The Corporation for National and Community Service
(CNCS) recently renewed and expanded its volunteer aid to the
residents of the
impoverished Texas communities near the Texas-Mexico border known
as colonias. For the tenth year, CNCS will provide volunteers,
through its AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)
program, to assist the Texas’ Colonias Program, which is
managed by the Center for Housing and Urban Development (CHUD)
at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture.
The basic aim of the Colonias Program is to place colonia residents
on the road to self-sufficiency and prosperity. The AmeriCorps*VISTA
volunteers will participate in CHUD’s promotoras program,
which trains colonia residents to provide advice to their neighbors
about social services, employment and healthcare resources. The
CMCS commitment will provide the Colonias Program with 35 AmeriCorps*VISTA
volunteers plus eight “degreed” AmeriCorps*VISTA
The volunteers will work with CHUD and area promotoras in the
lower, central and western Rio Grande regions to implement projects
for small business development; emergency preparedness training;
volunteerism; and home remodeling, weatherization and construction.
The volunteers help colonia residents access state health care
resources and develop community ambassador programs. They also
assist the Colonias Program with developing academic curriculums
and implementing research.