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This study explores the role that a Southern-California nonprofit, community-based organization, called Building Bridges, plays in the lives of low-income, Mexican immigrants. Using participant observations of the different events and gatherings at the site combined with several interviews conducted with parents, students, and staff, this study analyzes the process by which families enter Building Bridges and create a sense of community. Results revealed the significance of homophily in the way the organization initially earns the trust of the families that are trying their programs; the services that meet the perceived needs and aspirations of the community; and the impact of immigrant narratives that are integrated into the organization’s programming in a way that draws meaningful connections between the core group members in the community at Building Bridges. These processes are strong enough to overpower the forces of dominant social and cultural capital that conflict with many of the counter-hegemonic spaces of safety and understanding that Building Bridges has developed.

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