EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso Center for Children is celebrating its 100 year anniversary. The organization is deeply rooted in the city’s history.
“The center is the product of two merged orphanages,” Eric Baray, Outreach and Engagement Specialist said. “El Paso’s two first orphanages.”
The two orphanages, St. Margaret’s and Southwestern Children’s Home,
were run by nuns and opened exactly 100 years ago.
Black and white photographs depict daily life decades ago.
“They had to send kids to the Dallas area to be in orphanages over there because El Paso didn’t have one,” Baray said. “So that’s how the first orphanage came to be, down in the lower valley right where the diocese is at. That’s where St. Margaret’s Orphanage originally started.”
The organization still has a copy of a nun’s diary.
The first entry reads September 10, 1919.
The two operations cared for kids for decades, up until the early 1980s. They both merged, creating the El Paso Center for Children.
Flash forward to today, in addition to many counseling services, the center provides a runaway shelter for homeless youth.
“It’s safe and it’s sturdy and it clean,” Baray said, “and of course we want to provide a very nice environment for the youth while they’re in our care.”
Children continue receiving that care after decades. The Center for Children still opening their arms and providing a safe haven for those who need it the most.
“We’re very privileged just to be able to help them in their journey in life, for them to reflect back later in life and say the El Paso Center for Children, or one of the homes helped me survived and they helped me feel safe,” Baray said. “As long as were able to provide that, somewhere along their story in life, we feel accomplished with that.”