Success Story –Socorro/ Montana Vista

Jose Rayas – Valley Ridge Ministries

According to the latest statistics, there are approximately 30 million deaf people in the United States. But what is disturbing is that only a small percentage of them attend church. In fact, the number of churches serving the deaf has been decreasing.

So, what can a community do? In East El Paso, Valley Ridge proposed to do something about it: to conduct sign classes in order to have the hearing and the deaf to have a way to communicate. To this end, Valley Ridge has teamed up with Ms. Tiffany, who teaches American Sign Language, and interprets for the court.

As these classes progressed in Socorro, the community of Montana Vista has also answered to the call, and has teamed up with the Spanish Baptist Church in Montana Vista, which has provided a place for Ms. Tiffany to teach a second American Sign Language Class.

Given the fact that El Paso has close to 1 million inhabitants, it is of great importance to continue these classes since there are only two deaf churches in El Paso County.

When Is It a Good Thing to Cancel a Class?

Jose Rayas – Valley Ridge Ministries

Over the years we have been here in Socorro/Montana Vista, we have seen programs cancelled due to low or decreasing enrollment. In part one has to admit that interest and benefits may be no longer suitable for the maturity level of the community. So when is it a good thing to cancel a class?

At Valley Ridge we have been holding ESL classes at the church since early September of last year. And we at the beginning had a group of approximately 20 students. At the end of March, the students themselves were talking about cancelling the class. But it was a good thing. Since the class started, 8 students secured gainful employment, and 4 started studying at the local community college in the spring semester. This leaves us with 8 students, all of whom have the desire to continue, but are also considering further studies, whether it be obtaining a GED, or attending Community College.

Of those who have exited the program, one stands out because of his vision to give back to the community.

Alejandro began the ESL class over a year ago. He was depressed, couldn’t get a job and in general, felt useless. He was encouraged to see God’s wisdom in bringing him to class and making good use of his time. First, he found a part time job at a temporary agency. Upon learning about his abilities, we worked with him to sharpen his skills.

At the present time, Alejandro has been working full time. And in addition to this, he has been giving volunteer time (5 hours per week) as a tutor at San Jacinto Community Center.

But the story does not stop there. Alejandro has made a conscious effort to be an example to the community of what can be accomplished when several people and programs can work together. We hope to see those he tutors as future tutors and leaders in the community.

Socorro Texas, Developing Christian Community

Socorro Texas: Developing Christian Community from CFA Videos on Vimeo.

People in Socorro Texas share how they have started to build a Christian Community.
Posted: May 5, 2008 DOWNLOAD QUICKTIME
Community Organizing

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