer support specialists so that they can help people who have developmental disabilities and who live in institutions such as nursing homes or state-supported living centers, as well as those that live in intermediate care facilities.

The goal is to help these residents become active participants in the decision-making processes that directly affect them.

According to Amistad, many El Pasoans with developmental disabilities who reside in institutions are not fully aware of their rights. Therefore, they often do not participate in making decisions about their own futures, nor do they know about the options that exist that would allow them to be a more active member of their community.

Participants in the program gain more control over their lives, and are able to:

  • Build skills to participate in their own person-centered planning
  • Explore what opportunities exist for them
  • Identify possible barriers
  • Use information provided to make decisions.

The program’s peer support specialists must be 18 years old or greater, live in the El Paso area, and be able to demonstrate the ability to advocate and effectively facilitate change for others.

Project Amistad Awarded Grant to Address Mental Health of Area Veterans

El Paso’s own Project Amistad has been awarded a veterans’ mental health grant from the Texas Veterans Commission to support programs that address the mental health needs of the area’s former soldiers and their families.

“The intent of our program is to support these clients by using cognitive behavioral therapy with an emphasis on anger management, suicide prevention, assertiveness, and interpersonal skills training,” says Kenneth Ward, veterans’ counselor for Amistad.

The program provides direct services to military veterans and their families including clinical counseling, peer-delivered services, and non-clinical support services.

The grant will support the Amistad for Veterans Project. Established in 2013, the project provides counseling for veterans and their beneficiaries who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury.

The counseling program, with wrap-around services, empowers veterans and their families to regain control of their own lives despite the disruptions incurred in combat. Counseling services are provided by licensed professionals with military backgrounds and expertise in providing professional counseling services to veterans and their families.

Established in 1976, Project Amistad is a not-for-profit agency established to provide services to elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and persons at risk.

Amistad’s programs have served tens of thousands of persons throughout West Texas, helping to fulfill their mission to advocate, connect and deliver social services to communities, ensuring a dignified and meaningful life for all.