In 2014, From Gangs to Jobs joined arms with the Town of Guadalupe on a number of things, one of them being we now offer our job skills development and placement program from within the Mercado (a central plaza in Guadalupe). A lot of great things are happening and the community has really embraced us as we look to love and serve the people of Guadalupe as our neighbors and friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Guadalupe, Guadalupe is a small town nestled between Phoenix and Tempe between Elliot and Baseline Road. According to the 2010 census, Guadalupe had a population of around 5500 and was founded in 1907 by the Yaqui Indians who fled Sonora after facing oppression from the Mexican government in their homeland (http://bit.ly/1zHjhbD).

On October 11, 2014, From Gangs to Jobs participated in the Guadalupe 2014 Unity Peace Walk. The primary purpose of the walk was to band together as a community to stand against violence of any kind and to promote peace. With a large group of individuals from the Guadalupe community and the communities surrounding Guadalupe, we trekked through the streets of Guadalupe with signs and symbols of peace. The walk ended at the Mercado where Natividad emceed the conclusion of the event which included a procession of various talks and acts which spoke of the incredible pain and disruption caused by domestic and random violence.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about domestic and random violence, it’s most often through the news. Another horrific event has occurred and all I can do is hurt for the person on the other end of the story from afar and utter a prayer “God help them, heal them”. Here I could see the effects of violence on a community up close and personal. I saw a community hungry for change, hungry for peace. It was clear to me that the community of Guadalupe sees Natividad as a strong leader, an intercessor, and a symbol of hope and change. They see him as a testament to the fact that it is never too late to turn life around by God’s grace and work for the good of those around you.

As we end 2014, the future looks bright for the town of Guadalupe and many exciting things are still to come as we continue to invest our time and resources as an organization to working for change within. Will you consider standing with us to love and serve the town of Guadalupe and the broader city of Phoenix where we do most of our ministry? There are several ways to get involved either through volunteering time, financial donations, prayer and helping us tell our story by sharing From Gangs to Jobs with others. Click on the “Contribute” tab at the top of the page for information on how to donate time or resources.