The YMCA of Mexico has hosted a Casa for migrant youth in Juarez since 1995, providing a safe and healthy shelter where migrant children receive food, clothing and access to telecommunications, and then reunite them with their families. In 2011 a new Casa Canada building was opened with the support of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs across the prairies, and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph - a true partnership effort!
Juarez is a city of 1.5 million people, located about mid-continent, on the banks of the Rio Grande, the border between Mexico and the United States. There are also YMCA Casas in Tijuana, Piedras Negras, and Agua Prieta.
Casa Canada has played an important role in the community, assisting migrant youth, providing space for conferences, delivering adult education, providing recreational painting programs, programming for the elderly, hosting festivals and, that YMCA staple, summer camps.
Conferences have focused on Family workshops, youth participation in the community, prevention and identification of addictions, and Human & Children Rights training. Ciudad Juarez has been the site of a high level of drug cartel violence in recent years, and the community is in need of support to rebuild and restore confidence and trust.
On weekends the Casa delivers a 4 month secondary school diploma to adults, in conjunction with the Chihuahuan Institute of Adult Education. The Art School of Ciudad Juarez has provided volunteer-led Art programs for youth, an opportunity that is not readily available in local area.
The Casa has hosted Children’s Day and mother’s Day festivals, to engage and build trust in the community, and provides those very popular indoor summer camp opportunities for youth.
While political and economic changes have reduced the number of migrant youth, the Casa continues to provide community building and enrichment services, benefitting hundreds of youth, adults and seniors, who live and come to Ciudad Juarez.
Read more about the Casa programs on the YMCA of Mexico's website.
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Post submitted by Don Fraser,
Member - International Working Group