Buckner builds better businesses, families

By Chelsea Quackenbush

Osvaldo and Maria Salazar live with their two young sons on the edge of a colonia in what used to be a trailer barely held together by some plywood and nails. When a strong breeze rolled through, the tin roof shuddered and the walls creaked in agony.

They worried constantly that a breeze with a little more oomph would leave their family of four homeless.

But in October, the Salazars moved into a new house -- and a new life in Christ.

“The Salazar family is one of the most motivated families I work with,” said Andrew Trujillo, Community Transformation Center case manager. “They meet their aspirations and beyond. They meet a lot of their goals.”

The Salazars have their own paleta (popsicle) business. They sell popsicles and ice cream out of a van six days a week. Osvaldo worked for another person for six years but decided to start his own business a year and a half ago. They struggled with the administrative end of owning their own business until they took finance and marketing classes at the CTC. Now they’re better able to keep their books and have a better idea of their profits and expenditures.

Buckner also is helping the Salazars improve their van for their business by updating the exterior paint and refurbishing the interior.

A team from the Woman’s Mission Union built the Salazars a new home in October, and because the Salazars saw what it meant to be a Christian, they too, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the week-long home build.

The Salazars remember the day they got the news. It was the middle of June and they had just received bad news that they were denied a permit to sell paletas in Mission, Texas, because Osvaldo didn’t have a Texas driver’s license.

But shortly after, Buckner staff called and told them they’d be getting a new house. The boys shouted with joy. Maria and Osvaldo were so overwhelmed with emotion, they didn’t know how to react.

“Being at Buckner gives me a good feeling inside … Like tranquility or peace,” Osvaldo said. “I’m more comfortable and it’s nice having a circle of people where you feel comfortable. I’m looking forward to a calmer life, less stress. Not having to worry about the house falling down. With Buckner, I’m learning how to be a better person, how to be a better neighbor, how to be a better friend.”

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