Purpose of Grant
For developing community leaders to advocate for colonia infrastructure investment.
Founded in 1992, Adults and Youth United Development Association (AYUDA) is a grassroots community organization that advocates for environmental protection measures and access to basic public services for low-income families and residents in El Paso County’s valley region. AYUDA prioritizes colonia communities east of El Paso, Texas, specifically the unincorporated subdivisions – located within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border – surrounding the rural town of San Elizario.
The colonias in which AYUDA works have an estimated 12,000 low-income residents with a per capita income of $10,378. AYUDA’s staff is made up of women from the community, which enables the organization to be knowledgeable about the community’s needs and gives it credibility from the perspective of colonia residents. For example, in response to the increase in unemployment that accompanied the 2009 economic downturn (the region’s unemployment rate is estimated at 17 percent), AYUDA quickly developed programs to help families gain access to new jobs and learn computer skills to improve their employability.
As a bilingual grassroots community group, AYUDA advocates for quality health care, better housing, improved environmental protection standards, and education & leadership training for low-income families and residents in El Paso County’s valley region. In addition to community organizing, AYUDA provides critical programs that improve health, education, employment opportunities and housing for its constituents.