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The mission of the Colonias Development Council is to improve the quality of life in the colonia-designated communities of southern New Mexico. The Colonias Development Council works under the following three assumptions:
- That people are acutely aware of their needs and resources;
- That given the opportunity, people can take positive actions to change conditions in their lives;
- That by building communities through mutual support, people can become empowered to overcome obstacles in their environment which before may have appeared insurmountable.
The Colonias Development Council recognizes that the life of a community depends on the resources and talents of its residents. Through non-partisan political education, the promotion of health and well-being, and the fostering of unity and harmony, the Colonias Development Council works to build community organizations, develop the infrastructure of the colonias and promote community economic development.
The Doa Ana County Colonias Development Council (CDC) is a council of grassroots community organizations. The Colonias Development Council organizes in 10 colonia communities in the Las Cruces area. CDC uses community organizing, leadership development, and advocacy to help colonia residents find solutions to issues in their communities. The Colonias Development Council started in the early 1990s as a project of the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, but is now an independent non-profit organization serving two counties in southern New Mexico. Approximately 100 community leaders are involved in community organizing and development efforts. The Colonias Development Council employs approximately 15 staff, in community organizing, economic development, advocacy, and child development.
Recently, CDC has developed a citizenship program which provides legal aid, as well as, education classes. This program provides eligible immigrants with the legal and language assistance they need in order to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Qualified staff assist clients with legal services to accurately prepare the applications needed to apply for citizenship. Simultaneously, education staff prepare clients with the language, historical and civic knowledge needed to pass the naturalization interview process.
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