Without really realizing it, Doxa has been unofficially engaging in community development for many years. House building has organically transformed entire communities and continues to serve as a turning point for many families.
At Doxa, we like to say that house building is really just an ‘excuse’ to get to know a family. Then, enrollment in Doxa’s education program is an ‘excuse’ to continue the relationship through regular touch-points, such as the after-school program. Finally, Doxa’s community center programs are an ‘excuse’ to intentionally journey and grow with each family over the long-run. It’s a beautiful progression that flows naturally. Wherever families join us, there is a space for them.
Doxa’s community center includes summer camp, parenting classes, dance groups, exercise classes, art seminars, music classes, community events, and various types of counseling sessions. We have established ways for meeting new people, places for gathering together, and more officially recognized our role in community development that leads to family growth. Doxa functions as a pipeline to deliver impactful programing and resources for Tijuana families. Over the years, we’ve come to realize one of our core strengths is people gathering.
However, it’s not just that Doxa facilitates these various community offerings. It’s more about how Doxa does it. In our case, the how matters just as much as the fact that the programs exist. Doxa puts relationships first, understanding that we are all flawed yet, part of a larger family that journeys along. We know that investment in families means prioritizing time, empathy, understanding, and love above all else. Extending unconditional grace as Jesus has done unto us, creates a safe place where people can lay down their burdens.
We asked a couple families to share their experiences with Doxa:
Vianey Guadalupe has been involved at Doxa for about 2 years and is currently in 9th grade. Her mother, Vianey Karina, sees “mutual respect, coexistence, friendship, love, and presence” as Doxa’s strengths. She says that “it isn’t so much the economic support, but the personal investment of time and opening of community that has made a difference. With my older son, he didn’t have this same support and I really struggled with him. With Vianey, Doxa came to help with education and her growth as a person.”
It isn’t so much the economic support, but the personal investment of time and opening of community that has made a difference… Doxa came to help with education and her growth as a person.Vianey Karina, parent
Haziel has also been coming to Doxa for about 2 years and is currently in 7th grade. His mother, Rubi, says Doxa’s values include “respect, tolerance, peace, humility, and patience. All things that Ely and Sabino show on a daily basis.” Haziel agrees that “the best quality of Doxa are the teachers, they have a lot of patience with us and help us to succeed. We end up surprising ourselves because we can do things that we thought we could not.”
Doxa has, furthermore, been a catalyst for family growth, particularly in Vianey Karina’s mother-daughter relationship. She shares that “as a mom, I’ve seen Vianey improve in school, she’s now an [A/A-] student. Regarding her as a person, she has changed a lot. I think we are now in our best chapter of mother-daughter relationship that we have had. Especially when it comes to communication. We have a closeness that we lacked during her elementary school days. I love that she has a peer community in Doxa and they come over to the house to hang out. That they grow-up together. We have both grown, along with my husband.” Vianey Guadalupe echoes some of the same ideas, saying “Before Doxa, I didn’t have as much trust in my parents. Now, I tell them more details and even ask for their advice. I have liked the togetherness and community at Doxa. I’ve made a lot of friends. Before, I wasn’t a very social person. And I consider Doxa my second home. I feel very comfortable here and I like to come as often as I am able.”
Rubi, who is Haziel’s mother, reflects on how involvement in Doxa’s activities has impacted her son’s life. She says that her “experience with Doxa has been excellent. Haziel has higher grades and has matured a lot. There are lots of activities in Doxa; guitar, music, and dance group involvement have resulted in Haziel being more cheerful and open. I’ve loved to see his growth and motivation to stick with these activities. Overall, the advances in school have been noticed by the teachers.” Rubi continues on to say that she is “very proud of my son, seeing him excel in the various activities. At his last dance performance, watching him perform; I said to myself, I’m a very privileged mom to have Doxa in my son’s life.”
When talking with Vianey Karina, who is Vianey Guadalupe’s mother, it’s clear she values Doxa’s staff. She says “I have full trust in Doxa, because of Ely and Sabino. As a mom, you observe day in and day out the responsibility that they have for our kids and how seriously they take it. These people deserve my trust.” She goes on to share that “Doxa helps with the growth of our children. Every day we hope our kids will get a little bit better and Doxa plays an active role in that process, cultivating values and the foundations needed.” Surrounding families with the right people and role models makes a difference. For this reason, Doxa invests in its staff for the long-term, to have permanence in others’ lives.
Every day we hope our kids will get a little bit better and Doxa plays an active role in that process, cultivating values and the foundations needed.Vianey Karina, parent
Rubi says that she also trusts in Doxa “because it’s a community of people I know and have provided me the help that I needed as a single mother.” She continues on that “Doxa represents a gigantic help for kids, that learn, that have fun, that interact with each other in a safe, respectful place. Besides all the activities, Doxa provides things for parents, such as the exercise classes in the mornings and community events.” Rubi wants to “thank everyone who’s behind Doxa, without it we wouldn’t be who we are today. And Doxa’s kids are who they are because of you, and giving with a loving heart.”
Finally, when closing out our time together, Rubi smiles and says with a laugh that “sometimes I have to discipline Haziel, and his punishment is not coming to Doxa. It always works.”