Origins of Amigos de Guadalupe
The Mayfair community has always been a neighborhood deeply rooted in social justice. It is the home of Cesar Chavez, an organizer that fought for farmworker rights. At the center of the Mayfair community is Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. It has been a strong and stable presence in the Mayfair community since 1952 when it was first established as a mission. Reflecting its mission roots, the Parish has consistently responded to the needs of the community—initiating a job training program, establishing a credit union, running a food pantry, starting a health clinic, and organizing local residents to self-advocate. That spirit of mission continues today.
Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment (“Amigos”) was born out of a vision to break the cycle of poverty in the neighborhood surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. In 2012, Father John challenged Maritza Maldonado to think of a different way to address the challenges of the Mayfair community. As the priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, he saw the relentless and unending need of the people attending the Parish. A steady stream of people visited the Parish daily seeking help with a variety of urgent needs including food, rental assistance, mental health support, immigration-related legal issues, and challenges navigating the public education system. Father John asked Maritza Maldonado if there was a better way.
Over the year, hundreds of one-to-ones were conducted with community residents to determine the needs of the community. Four needs came up: immigration, education, housing and health. Based on-site at the Parish, Amigos was originally envisioned by clergy and lay leadership to increase the availability, coordination, utilization, and effectiveness of social service programs delivered to local residents. This vision was anchored in a commitment to leverage partnerships with Mayfair’s many community-based organizations in order to provide a “one-stop, full service” experience for local families.