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If you ask either staff members or community volunteers what first attracted them to ARISE, the majority will say it was the programs. It's through these classes that residents learned how to drive, women learned to make crafts and sell them as a source of income, men & women studied to take the citizenship exam, and community members learn to live healthier lives. This participation helps women begin to better know their neighbors and themselves. Every year we evaluate our programs to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our communities.  Our current classes include: health support group, relaxation, English, citizenship, and alternative medicine.  ARISE South Tower also founded the first community PTA in the nation.  South Tower PTA Comunitario has been going strong for 5 years, and has helped start other PTAs in the area.



ARISE believes that children need to be exposed to different opportunities at an early age. Over the years, we have been able to offer various classes to children that focus on improving their self-esteem and self-knowledge. Through creative activities children are able to better understand their emotions and how to deal with them.




ARISE continuously focuses on the community’s needs, which are always emerging & changing. We have always believed in training & empowering people so that they can be the voices of their own needs; so that they can organize and be the ones who make changes for their own community. Through working directly with colonia residents & including them in the process of working towards change, they have been able to use their voices as catalysts for change. The focus of civic participation is to create an engaged community so that they make the changes needed in education, infrastructure, and immigration.



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"Borders Can Be Viewed As Solid Walls That Limit, Confine And Separate. Borders Between Cultures, Races, Nations, Sexes And Classes May Function To Keep People Divided From One Another... On The Other Hand, Borders Can Be Seen As Meeting-Places That Offer A Unique Opportunity For Encounter, Dialogue And Sharing. They May Serve As The Place Of Interface Between Peoples, Ideas, And Experiences." -Patricia J Lloyd-Sidle "Called To Be Border: A Paradigm For Mission", 1989

The Rio Grande Marks The Division Between The US And Latin America, A Division Often Beset By Conflict And Misunderstanding. However, The Rio Grande Has Been A Meeting Place As Well As A Dividing Line. It Is A Place Where The US And Latin America Blend Language And Culture, A Place Where Global Neighbors Interact.

The Border Witness Program Hosts Educational Tours Of The Rio Grande Valley, Learning About Issues Such As Free Trade, Political Asylum For Refugees, And The Health And Environment Along The RGV. They Visit Refugee Shelters, Detention Centers, Colonias, And Other Organizations Along The Border. Through Direct And Personal Contact, Delegations Learn The Stories Of The People And Communities Facing Poverty, Oppression And The Challenges Of Living On The Frontera.

The Mission Of Border Witness

Border Witness Works As A Bridge That Connects The Reality Of The People Living In The Rio Grande Valley With Those Who Wish To Understand It.

It Is The Mission Of The Border Witness:

  • To Assist People In Understanding The Reality Of The Border (The Struggles, Achievements, And Challenges- Economic, Social, Cultural, Spiritual) Through Direct Experience And Personal Contact;

  • To Give Voice To The People, Families, And Communities Who Struggle To Surmount Oppression And Assert Their Dignity;

  • To Serve As An Educational Resource In Building Capacity By Opening Eyes, Studying The Reality And The System That Perpetuates It, And Promoting Action In The Issues That Face The Community.

ARISE Border Witness Groups Ordinarily Consist Of 5 To 20 Persons With A Minimum Of 5 People. For More Information On The Border Witness Program Contact Ramona Casas At (956) 783-6959 Or Ariseadvocacy1@Gmail.Com.


Each summer, ARISE invites volunteers from all over the USA and Mexico to join community youth to provide six weeks of learning and fun for children during their long, hot summer. This program “Un Verano con ARISE" is a cross-cultural opportunity for you and young adults to serve the communities of South Texas and learn about each other. For a week or more, each group works, learns, and reflects together; guided and supported by the community residents and staff of ARISE. In addition, ARISE provides opportunities for groups to meet the people of each community, sharing meals and special days and arranges field trips and visits to explore the border region. The staff of ARISE and the people of this community, welcome you with open arms and thank you for being willing to share your summer and skills with us. For more information please contact Eva Soto at (956) 783-6959 or (956) 414-0584 or You can also click on the button below to download more information.


For the 30 women that make up ARISE’s staff, their jobs are more than a source of income – they are a journey into self-discovery and personal transformation. By challenging themselves to undertake new tasks as new needs come up from the community, the women are continuously discovering new talents. It is this ongoing process that keeps the organization strong and viable.


Our founder, Sr. Gerrie, ensured that retreats and regular meetings provided a place for spiritual formation and leadership training. Although most ARISE staff attend one two-­hour session per month of spiritual development, we do not directly bring up spiritual matters with our neighbors in the colonias unless they first express an interest in such a discussion. 

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