Tucked between a laundromat and a bakery in Northeast El Paso, the Lower Dyer Community Center buzzes with activity. School-aged kids come in to socialize and do homework, in another section; adults sit in cubicles receiving free tax assistance. Colorful paintings line the walls. It’s a lively, welcoming place.
In the middle of it all is Center Director, Adam Gurrola, whose quiet enthusiasm frequently spills over into laughter as he shows us around. Adam started the Lower Dyer Community Center 8 years ago, bringing neighborhood kids a car trunk full of sporting equipment to a nearby park in the afternoons. Those humble beginnings have become the happy, humming community center we’re touring today.
The Lower Dyer Community Center provides a wealth of services to the neighborhood, including free financial education seminars, ESL classes, free tax assistance, study groups, afterschool activities and youth football teams. This outpouring of service is evident, as we see people of all ages at the center, some of whom volunteer their time.
“We do a lot for our community, and our volunteers help us so much; we can always count on them.” says Adam, as he shows us the food pantry. Local high schools hold canned food drives for the center’s emergency food assistance program twice a year. Adam himself is a graduate of Chapin High, and points to brightly painted self-portraits of Center regulars who have recently graduated from nearby high schools. They’re kids who grew up with the Community Center as a big part of their lives. Looking around, it’s easy to see the positive impact the Lower Dyer Community Center has on the community members in the area.
Just like the good things it does, the Lower Dyer Community Center is a product of collaboration and people helping people. Adam works for HOAP, a non-profit formed by local credit unions to help provide empowering education and financial services for local families. GECU Community Development is a part of the coalition that helps keep the Lower Dyer Community Center running.
“Our mission at GECU Community Development is to elevate the community with education and service. The Lower Dyer Community Center is a good example of the ‘people helping people’ philosophy GECU is built on” says Ruby Alvarez, Manager of GECU Community Development, “When people work together, we can accomplish great things.”
If you’d like to help the Lower Dyer Community Center, they accept donations of canned goods year round. To learn more about the center and the services it provides, you can contact Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your efforts will be appreciated and have a measurable impact on the lives of people right here in our community.