15 Sep Growing
What would a community look like if it was built on the foundation of service to one another? That was the mindset behind Tierra Vida, a community birthed out of this vision. Since its creation almost 10 years ago, the development has grown into a flourishing community. Many of it’s first children are now young adults and high school students. A large percentage of kids in east Pasco are ones who have been marginalized, or fall under the poverty line. However, those that have grown up within Tierra Vida have had the unique opportunity to have people speaking love, respect, and service into their lives at home. One of these Students is Jose Claro.
Jose is a 17 year old student at Chiawana High School, and had moved into the community when he was in 5th grade. This was at a time when the community was still developing, and yet his family saw the potential of the dream that was Tierra Vida. Their longtime family friend had already built a house in the community, causing his family’s curiosity to spike. With an approval from habitat from humanity and a short time later, they had their dream home.
Since moving in, Jose (nicknamed Paco) and his 7 siblings quickly felt a sense of community he had never experienced. “I used to come here and play all the time when I was little.” Said Jose. “It felt totally different when I moved here. We used to come and hang at the collegium all the time. I loved it here.” (The Collegium is the name of the building that the Community and housing management company called CASA resides, as well as the center for sharing and the Collegium Café.) Through many resilient relationships he obtained over the years, Paco began to realize how much of a positive impact we as humans can make on one another, regardless of age.
At the age of 11, he began to get more involved within the community, starting with helping in the community center. Little projects around the community was a good start, but he knew he could do more. When the tragedy hit Haiti, Jose and several other boys in the community rallied together and collectively raised over 1,000 dollars. They did this simply by going around the neighborhoods and asking people to help make a difference. This 1,000 dollars was then matched by Broetje orchards, which concluded with a grand total of 2,000 dollars towards Haiti relief. All from a couple of boys who were moved to compassion.
Jose’s involvement within the community grew, and he began to sense a level of value and importance in being there for people. He began to attend the youth leadership club started by the Center for sharing, where he remained involved despite some of his peers veering off.
Today, Jose works for the Collegium café in the Youth Work readiness program, and is a standout in his performance as a barista. He loves the community and loves the collegium. After watching the conditions and communities his friends where living in, he began to become aware of how much has been offered and sacrificed for him. “That makes me want to help keep this place nice. To me this is like another home you know? Like I live here. It’s my second home.”