Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis

First Advisor

Susan McDaniel


The purpose of this research was to look at how community support can facilitate the transformation of an impoverished neighborhood, through the case study of the nonprofit Build A Miracle (BAM) in the community of El Florido in Tijuana, Mexico. Mexico is a country that has long struggled with income inequality and high poverty rates (Martínez, 2003). There are many organizations that are involved with charitable work in Mexico, each with its own goals and approaches (e.g. Habitat for Humanity Mexico; Christian Base Communities – CBCs). BAM is a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that has built over 270 homes and provided dozens of educational scholarships for people living in poverty in Tijuana. Through the narrative of eleven women from El Florido, I examined the impact that BAM has had on an economically struggling community. This involved interviewing female community leaders about their experiences working with BAM and their outlook on how their lives and community have changed since BAM’s arrival. This investigation brought to light that one of the integral components of BAM’s model is the fostering of relationships between the American volunteers and the Mexican families in addition to traditional monetary support. The data also suggest that the strong Mexican female leaders have played a crucial role in the operation of the organization.