In 1967, while working for the Head Start program, Dr. Arnold wrote a grant proposal and submitted it to the Tucson War on Poverty Program, which was funded by grants initiated by the Kennedy/Johnson administration. The grant was funded at $19,000 and PPEP was born. Dr. Arnold purchased a 1957, 48-passenger, school bus and equipped it with educational books and supplies. He painted it green and named it “La Tortuga”. He was the driver, mechanic and school teacher, all rolled into one. Having lived in Mexico, he knew first-hand what it was like to live in an unfamiliar society with a different language and culture. So, he began teaching English and basic education, in his portable classroom, to the same Bracero farm-workers he had ministered to in the past, helping them prepare for life in America, by gaining a practical education. Hence, “Portable, Practical Educational Preparation”.
Read ‘Proyecto PPEP En Sus 25 Anos’
Read ‘A Testimonial to John David Arnold’
PPEP’s past encompasses over 45 decades of fulfilling its mission to “Improve the quality of rural life.” Empowering rural people through social economic programs towards self-sufficiency. These PPEP, Inc. programs started on August 24, 1967, in rural Pima County. Dr. John David Arnold, the founder of PPEP’s first students were Bracero migrant farmworkers employers of farmers Investment Company in the Santa Cruz Valley Pecan and Cotton growing region. Dr. Arnold served as the driver, mechanic, and teacher of a converted 1957 Chevy (48 passenger school bus) named “La Trotuga” (“The Tortoise”). PPEP’s first office was located in Pueblo Gardens in the South part of Tucson. It was housed in Dr. Arnold’s living room with his father John Patton Arnold (retired journalist/inventor) as his volunteer answering the phones and greeting the visitors to the office. From that humble beginning PPEP, Inc. has spawned a myriad of social economic development programs and community based boards and non-profit entities.
In 1972, La Tortuga was retired and donated to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. PPEP, Inc. moved from Pueblo Gardens to North Stone to Granada Street then to its present location at 802 E. 46th Street, Tucson, Arizona, as a Community Action Agency (CAA). Its first budget was $19,000 from the Tucson Committee for Economic Opportunity (TCEO). These funds originated from the Kennedy/Johnson War on Poverty, which came about because of the Civil Rights Legislation in 1964. In 1975, PPEP, Inc. formed the PPEP Housing Development Corporation (PMHDC) to promote rural affordable housing including self-help homes, multifamily and senior semi-independent living apartments. In 1985, PPEP, Inc. was funded by the Ford Foundation to open a modern version of micro credit lending program on the border counties. To date some 25 million in micro loans and technical assistance to building rural entrepreneurs have been established.
In 1999, it was recognized as the micro business program of the year at a ceremony at the White House. The event was hosted by President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Treasurer Robert Rubin. Later, PMHDC became the first Community Development Financial Institute (CDFI) in the United States.
In the 1990’s, HUD designated PMHDC as its regional Self Help Housing Operation (SHOP) from Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and New Mexico, where hundreds of rural affordable homes were built under our direction. In 1995, PPEP TEC became the first charter High School in Southern Arizona opening two campuses. PPEP, Inc. started the Encompass program for the developmentally disabled in Green Valley in 1975. The PPEP Behavioral Health Program began that same year providing counseling services to rural clients. In the mid 1980’s, PPEP, Inc. was the Navajo Nation’s largest subcontractor with job training, computer schools, and self-help housing for the Navajo reallocates.
PPEP is detailed in the website by program. Over the years, now decades, PPEP, Inc. has grown from the La Tortuga and first staff of seven (7) to over 575 workers providing services to over 10,000 plus clients annually. The Star 200 Series has rated PPEP, Inc. as high as the 92nd largest employer in the region PPEP, Inc. domestic service area remains rural Arizona with an emphasis on the border area counties of Southern Arizona.
PPEP TEC High School presently has seven campuses with over 900 hundred students. Three thousand five hundred students have graduated since 1995 with official High School diplomas. The adult education GED programs for farmworkers has graduated of 1200 students. Unites States Department of Education Migrant Education known as High Education Program (HEP) is one of the top performers in the United States. The Unites States Department of Labor National Farmworker Jobs Training Program (NFJP) that provides farmworkers with job training, work experience, and job placement services is also with the top 10 WIA national grantees.
The Encompass program serving the developmentally disables in now PPEP’s largest program serving 300 clients. Its 250 trained staff provides day treatment and residential services in 15 group homes. The PPEP Behavioral Health program has grown to over 30 counselors serving the South Western Arizona area.
In 2002, PPEP, Inc. began a partnership with K-12, Inc. to provide online instruction. The Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) was created under PPEP’s charter. Today, 5200 K-12 students study daily online. In 2007, PPEP, Inc. partnered with Insight Schools and the University of Phoenix to open an online Insight school in the Los Angeles region. PPEP California was reactivated to platform the school. The charter was issued through the Antelope Valley Unified School District in Lancaster, California. Presently, there are 700 students. A second Insight school has been rescued and reactivated and now serves 200 online students.
In 2008, PPEP, Inc. began its international humanitarian and social economic development activities in Owerri, Nigeria. Later the efforts were expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. It all started when Dr. Arnold was invited to do micro business seminars as part of a National Pastors and Women’s Conference. Subsequent, two micro credit programs were initiated: a women’s palm nut oil plant and a school. The international arm includes micro businesses, orphanages, and other humanitarian programs in Mexico and outlined in detail in the International Section of the site.
PPEP, Inc. has excelled in part through developing partnership with the private, public, and non-profits. Where they did not exist they organized the rural communities to create charitable activities to improve the quality of life. PPEP, Inc. started PMHDC in 1975, but added several other corporations that represent specific areas of need:
On the international effort the West Africa Rural Empowerment Society founded by Dr. John David Arnold was established in 2012. Details of the African and Mexico operations are detailed in the international section.
PPEP’s future will be defined by its past and present. Judging from the success of those era’s PPEP’s future is very bright. PPEP, Inc. has a professional, well trained, and dedicated staff capable of performing and even outperforming its contractual objectives. It has a very strong accounting system that has always had clean audits and honest dealing with its funders and vendors. To guide the PPEP, Inc. operation on a daily basis is a management team with combined years of PPEP, Inc. service approaches 200 years. The boards of directors are most capable ranging from farm labor representatives to those with PhD’s. All these PPEP, Inc. ingredients point to a bright future even in uncertain times.
PPEP, Inc. also has outstanding Human Resources HR Department that can handle growth and deal with crisis. The PPEP, Inc. organization strong staff development program that has obtained 30 University of Phoenix scholarships should pay off in the future. The fact that PPEP, Inc. offers a comprehensive health benefit wellness, a ban on smoking in the workplace will ensure a healthy workforce.
PPEP, Inc. also maintains a strong profit sharing 401-K with its match on an annual basis, which helps insure income for staff as they retire.
Finally, if PPEP, Inc. stays to task at hand, achieved, and the culture of success remains high there are no limits as the where the PPEP, Inc. family may go. Striving from Si Se Puede to Si Se Pudo! Yes We Can!!!