To work toward a more just world, specifically along the border between the United States and Mexico, through educational and spiritual programs and relationship-building opportunities offered primarily in the border community of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Project Puente Newsletter can be downloaded here: Project Puente Fall 2008.
Project Puente Brochure can be downloaded here: Project Puente Brochure.
- Border immersion trips that can be customized to meet your goals
- Talks/workshops on global economics and immigration
- Talks/workshops on the current drug violence
- Talks/workshops on Fair Trade
- A unique Spanish Language Immersion Program
- A warm, welcoming home that can be used for meetings/retreats/lodging of immersion groups
As many of you are aware, Ciudad Juárez is experiencing ongoing drug-related violence. We believe that now more than ever, it is important for us to continue to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters south of the border. We are in the process of finding creative ways to do so. West, our executive director, is also available to give talks on the border drug violence and other related topics. If you are interested in coming for an immersion trip but would prefer not to spend time in Juarez- we are now taking immersion groups to Palomas, a quiet Mexican town not far from El Paso/ Juarez, where there are incredible individuals and organizations who have a lot to share about the dynamics of the border. Please see the “Border Immersion Trips” section for more information.
Meet the People of Project Puente:
West was born in Kansas but after some difficulty finally admits to being a Texan. He and his family lived for eight years in Venezuela before moving to the border area of El Paso-Ciudad Juarez. West has been involved in education as both a high school teacher and now for the past 13 years working doing experiential education on the U.S.-Mexico border. When not working he enjoys bicycling and camping.
Board of Directors:
Mary Baudouin is the Assistant for Social Ministries for the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province. In addition to coordinating social ministries for the province, she is responsible for the province’s Commission on Ministries planning process and the Ministry of Management training for priests and lay leaders of Jesuit works. Prior to joining the NOR province staff in January 2003, Mary worked for 14 years in social justice ministry with Catholic Charities and the Office of the Social Apostolate of Archdiocese of New Orleans. After the U.S. bishops wrote their pastoral letter on the U.S. economy in 1987, Mary coordinated their Office of Implementation for the United States Catholic Conference Office of Social Development and World Peace. She also worked for seven years as a consultant with faith-based and social service nonprofits in the South of the United States, specializing in the areas of strategic planning, board development, and grantwriting. Mary holds a Master’s degree in Social Work with a specialization in community development from Washington University in St. Louis. She and her husband, Tom Fitzgerald, are both graduates of Loyola University New Orleans. They are the parents of three children – Kevin (20), Claire (18) and Liam (14)
Maureen Casey (Vice President) is the International Project Coordinator for the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. For over twenty-five years the Coalition has been addressing issues of worker and economic justice in New York State and around the world. In 1997, the Coalition inaugurated its International Program to build relationships with workers in Mexico and to address the inequities of the global economy. Since that time, Casey has been bringing delegations of New Yorkers to meet with workers and to develop common strategies for challenging the power of corporations. Maureen has worked closely with West Cosgrove since she started bringing delegations to El Paso/Juarez in 2002. In 2006, the Labor-Religion Coalition launched as new program to promote Fair Trade in the union communities throughout New York State. This program is one answer to the question: “What can I buy that won’t exploit workers and children at the other end of production.” Maureen is particularly enthusiastic about Fair Trade after her ten years of work opposing “Free Trade” and has been an integral part of the building the Fair Trade project. ” It is good to be for something as well as against the usual corporate way of doing business,” she says.
Nikki Hertel Meirose (President) graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Spanish and Social Welfare & Justice. She spent August of 2006 to December of 2007 on the border, most of it living in Casa Puente. She worked at Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza, a non-profit women’s center, and also was a part of the founding of Project Puente. At the end of December ‘07 she moved home to Wisconsin and is now working at the Family Resource Center of La Causa, a non-profit in Milwaukee that mainly serves Latinos. She’s excited to be a board member because she is passionate about the mission of Project Puente!
Ed Lorenz directs the Public Affairs Institute at Alma College and is the Reid-Knox Professor of History and Political Science. Since 1996, he has been offering a Comparative Public Policy (focused on environmental, health, and labor policies) course in El Paso during Alma’s one month Spring Term. Currently, he is directing the Common Table, a forum that brings together farmers and rural and indigenous community leaders from northern Mexico and the U.S. to discuss shared concerns. Before coming to Alma to teach, he spent 14 years working for state and federal government labor programs. His special interest is in international labor standards. He is the author of Defining Global Justice: A History of U.S. International Labor Standards Policy (Notre Dame Press, 2001). He has been President of the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists and, after volunteering to help the community around Alma address its environmental problems, served as first Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s community advisory group for superfund sites in the middle of Michigan. Later he was appointed by the EPA Administrator to the Superfund Subcommittee of the U.S. EPA’s National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. He currently chairs the Legal and Public Health committees of the EPA community advisory group. Ed and his wife Marilyn, have six children and seven grandchildren. Three of his children have come to El Paso with his classes. He has seen the border experience of many of his students lead to career and life changes.
Ellen O’Bryan (Treasurer/Secretary) is one of the founding members of Project Puente and is deeply committed to issues of sustainability and social justice. In 2007 she purchased and began renovations on Casa Puente, Project Puente’s home and retreat center. Ellen has a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and Design from the University of Texas at Austin and has contributed her passion for egalitarian education through information technology by way of everything from software projects on marginalized black cowboy history to Dell’s corporate training. Ellen currently runs a small bed and breakfast in Southwestern New Mexico where she lives and practices photography and organic gardening.