Build a Miracle
Build A Miracle began officially in Tijuana in 1999 with a mission to build one house a year for families in need living in one of the most under-served communities. In the nearly 20 years since, Build A Miracle has grown into something beyond what we could have imagined.
By combining home building, education, and promoting volunteerism among those served, Build a Miracle works to transform entire communities.
Build a Miracle takes a two-fold approach:
- Building homes for impoverished families (378 by year end 2019). BAM homes are built to last for generations and are built with concrete pads, insulation, drywall, stucco, indoor kitchen, bathroom and shower and either two or three bedrooms. Build a Miracle provides homes and educational opportunity for hundreds of families in Tijuana’s impoverished communities. Families that receive homes are expected to do 500 hours of community service, and most stay involved, helping build homes for others and participating in other BAM programs indefinitely.
- Education is the way out of poverty; Build a Miracle is always seeking ways to break the cycle of poverty through scholarships, tutoring and vocational programs. The Build a Miracle Community Center in El Florido, began in 2008 serving FREE OF CHARGE about 20 kids a week. In 2019, the Build a Miracle Community Center now serves nearly 2000 people (and continues to grow!) per week offering an accredited Adult Education program; academic subjects such as Math, Spanish, and computers; vocational training in sewing, baking and hairstyling; tutoring; a PC lab; parenting classes and family workshops; music; soccer teams; counseling and various other workshops, clubs and activities. There is a sport court where hundred of kids and adults receive physical education classes and instruction in soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Build a Miracle provides scholarships to High School and College students who would otherwise not be able to afford school. Scholarship recipients in turn teach at the Community Centers, as such each scholarship supports the educational aspirations of dozens of people.
About the Build A Miracle Community
One of the most truly beautiful aspects of Build A Miracle is the community that it has fostered, and the hope that has bloomed out of the connections formed. Karla, who lived in the 52nd house built and is now an accountant, said it best when she said, "Before you came to our neighborhood, we were just a dusty forgotten corner of the world. Nobody knew each other, but now we all know and care for one another. We have hope.” While that hope comes partially from the homes that are built, it comes just as much from the Community Center which is open to all families in the community.
Although the Community Center was not the initial focus of Build A Miracle, it grew organically from the community of families who received homes. It started as a small building attached to the backyard of one of the first houses ever built by BAM. Hosting just a few classes, a sewing program, and a small breakfast and lunch program. However it was quickly established as a core aspect to Build A Miracle, stemming from the need that we all have: to have a safe, secure place to learn and grow with one another. The hunger for a space like this was taken up by our leaders, themselves living in the community, by starting and organizing volunteer programs, classes, scholarships, etc….until they eventually outgrew the small building and had at that point even expanded into the neighboring house, with classes even being held in the courtyard connecting the two buildings.
It was clear that there was a need, and so we formed a plan for a full fledged Community Center. After years of planning and building, we opened up the current Community Center: a 3- story, 16,000 square foot building with classrooms, daycare center, game room and adjoining sport court. While the Community Center at its foundation, is a place for learning/educational opportunities, it is also a place for children and adults to gather together for activities of all kinds including a Robotics Club, Dance (Traditional and Ballet), Music (Guitar, Piano and other instruments, Chess, Self-defense and so many others. The sport court hosts pick up ball games in-between scheduled playing times. Right next to sport court is a vacant dirt patch, that would make the perfect spot for a bustling playground for the children of the community.
Our vision for the playground is to for it to be an extension of the community spaces - particularly the indoor game room and outdoor sport court. The current structured activities are marvelous addition to the educational needs of both younger and older kids. However, there is still a great need for open activities for the younger kids and their families to gather in a safe, outdoor environment with real play structures. An outdoor space where we plan to have picnics, celebrations and other planned activities, as well as just a place to run around and play.
We truly feel that the Build A Miracle/ El Florido is perfectly positioned to receive the gift of a beautiful playground. The current community at the Center are those living in and around the El Florido neighborhood, one of the most underserved communities in Tijuana. Currently, there are nearly 2,000 kids, adults, students and volunteers who all gather each week in the Community Center.