OPI works to build programs and services
to help youth in need.
More than 800 Ciudad Juárez youth have participated in out-of-school programming offered by Organización Popular Independiente (OPI) over the past three years, and now the Ciudad Juárez-based organization is looking to engage even more kids with support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.
The Health Foundation, under its IGNITE Initiative, is providing funding and data to help OPI improve its programming and determine where to focus its growth. IGNITE works to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth across the border region with high-quality programs during out-of-school hours.
“OPI provides training on specific subjects to all of our program staff, like how to engage children and youth and how to prevent violence among young people, with an emphasis on human and children’s rights,” says Daniela Almada of OPI.
Last year, the IGNITE team mapped the locations of out-of-school programs available across the Ciudad Juárez region and found a big need to engage disconnected youth in the core of Ciudad Juárez and neighborhoods in the west.
OPI, with its history of providing quality out-of-school programming at eight locations in west Ciudad Juárez, was awarded funding to provide out-of-school activities to 400 youth through 738 hours of cultural activities, 984 hours of artistic, musical and recreational activities, and 2,025 hours of sports activities. Almada said soccer, and sports in general, is one of the most popular and effective activities that OPI facilitates to connect and communicate with youth in Ciudad Juárez.
As it increases youth participation, OPI is also focused on building greater sustainability for its programs. “We’re hoping to make an impact on public policy and making a case that out-of-school programs should become a governmental responsibility,” said Almada.