RDF Welcomes Promise Arizona to Our Building

RDF Welcomes Promise Arizona to Our Building

RDF’s headquarters in the heart of South Phoenix is a home for the community! We fully intend our new building to be more than just a corporate office. In fact, we are excited to welcome Promise Arizona (PAZ), a UnidosUS affiliate nonprofit organization in South Phoenix that provides community education and advocacy, into our new home.

With shared values of creating better opportunities for our communities, PAZ and RDF have a longstanding history of collaboration.

“Our values are linked in terms of making sure that people have what they need so that they can be supported in their future and in their dreams,” says Petra Falcon, Executive Director of PAZ. “We like connecting the dots as I call them, connecting people to what will make their lives better.”

Petra Falcon and Christian Serrano, PAZ’s lead ESL instructor, hold a class in RDF’s new multipurpose room.

PAZ has moved in to enjoy a designated office area and will be able to take advantage of our innovative Zoom rooms to hold their adult education classes and provide resources to the community.

“The building is a statement. It’s a message that we’re sending to the community ‘This is your space, your home.’  Come in and we will help you, we will support you, we will guide you to where you need to be so that we can connect you to what you need in your life to be whole, to really live a sana (healthy) life,” says Petra Falcon, Executive Director of PAZ. “I want the community to feel very proud that RDF and PAZ are there to help them.”

Building Power In Our Community

Over 10 years ago, Petra gathered volunteers to educate people on their rights in wake of SB1070. It was a fight for civic engagement to make people aware of this legislation’s effects on a community as it passed to the Governor’s office. And it marked the beginnings of Promise Arizona.

“It was about building power in our community,” Petra says.

Today, that has become the mission of PAZ, a faith-based and volunteer-led organization. PAZ promotes diversity, opportunity and progress by connecting people to life-changing resources with community education and advocacy.

“We are getting our community engaged in a much deeper way so that they have a voice. Our mission has always been that we support our community members, especially immigrants to grow to their potential selves,” Petra says.

As the organization strives to raise the voice of the community, they are certified by the Department of Homeland Security to provide immigration legal services to help people become citizens – the first step to registering to vote.

Along with RDF, PAZ is a partner with the South Central Collaborative, a group ensuring the community’s voice and ideas are heard in a transit-oriented development project in Phoenix. PAZ has been instrumental in helping develop the community plan for the light rail and even knocked on thousands of doors to get input directly from residents. In doing so, they helped translate words like “infrastructure” from English to Spanish while explaining the Collaborative’s goals of better roads, trees, lighting and good sidewalks.

This is not the first time they’ve done this type of boots on the ground support, nor will it be the last.

Before this, PAZ helped RDF with the Plaza de las Culturas study assessment by going door to door to understand the needs of the South Phoenix community.

Petra Falcon received her vaccine at a PAZ clinic.

Today, PAZ volunteers can often be seen visiting residents to help dispel misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccination and working with partners like Valle del Sol and Radio Campesino to provide vaccination clinics in convenient locations, including RDF’s headquarters. They will be providing free vaccinations at RDF on Wednesday, March 2nd from 3pm-6pm.

“We respond where the people are, the community is, where the families are and connect them to resources that are available to them,” Petra says. “We don’t want to tell people what they need. They need to tell us what they need and then they need to fight for it and the way they can fight for it is to get involved and understand what’s going on.”

Welcome Home

When they’re not meeting the people where they are, PAZ welcomes the community members in their space for additional resources and education.

PAZ offers four different levels of adult education classes, including ESL. They are even supporting women to further their education by partnering with Friendly House and South Mountain Community College to provide scholarships.

Now PAZ can bring these classes to RDF’s new home in the heart of South Phoenix. With our innovative multipurpose rooms, students will be able to join in class via Zoom or in-person.

“They’re going to come into a space that I think is holy. When you’re in a holy place wonderful things happen, beautiful things will happen,” Petra says. “We’re grateful that we’re included in that home.”