Diego Silva, director of the Buckner Family Hope Center at Penitas, is one of only 37 fellows selected from around the country for the inaugural Faith and Opportunity Fellowship, organized by the USDA Center for Faith and Opportunity, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
 
The fellowship is from Sept. 16-20 and is an opportunity for Silva to meet with leaders from across the country to help establish, strengthen and expand local prosperity councils and faith based initiatives.
 
As part of the fellowship, Silva will engage with USDA subject matter experts, learn more about the Centers of Community Prosperity, and hear from specialists in the hopes of demystifying the federal application process. The fellowship will emphasize skills building, with special assistance focused on the creation of local prosperity councils and smart long-term strategic planning Silva can implement back in the Valley.
 
During the week, Silva will also have the opportunity to present to government officials with USDA, HHS, HUD, DOE, FEMA and more regarding Buckner International’s work in the Rio Grande Valley, including a detailed breakdown of the model behind the Buckner Family Hope Center at Penitas, one of 26 similar centers around Texas, Mexico, Central America and Kenya. He is also presenting on the economic strengthening program, annual home builds and Agri-Hope program Buckner offers families in the Valley.
 
Additionally, Silva is acting as an all-around advocate for the Rio Grande Valley and the amazing people who reside there – and he will look to learn from his peers in other communities around the country, so he can bring new ideas, programs and hope back to the Valley with him.

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