BOOST Network Member Profile
Organización Popular Independiente (OPI) was formed in 1993, when a group of mothers in Ciudad Juarez organized together to demand a childcare center be built that would be free and accessible to families in their neighborhoods. 30 years later, we not only continue to provide free childcare to working families, but have grown to be one of the largest out-of-school time providers in Ciudad Juarez with 8 sites sprinkled throughout the city. Our Jovenes en Accion program provides after school services to 600 youth annually, ages 5 to 17, and enrolls 200 youth in our 3 week summer camps each year.
Youth who come to our programs receive a healthy meal; get connected to mentors whom we’ve vetted and serve as a positive influence in the lives of kids; participate in some type of physical activity be it dance, sports or acting; and receive academic support, including tutoring and homework assistance. We tell parents that while their kids are under our care; we will help them grow healthy, grow academically and grow emotionally because so much of the work we do with youth is to help them learn how to work with each other, how to express themselves, and how to be confident leaders.
Afterall, one of our mottos is that every young person that comes to our program will develop the skills, confidence and resilience they need to navigate whatever situation life throws at them. And in Ciudad Juarez, there are many obstacles that youth face; so we know our programs can literally change the trajectory of youth across our city.
As one of the four founding members of the BOOST Network, we know firsthand the value that this network provides to any organization that works with young people. While all the organizations that participate in the network might approach youth development differently, or bring a unique perspective to their programming, we all share a common goal of helping keep youth healthy, safe, and connected to opportunities that can help them succeed in life. Sharing what works for one organization, inspires others to try new things, rethink old models, and keep doing our best for the future of our region.
“The relationship element of BOOST is why any organization should join this network. So many of us think that we have to tackle all the problems that youth face alone, but stepping into this network reminds us that we are not alone, and energizes us to keep doing our work. I’ve learned so much from other experts, trainings, and conversations; and our program is stronger because of these offerings.” Dani Almada, Directora Operativa, Organización Popular Independiente.