Dolly Parton's Imagination Library continues to grow in New Mexico. "Just Imagine!" provides training and support to local affiliates who want to give children 0-4 the gifts of book ownership.
The Imagination Library of Grant County is one of 2,200 local affiliates of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Each affiliate registers children to receive a free book each month, enters mailing information into the Dollywood Foundation's secure data base, and raises money to pay monthly book invoices. Since 2010 we've delivered over 117,000 books to babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Grant County. We've registered 80% of local children with the help of our partners. Research and parent surveys confirm that children benefit by becoming more interested in books, learning new vocabulary, spending more time with family members and scoring higher on reading proficiency tests. That's why we've grown the Imagination Library in New Mexico through our state expansion project, "Just Imagine!" With support from the FHL Foundation, we've advocated for partial state funding and offered financial support, 501c3 sponsorship and training for new affiliates. Since 2015, the number of children receiving books each month has more than tripled to include 13,452 children served by 35 active affiliates in 26 New Mexico counties. We've helped start affiliates in 14 counties and serve as fiscal sponsor for affiliates in Curry, Harding, and Eddy counties. We pay monthly book invoices for Quemado and Reserve School Districts in Catron County as well as Harding County. Our goal is to establish affiliates in the remaining 7 counties.
The primary focus of our programming is the support of photographers in NM, as well as bringing our medical provider training to the state in order to increase the number of bereaved families served.
NILMDTS will recruit, train, mobilize and retain professional-level photographers for the state of New Mexico. Additionally, NILMDTS will implement the new Medical Program in the state to train medical providers to photograph babies when we do not have a photographer available, or if it is a situation where it is not conducive to send a photographer. These programs rely heavily on our technology improvements. We want to make finding a photographer and/or using our Medical Program to be as easy as Uber, but with sensitivity and compassion. Photographers: We will continue our current efforts for recruiting and retaining our New Mexico photographers as well as evaluate and improve our strategies. We will continue to develop our robust training portal to provide further training for photographers on shooting and retouching sessions. Our live trainings continue to be a highlight for our volunteers. Additionally, the new technology will make the work of our volunteers seamless and easier to navigate which will improve retention. Medical: The Medical Program is just about to pilot in multiple cities. We are finishing the technology platform for nurses to directly upload photographs into our system where we provide the retouching. The training videos are complete and the course has been approved for contact hours for registered nurses. This will be available as continuing education for nurses in New Mexico as well, where we would like to do an in-person training in 2020.
Bridges Project for Education offers college access programs that support first-generation, low-income, minority and nontraditional students of all ages to access and complete postsecondary education.
Since 1997, the heart of Bridges' postsecondary access programs has been free, one-on-one admissions and financial aid counseling. We've helped 3,000+ individuals work through applications and scholarships; and access financial aid to incur minimal debt. We strive to transform this complex process into achievable steps and reduce the intimidation that those new to this process often feel. We support high school counselors who have client loads of 400+. College Connections, our early awareness curriculum, teaches students career and postsecondary educational pathways, with strategies to achieve these in 8-12th grade. Our alumni support program combats low program completion rates in NM. We connect with Bridges alumni at pivotal points and support them as they're current college students, increasing their chance of graduating. Bridges primarily serves first-generation to college, low-income, minority and nontraditional students, like GED grads and older degree-seekers. Historic institutional injustices and a lack of knowledge about admissions and financial aid creates barriers for these underrepresented students, who are 66% less likely to obtain college degrees or vocational certifications than equally-qualified peers. Higher education disparities increase socioeconomic marginalization. Education is the most effective way out of poverty and degree completion - trade, two and four-year - benefits people with better health, income and civic engagement.
Explora's Statewide Outreach program provides free, experiential STEM engagement that scaffolds school-time learning with hands-on educational experiences in underserved communities across New Mexico.
Explora respectfully requests continued FHL Foundation support to engage over 3,000 students living in tribal, rural, and remote areas of New Mexico in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences. The 2020 Statewide Educational Outreach program increases student interest in and understanding of STEM through two mechanisms: 1) Classroom Explorations, 1-hour sessions inviting entire classrooms (20 students/1 adult per class x 2 classes per school) to take a deeper look at a specific STEM topic with materials-rich activities; and 2) Family Science Events, 2-hour bilingual community events where families (average of 70 students/30 adults) engage in mobile Explora exhibits together. Your support in 2019 enabled Explora to bring quality STEM education to 3,454 children living in communities without informal science education resources. With little to no access to experiential learning, these students score 23 points lower in standardized math tests compared to their more economically-advantaged peers (NM NAEP Results for 4th graders, 2019). By the 6th grade, these children will spend 6,000 less hours learning than middle-income peers, with over 4,000 of those lost hours accounted for by after school and summer programs (ExpandEDSchools, 2013). FHL remains critical to our efforts to level the playing field through visits to underserved communities across NM. Please continue to help us ignite curiosity, discovery, and the joy of lifelong learning.
A program to employ guests and former guests of the Interfaith Community Shelter, as part of our commitment to an array of services that help stabilize the lives of those experiencing homelessness.
The Interfaith Community Shelter strives to employ as many as possible of our former guests and current guests who are making the transition to permanent housing. Our refrain for this program is simple: "How could we as a homeless shelter encourage others to employ our guests if we are not willing to do it ourselves?" Currently, we have 7 people on staff who started as our guests. The experience they bring to the table is invaluable to the Shelter, and the job is valuable to them. These employees come to us with an array of special needs, as they continue to struggle, occasionally, to overcome the mental health and/or substance abuse issues that often resulted in their homelessness in the first place. This aspect of employing guests presents an extra challenge for management. But our guest employees also enrich the program with their talents and deep understanding that only comes from having experienced homelessness first-hand.
Little Sisters of the Poor have served the elderly poor in Gallup, NM since 1983 providing them with love, respect and compassion.
Little Sisters of the Poor--we were founded in France in 1839 by St. Jeanne Jugan who welcomed into her Home an elderly woman who was blind, poor, and paralyzed. Carrying her up a spiral staircase, Jeanne gave Ann her bed--the beginning of our Mission to the elderly. Soon after, Jeanne jugan would welcome other elderly persons into her Home, many of whom were beggars. In turn, Jeanne would go out begging on their behalf and was able to establish a network of benefactors to support her work. We have been in the United States serving the elderly poor for over 150 years and have several Home for the elderly throughout the US and the world. We have been here in Gallup, NM for 36 years. Part of our Mission here is to care for the elderly wo are Native American, many of whom come from nearby reservations, including the Navajo. The rest of the Home's Residents are drawn from Gallup's large low-income elderly population. In our Assisted Living Home and Independent Apartments, we are able grateful to be able to welcome 47 elderly Residents.
In response to COVID-19, we will hire staff, purchase technology for distance learning, renovate our facility’s athletic and indoor areas, and secure funds for constant sanitation of facilities.
East Gate needs financial support to offer underprivileged children the education they need to resume their academic growth, which was interrupted by the pandemic. COVID-19 has limited the number of individuals hosted in each space, imposed social distancing protocols, extended our schedule to full-day programs, and relocated our physical exercise component. Additional funds will sustain salaries of teachers who are working overtime, hire one new full-time staff member and two part-time staff members, purchase technology for students and staff, and maintain high-standard hygiene conditions. Also due to COVID, we must equip our teachers with additional mobile technologies that will enable them to participate in remote coordination of programs. To fill the academic gaps of children who are suffering significant losses in learning due to school lockdowns, East Gate must strengthen our programs' academic component, particularly our literacy and mathematics courses. We will purchase new curriculum and technology for each child to access virtual learning platforms remotely. Our after-school and summer programs have been redesigned. We have lost the vital field trip component based on destinations, including the swimming pool and other athletic spaces. We must equip our outdoor space so as to maintain the athletic component of our programs that enables children to develop physical fitness, and improve our indoor spaces in order to offer more extracurricular activities.
We are requesting support for our CASA volunteer recruiting and training efforts to ensure we can replace volunteers we have lost due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Child welfare experts fear children are at increased risk for abuse and neglect due to the pressures many families are under during the pandemic. In addition, many children are no longer regularly in settings (day cares, schools) where abuse is recognized and reported. Both of these factors indicate that as society recovers from the pandemic and resumes some normalcy, we will likely experience a spike in child abuse and an increase in the number of foster children. For this reason, it is vital that New Mexico Kids Matter is able to continue to recruit, train, and deploy CASAs to serve our community’s most vulnerable children. Unfortunately, we have lost approximately 15% of the total number of CASAs we had just prior to the start of the pandemic. Volunteers are leaving for a number of reasons directly related to the pandemic: some are not comfortable with technology and disliked doing their advocacy work in our current virtual environment; others have had to devote more time to at-home schooling for their own children; and some are in high risk categories for COVID-19 and have decided they will not be comfortable doing their work in-person as we hopefully move towards less virtual and more face-to-face advocacy efforts in the coming months. With support from the FHL Foundation, we will be able to continue to aggressively recruit and train new CASA volunteers (virtually now and in-person when the health situation allows) to advocate for abused and neglected foster children.
The COVID Journaling Project helps youth cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and art to facilitate resiliency and mental well-being.
Over 29 percent of young people in the U.S., ages 9-17, are affected by anxiety and depression disorders. The NM Department of Health revealed that in 2016, New Mexico had the fourth-highest suicide rate in the country and is consistently 50% higher than the U.S. rate. According to the same report, one-third of SJC high school youth reported feeling sad and hopeless. COVID has only exacerbated these health concerns. Using art as a medium, Inspire heART provides students a safe environment to explore and express emotions, thoughts, and ideas, as well as the expression of thoughts and feelings and to enhance individual development and growth. Learning to express oneself through art can improve overall well-being and contribute to lowering anxiety and stress, encourage self-awareness and self-esteem, strengthen relationships, regulate behaviors, and enhance social skills. Expression through art can also positively impact student function, mood, and cognition. Art therapy supports the interaction of complex thought processes, empowers youth through the development of autonomy and self-efficacy, and helps youth gain a sense of control. In response to social distancing regulations, the nonprofit is partnering with American Indian Health and SJC school districts to provide more than 3,500 students a three-week intensive online art journaling project. These lessons will aid students who are dealing with the adverse effects of COVID, including isolation, anxiety, and depression.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History respectfully requests $10,000 from the FHL Foundation to support Extended Care/Distanced Learning and STEM programming.
On 9/8 the Museum began offering an Extended Care Program for distanced learning support for the 2020-21 school year. According to NMPED, all school districts will follow a phased approach to reentry, beginning school completely online, followed by a later hybrid schedule. The Museum is accepting a limited number of K-7 students M-F from 7:30 am - 5:30 pm. This in-person program offers a balance between online distance learning with the child’s school, STEM specific curricula/activities provided by the museum, and fun physical activities each day. Students are asked to bring their school Chrome Books/Google Access login information for their school assignments (or other login information if a different platform is used), lunch, snacks, a face mask to be worn at all times, and a refillable water bottle. Students are welcome to bring their own electronic device to do schoolwork, but the Museum is also able to provide electronic device if necessary. Program hours may change as NMPED district reentry phases unfold. Safety of the students and museum educators is of utmost importance. Health and Safety protocols, including cleaning procedures, will be strictly enforced during all programs. In past years, the Museum has offered “Science is Everywhere” experiential STEM camps for school breaks, holidays, and additional days off. The Museum will continue to offer in-person camps, following the same capacity limits and health/safety regulations as the Extended Care Program.
We request a grant for the Pet Save Fund of our Donor-subsidized Veterinary Clinic to help low-income clients who are struggling to pay for their pets’ care during this difficult time.
Our Donor-subsidized Veterinary Clinic is the only full-service, discounted clinic exclusively for low-income families and their pets in the state. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that pets stay healthy and with their loving families by providing care for those who cannot afford to take their pets to a private veterinarian. We believe that pets are important family members, especially for under-served communities. We want to support our clients in keeping their pets with them for the long-term, rather than surrendering them because they cannot afford quality care. Pet owners qualify based on proof that their household income is no more than 238% of Federal poverty guidelines. While clients do pay fees for services, our costs are 35% - 50% below what for-profit clinics charge. Pets receive the full range of services they would at for-profit clinics. By offering care at below-market rates, we make it possible for our clients to receive preventative and early care before an issue becomes an urgent health crisis; saving money, time and stress on the owner’s part and reducing pain and suffering on the pet’s. Some clients struggle to pay even our deeply-discounted rates. For them, we can further discount their payments through the Pet Save Fund, which is fully funded by generous donors.
Reading Works will construct new student intake and assessment systems and build a long-term remote tutoring component. FHL's grant will improve literacy service delivery beyond the COVID crisis.
To effectively meet our mission, we are making changes in program delivery: • virtual student intake and assessment • long-term remote tutoring. Student intakes and assessments are essential to provide quality literacy services. We use the information gathered in these sessions to create individual education plans that are tailored to each student's goals, needs, and reading/language level. Because we can no longer meet with students face-to-face, we have to create something new. We will make virtual intakes/assessments part of our process permanently. This will add another level of accessibility for students who lack transportation or time to come to our office. In March 2020, 60% of our students wanted to continue tutoring despite the disruption COVID caused in their lives. By May volunteer tutors and students were meeting using smartphone apps, Google Duo, Zoom, and regular old-fashioned telephone calls. We discovered both tutors and students have technological and digital needs in order to meet remotely: equipment, internet access, training on how to teach and learn in this new way. We developed a new staff position - Student Intake and Curriculum Development Coordinator - to tackle these issues. Building these new systems will advance our mission into the future and help Reading Works be a more sustainable and effective organization.
Funding will support the development/implementation of a hybrid version of Keshet’s current in-person academic curriculum within juvenile prisons, to facilitate distance learning during the pandemic.
Keshet’s Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis (M3) is a physically-based, academic curriculum taught to 100 incarcerated youth (ages 12-21) in Bernalillo County at the accredited Foothill High School, located at the Youth Diagnostic and Development Center. The program teaches math, science, literacy, and conflict resolution skills to incarcerated youth through onsite classes. Clients include youth who are either currently incarcerated or are transitioning through the parole and reintegration process. All youth come from families with high risk factors including abuse, familial incarceration, homelessness, single parent families, and low income levels. Professional artists work alongside the kids to provide them with academic and social skills, mentorship, and a positive self-image. Funding ($15,000) is requested to support the development and implementation of an adaptable, hybrid distance-learning curriculum in order to transition this education program between in-person and virtual, as needed, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The youth served by this program are extremely vulnerable; the critical nature of their situation requires attentive, one-on-one follow up during periods of remote learning. Funds will also support consistent phone contact with students which is tied to the curriculum/daily academic lessons, and serves to connect students with a supporter on the outside (there is no consistent format in place for any additional access to families/attorneys right now).
BMH is an Espanola Valley birth center that works to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in rural communities by serving families through a culturally-appropriate midwifery model of care.
BMH has maintained all of its programs during this time, and increased capacity in many areas. Our walk-in clinic has been adapted to meter the flow of clients while still accepting same-day visits. Our midwifery practice has seen an increase in clients, including many late transfers from other providers who are inhibited by hospital restrictions. We are expanding services to well-newborns, in response to decreased availability of these services in our community. Our food distribution program, formerly a small aspect of our program, has significantly increased in response to food access issues in our community and we provide regular distribution to 20-30 families per week with half delivered directly to families’ homes. We have started an emergency baby supply bank for Young Parents, which provides access to essential items and reduces their need to shop frequently because of cash-flow problems. We have maintained work with the Young Parents support group despite having to meet virtually. The group has started a digital storytelling project that will capture their lived experiences of parenting and build their capacity in media arts. Our policy work continues, with urgent responses to the changing landscape of Medicaid and the department of health. We are advocating for inclusion of Licensed Midwives in pandemic policy creation while also promoting access to midwifery care as part of a much needed emergency response plan that includes the needs of birthing people.
Make-A-Wish New Mexico is requesting $10,000 to grant a wish for a child with a critical illness in New Mexico.
COVID-19 has greatly impacted our organization’s ability to grant wishes. Because of travel restrictions and businesses closing their doors, twenty-one scheduled wishes have been postponed. Our organization is prioritizing securing funding for these twenty-one waiting wishes. When our organization can safely grant these wishes, we do not want our wish children to wait a day longer than they already have because of lack of funding. In the fight against a critical illness, each wish serves as an urgent catalyst for renewed strength and encouragement for every child and family on their journey. Children are energized by wishes. They can anticipate, describe, imagine, plan, and eventually rejoice in its fruition. By demonstrating that a wish can come true, we encourage a child to envision a positive future and to remain an active partner in treatment when courage and hope begin to fade. We believe wishes improve the odds for wish kids fighting critical illnesses. Wishes inspire and have the power to change lives. Wishes help kids look past their limitations, families overcome anxiety and entire communities experience joy. Most importantly, wishes can improve a child's quality of life, giving them a better chance of recovering.
Requested funds support on-call IT support for our organization and all families to access programming, as well as rehabilitating the Family Center backyard to accommodate small group meetings.
Saranam, a transitional living program for homeless families, has continued to remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis to provide families in our transitional living program with a safe home, household/cleaning supplies, adequate food supplies, case management, and educational opportunities. In August we welcomed 10 new families into the program despite the financial challenges we encountered from having fundraising interrupted. Saranam families are especially vulnerable during the pandemic, and Saranam ensures their needs are met. Saranam has adapted programming and developed virtual solutions to connect and support our families during COVID-19. We provide case management several times weekly via phone or Zoom to provide encouragement and support to families, and hold life skills classes, children’s activities, and community meetings virtually via Zoom. Fall semester adult basic education classes for the new cohort are held virtually on Zoom, with four-hour daily time limits. Teachers are available by Zoom for individual student discussions, and we use Google Classrooms as online portals for families to easily access class assignments and materials, and to cultivate a classroom community. We also deliver packages of hard copy materials and relevant handouts for parents and children to work on at home. We have adapted our after exit services virtually to meet the needs of alumni families during social distancing. Our priority is the safety and stability of our families.
Libros for Kids is an affiliate of The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library that delivers free, age appropriate, books to children’s homes that are age 0-5, targeting underserved communities.
Funds from this grant will only be used to purchase books for children age 0-5 for direct delivery to the child’s home in Bernalillo County. Just think what a thrill it is for pre-school children to receive their very own book once a month. Fostering a family dynamic of reading, parents interacting with their children and storytelling, strengthens the parent child bond and directly enhances early literacy that will foster the child's success throughout their lifelong learning process. Libros differs from other Imagination Library partners because we actively seek collaborations and build relationships to improve literacy of all ages. We now have more than 40 community collaborators that help identify families with young children for enrollment. Due to the restrictions as a result of the pandemic we have opened our web site to allow families to enroll their children through the internet. We have opened enrollment for all of Bernalillo County, but spend our efforts working and developing community partners in the most underserved area of the county, the south valley and the International district. Our community partnerships include pediatric clinics, local post offices, speech therapy programs, Presbyterian and UNM hospitals, YDI programs, PB&J, city libraries, New Futures High School and churches. Libros has found our most aggressive partnerships to be at food banks where the parents have a hunger to improve literacy for their children.
The Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete's Place likes to put our money where our mouth is -- specifically, we do our best to employ formerly homeless Shelter guests.
Currently, ICS employs 6 people who first entered our doors from the streets seeking emergency shelter services. Through intensive case management and assistance from numerous partner providers who work with our clients, they have managed to stablilize their lives in permanent housing and through employment at the Shelter. Many of the former guests we employ continue to need more support and skills training than most employers would be able to offer, which is what makes this a bit of a program within a program. Because our supervisors and executive director are accustomed to relating to individuals who are battling mental and behavioral health issues, the Shelter is a perfect place to begin the process of training people to perform the basic skills necessary to be sucessfully employed in the workforce. Because the Shelter is an essential service to the community, our former guests have been blessed with job security even during the pandemic, although we have seen a marked increase in need in the community for Shelter services.
Requesting sand for our horse-riding arena. We need a 3 inch top-layer of sand to provide safe, soft, and secure footing for the horses and humans who participate in this component of the program.
Wilderwood’s horse-riding arena is integral to delivery of its program: the first equine-assisted curriculum designed by autistics for autistics. The Problem: Animal and human welfare is paramount in our program. We have, however, quite possibly the worst type of ground for an arena: silty, fine clay soil. When it is wet, it is muddy, boggy, and extremely slippery; when dry, the silty fine particles create a dusty haze (like “Pig-Pen” in Peanuts), resulting in respiratory and visual hazards for horses and humans alike. The Solution: We have done our research to solve this problem, and in the process received a range of quotes including one for $118,000 (special vulcanized rubber footing, apparently). In the end, we identified a perfectly satisfactory – and more cost effective – solution with a layer of basecourse (to prevent the sand being sucked down into the ground and aquifer) followed by a 3 inch top-layer of sand. We have secured the basecourse, volunteer hours to groom and lay the sand, and are now requesting a grant for the sand itself. Once the project is complete, the arena will have a safe, cushioned, and secure footing that will ensure the health and safety of the horses, participants, instructors, and volunteers – both in the coming year and long after the term of the grant.
TLCC is a small, focused program that seeks to do one thing well: inspire and empower homeless and low-income individuals to become financially self-supporting through job and life skills training.
TenderLove Community Center (TLCC) is one of those non-profits on the front lines, uniquely focused on helping individuals break the cycles of poverty that have led to homelessness, but addressing their specific needs for healthcare, education, legal assistance, and life- and job-skills training. While temporary shelter, meals and clothing are all essential to marginalized and homeless people, we give individuals the support they need to overcome homelessness, rather than continuing to count them as ‘served,’ without counting their situation as ‘solved.’ Our founder experienced homelessness herself and recognized the need for a program that does more than simply provide short term solutions, assisting individuals to rise above their traumatic experiences and build self-sufficiency. TLCC offers a free year-long training and mentoring program, teaching homeless and near-homeless individuals marketable life skills using sewing and fashion design as the platform. This is the kind of sustained support and mentoring needed to help homeless people escape from the cycle of poverty. During this unprecedented time of COVID -19, our services remain uninterrupted both at our Recovery / Transitional Housing and Job Training programs. Our goal is to house homeless people for up to six months, help them find a job and assist in moving them to their permanent housing with thorough case management and encouragement for job retention.
A $12,000 grant from the FHL Foundation will allow Storehouse to distribute 60,000 meals to 1,875 individuals and families facing hunger in Central New Mexico.
During these uncertain times, it is no surprise that we are seeing dozens of new faces at the Storehouse. The unemployment rate in New Mexico in November ’20 hovered at 7.5% just slightly down from the previous month but higher than the national average at 6.7%. The massive unemployment rates are impacting a state already threatened by food insecurity. Just last year, Feeding America reported that 25% of children in our state face food insecurity. 1 in 4 children in our community don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Adults and seniors reflect increasingly similar statistics. For years, Storehouse has taken great pride in our Client Choice Model. The model invited clients to grab a cart at our warehouse and choose the foods they want, allowing for less food waste and increased client dignity. Currently, the model is not compliant with COVID-19 health guidelines, so Storehouse has adapted its operations so clients, staff, and volunteers remain safe. The staff now sort, package, and distribute food boxes to our clients. Each box contains fruits and vegetables, along with non-perishable food items. Providing clients with healthy foods is a standard practice at the Storehouse. Despite the impact of COVID-19 Storehouse will continue to serve over 50,000 individuals this year, including our most vulnerable populations: poor and working poor individuals, children, families, seniors, veterans, the homeless, people with disabilities, and the growing unemployed population.
With a holistic approach to ending homelessness, providing shelter includes meals, hygiene products, case management, and support with the sole purpose of helping women transition into stable housing
Ranking highest among states in poverty, many of the women and children we serve are in our shelter because of impoverishment. Through our work at Barrett Foundation, we have learned the face of homelessness is changing and often surprising. Many of the women we serve are single mothers who are underemployed or unemployed. We often have educated women—including RN's and graduate degree holders—who find themselves suffering from a precarious job market coupled with unaffordable housing options. Barrett helps address the issue of homelessness for the women and children we serve by providing case management and supportive services to ensure that homelessness for this vulnerable population is short-lived and non-recurring. Each woman at Barrett works with a housing stability advocate to transition into permanent housing. Our wide range of programs and systems help improve employ-ability and other attributes that will lead to improved economic mobility for the women and their children. Our services don't end when women leave to move into permanent housing. Case managers continue to follow up with clients through home visits for two years to ensure that becoming contributing members of our community is achieved. We believe our approach has been so successful for 35 years because we understand when women have the tools necessary to end the cycle of homelessness, they become stakeholders, are more apt to get involved, and contribute to the schools and community in which they live.
To provide life-saving vaccine to protect House Rabbits in our shelter and adoption homes from the deadly Rabbit Hemorrhagic Virus 2 (RHDV2).
In the spring of 2020, Covid-19 shut down our shelter for 3 months during our Governor's Stay at Home Order, and all of our shelter bunnies went into foster care homes with our Volunteers. At that same time, Colorado had it's first reported case of a similar novel virus attacking bunnies - Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2. Now that our shelter is reopen and serving our community, we are battling this deadly virus that is extremely contagious among bunnies and is nearly 100% fatal. If one bunny in our shelter contracts the virus, our entire population will have to be euthanized per our governing agency. Thankfully there is a vaccine which we, through our partnering Veterinarian, import from England to administer to all incoming shelter bunnies. The bunnies must then be microchipped to record and track their vaccination, and they must be vaccinated every year. Bunnies can live to be 15 years old, so the expense adds up. The vaccine is 90% effective. Cases have been reported in Washington, New York City, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California and Utah. We are committed to providing education and vaccine to all our incoming shelter bunnies who travel from neighboring states also fighting this virus, and provide vaccine access to our previously adopted bunnies, as well as special adoption cases for lower-income adopters to afford medical care for their bunns. This year we vaccinated over 180 bunnies. We expect that number to grow to over 200 in 2021.
SFCM requests a grant of $10,000 to support virtual learning, and hands-on activities for teachers, children, and families to inspire excellence and life-long learning throughout the State of NM.
Funding will support Virtual Field Trips to public schools along with distributing hands-on Grab and Go Kits, to children, teachers and, families throughout NM. Within weeks of school closure in March 2020, we launched Virtual Field Trips and have proudly served 6,000 children and teachers so far. Teachers can book live, interactive bilingual learning experiences structured around the State of NM's core standards. The curriculum incorporates images taken from space, artistic renderings, new vocabulary, and links to resources to extend learning. The program has served Southside Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Espanola, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Albuquerque, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Ribera, Ohkay Owingeh (Rio Arriba County-Federally Recognized Tribe), Chama, Rio Rancho, Pecos, Tohatchi and, Las Cruces. During this time of closure, remote, and hybrid learning, many kids will inevitably miss out on the breadth and depth of education. This is especially paramount for children without access to the internet. To address this, we have developed themed kits (Garden, STEM, Astronomy) which include bilingual lessons, instructions, and materials to be distributed to rural and underserved tribal, and pueblos across NM. Working with distribution partners such as Keres Children's Learning Center in Cochiti Pueblo, Rio Arriba County Health Department, NM State Tribal Libraries, and others, we have distributed 5,000 kits. This grant will help to extend the distribution of more kits to families in need.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library continues to grow in New Mexico. “Just Imagine!” provides training and support to local affiliates who want to give children 0-4 the gifts of book ownership.
Since 2010 we’ve delivered 136,621 books to 80% of babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Grant County. Research and parent surveys confirm that children benefit by becoming more interested in books, learning new vocabulary, spending more time with family members and scoring higher on reading proficiency tests. That’s why we’ve grown the Imagination Library in New Mexico through our state expansion project, “Just Imagine!” With support from the FHL Foundation, we’ve advocated for partial state funding and offered new affiliates 501c3 sponsorship, sample books, registration forms, displays, training and start-up funding. Our founders, Barbara and Loren Nelson, have become Emeritus Board Members and continue to champion the Imagination Library’s state expansion efforts. Since 2015, we have grown the number of affiliates in the state to 41. In the past year, during the pandemic, we supported 8 new affiliates in Roosevelt, DeBaca, San Miguel, Mora, Guadalupe, Union, Valencia, McKinley and Chaves counties. All 33 counties now have at least one affiliate, and today 17,739 children are enrolled and receive a free book in the mail every month. With this grant we will help affiliates expand their coverage areas and enroll more children.
Explora’s Statewide Outreach program will provide COVID-safe, experiential STEM engagement for 1,500 underserved students in tribal, rural, and remote communities throughout New Mexico.
Over the past year, Explora transformed our Statewide Outreach program to meet the challenges of remote- and hybrid engagement necessitated by COVID-19. Your support in 2020 enabled Explora to provide 1,278 individuals with quality STEM enrichment despite our closure, significant budgetary & staff reductions, and the shuttering of many of our partners. Having maintained deep ties with partners in underserved communities and developed the capacity to provide COVID-safe yet hands-on STEM, Explora’s Statewide Outreach program is well-positioned to support students during the pandemic and beyond. This year, we will engage 1,500 students via virtual (& in-person, when possible) STEM programs and materials-rich STEM Learning Kits. The many crises in 2020 have shown that equitable access to education and economic opportunity is more important than ever. Today, low-income and students of color are most at risk of learning loss due to lack of access to “high-quality remote learning, devices they do not need to share, [&] high-speed internet.” (McKinsey & Company, 2020). Without intervention, these students risk falling between three months to a year behind (NM Legislative Finance Committee, 2020). Explora respectfully requests FHL’s continued support to meet these needs with free, experiential STEM education that scaffolds school-time learning, addresses the digital divide, and reduces learning loss for students underrepresented in STEM.
Teachers from K to 12 will be offered an online class on weather. Through shorter lectures, outdoor activities and interactive discussions the students will feel like real active participants.
Online schooling has been a very challenging change for many. Teachers and students are equally struggling due to the new format and expectations. Teachers feel they need to do triple the work; students feel frustrated as they often don’t understand what their task is. The end result is the loss of valuable time and knowledge, and it is hard to predict when it will change. This project aims to address and improve online schooling. The class Science of Weather will be offered to teachers who are doing their Master’s program at NMT. This class will be re-developed to satisfy the new form of online teaching. Shorter, crisper lectures will be followed by interactive online discussions. For example, the students will have an opportunity to read articles on climate change from professional journals, popular journals and from media. Through the virtual discussion among themselves and a teacher (myself) they will understand what is scientific language and how media sometimes doesn’t get it right. They will get to offer their own solutions and think how to create similar discussions in their classrooms. The assignments will be focused on outdoor, for example: taking pictures and identifying clouds. Through this class the students who are teachers themselves will learn how to do proper online schooling, how to set up clear lectures, assignments and goals. With the newly gained perspective of being an online student themselves, they will learn how to teach in their virtual classrooms.
Grant funding will allow two students to participate in the FSNM after school program which combines rigorous academic tutoring, life skills instruction, and intensive tennis training.
FSNM is a microcosm of the student population of the US, exhibiting the myriad of developmental, socio-emotional, and home-life problems that plague children across the country. Santa Fe exhibits some of the lowest school outcomes in the nation, combined with indicators of poor physical and emotional health such as obesity, diabetes, substance abuse and suicide. In the 2017 Santa Fe Youth Summit Report, youth indicated that there is a lack of physical education in schools, and that this has contributed to poor physical and mental health. The 2019 Women’s Sports Foundation report, “How Tennis Influences Youth Development,” found that among the top 10 most popular sports, tennis has the most “healthy high achievers”: students who had the highest level of academic achievement, lowest prevalence of substance use, lowest school misbehavior, highest prevalence of health behaviors, and highest level of psychological health. FSNM helps each child to overcome these enormous obstacles and change their focus to positivity for themselves, setting small, achievable goals in which they can continually find success. It takes years for this profound effect to occur. FSNM has created a family for our students. For many students, we are their only family, and for other students, we are their extended family. FSNM cannot cure the trauma that a child has experienced, but we can build a new tent of opportunities and work to help each child build their confidence and self-worth.
Bridges Project expands postsecondary access for people of all ages, with an emphasis on students who are the first generation in their families to seek vocational certificates and degrees.
Bridges’ vision is to help our clients enhance their ability to improve their lives and that of their families, and by extension contribute positively to the broader economy and social welfare of our community. Since 1997, we’ve served 3,000+ clients. Bridges accomplishes this by aligning our programming with three goals. While the goals are somewhat sequential, there's exchange between them. (1) Students will have accurate information, early enough, and will develop vision and agency to actively choose an appropriate postsecondary path. (2) Students who choose to pursue a postsecondary education path will complete the essential steps to access a school that's affordable and a good fit. (3) Those who enroll will complete their program and contribute back to the Taos community. Bridges programs include: College Connections, an early engagement pilot program; free individualized counseling providing guidance through the admissions and financial aid process; and support for Bridges’ alumni to increase certificate and degree completion. For many, education must take a back seat as families struggle to satisfy their basic needs. Schools have fewer funds to hire college counselors, and parents whose transition to adulthood did not include postsecondary education can find it difficult to guide their own children toward an unfamiliar experience. Without additional support, the cycle continues, with each generation increasingly marginalized by fewer options and opportunities.
Casa Q seeks funding to support the educational success of the youth we serve. Because of COVID-19, we are seeing an increased need for educational, cultural, and social engagement for our youth.
The mission of Casa Q is to provide safe living options and services for LGBTQ+ youth and allies ages 14-22 who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness. Casa Q's 5-bedroom house is licensed by the state's Children, Youth and Families Department as a Multi-Service Home to serve up to 10 residents at a time. Casa Q not only provides housing, but also educational support, career exploration services, and assistance finding a first job or internship. While a resident in the house, youth are supported by experienced and trained staff to succeed in school, explore career options, learn a range of essential life skills, and engage with their community through cultural, educational, and social enrichment activities. The youth served by Casa Q are some of the most at-risk for dropping out of school, self-harm, mental health emergencies, and long-term homelessness. Casa Q intervenes in what can be a destructive cycle by housing these youth in a protective, compassionate, and supportive environment and by providing a range of services and experienced staff to help them develop and determine their future successfully. Staff welcome the youth into the house and help them with their schooling, counseling, and healthcare appointments. All daily needs such as food, clothing, school supplies, and toiletries are provided. Each young person has individualized goals and staff help them heal, learn, and develop life skills.
Camino de Paz is currently in its largest expansion since opening day, expanding capacity in learning environments and business activities. The new bakery is crucial to operations and this expansion.
Camino de Paz believes in the potential of every adolescent and supports young people in gaining economic independence. Though the school operates legitimate businesses, the community doesn’t view CdP as a trade school, but rather as an institution that provides one of the best educations in NM. The CdP experience for adolescents always features an 'economic work' component. That work is designed to receive a real marketplace valuation. Middle schoolers are often at the developmental stage in learning work skills, so their work rarely stands alone in the competitive marketplace. Moreover, their communal identity and sociological connection to coworkers often requires more time to form and flourish. Thus, the school seeks outside funds to subsidize this work effort as an important aspect of their education. This is critical as students move into the high school program and play a more impactful role in the local economy. The expanded bakery is a major arm in this sustainable, educational business model, as it can operate comfortably year-round.
The Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP) provides unique and engaging environmental education, community science, and ecological stewardship activities for K-12 students in Bernalillo County.
For 25 years, over 100,000 students in grades K-12 have learned about the Middle Rio Grande bosque and collected millions of data points to measure its health alongside BEMP staff. Students collect information about precipitation, groundwater depth, vegetation, and water quality to evaluate ecosystem health. BEMP is the only organization in New Mexico providing a network of 33 established bosque monitoring sites across 270 miles of the Middle Rio Grande. Through our programming, students become community scientists. BEMP students include children and youth from socio-economic and cultural backgrounds that are underrepresented in science and technology fields and underserved by environmental education programs. Over the grant period, BEMP will provide skills-building opportunities for students, support for teachers, and crucial bosque ecosystem data. BEMP students learn how to collect and analyze data, work in teams, communicate complex science effectively, and understand and appreciate the interconnectedness of ecosystems and habitats. BEMP provides everything teachers and students need to engage in environmental education, including transportation, supplies, and bilingual curriculum (Spanish and English). Local and federal entities like the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps or Engineers, and tribal governments use student-collected data to inform resource use and stewardship practices and policies.
Undergraduate student demands for immersive college experiences and career-focused readiness keep rising. FHL Foundation can name and provide start-up for NSM’s first undergraduate research fund.
Robust undergraduate research programs are features of progressive higher education institutions seeking to attract talented students interested in solving tomorrow’s challenges. The grant would direct research-related support to undergraduate students who receive one-on-one mentorship from faculty mentors across NSM’s six departments and four centers; undertaking vibrant research in disease treatment efficacy, industry-linked data analytics, environmental hazards, sustainable energy plus so much more. Through NSM’s Office of Undergraduate Education, invitations of interest would be issued to both undergraduate students and faculty mentors. Guidelines for the identification of program participants with established criteria will ensure transparency and equity. These competitive processes encourage strong candidate selection and the best likely stated metrics achieved. Successful program completion allows students to gain new hard and soft skills towards their chosen academic fields of interest. NSM is focused on ensuring our enthusiastic learners are ready for the next phase of their careers. The Foundation, like UT Dallas was built on industry and science working closely together; providing value to communities. The proposal is pleased to also include consideration of a naming opportunity to create the Frederick H. Leonhardt Foundation Lounge. Here, the Foundation’s investment can catapult additional partner linkages that can further improve student success.
FHI seeks to resume our award-winning educational camps on culture, food sovereignty, climate resilience and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics for Indigenous Youth.
Since 2016, we have provided educational Award-Winning STEM cultural camps. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Native communities. Indigenous communities are located in rural areas and reside in impoverished areas. Many families don't have access to essentials for staying safe and healthy. Indigenous youth graduation rate is at 65.8%, while their non-Native peers are at a higher graduation rate in New Mexico. In the Pueblo of Jemez, students are 100% eligible for free/reduced lunch, which shows the poverty level in the Pueblo village. Pueblos in New Mexico are relatively small and impoverished. The Pueblo population is generally small, low-income communities with a statistically high population of people with less than high school education. FHI educational STEM/TEK camps are a means of building cultural capacity. These camps improve climate change resiliency while increasing food security and an interest in STEM fields. We use a culturally responsive educational model where camp staff and partnering educators teach a hybrid of western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Also, students have access to a community garden to practice traditional farming methods. This unique combination provides an opportunity for students to learn from cultural experts and Native American scientists about how we monitor and care for the natural world, both from an Indigenous and a western scientific perspective.
To improve habitat, biodiversity, and stewardship, the VNC is involving students and volunteers in updating our native plant nursery, restoring habitat, and promoting use of native vegetation.
Use of native plants in landscaping makes a remarkable impact for migratory and resident birds, butterflies and other pollinators, and biodiversity. With coastal, desert, tropical, and temperate influences, the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas is one of the most biodiverse regions in the U.S. Two of the four major bird migration routes in the Western Hemisphere converge here. Many resident species can be found nowhere else in the nation. Habitat fragmentation has isolated populations and reduced access to food and shelter. Habitat restoration and the use of native vegetation in landscaping has become urgently important. We encourage students and families to become good environmental stewards. We provide experiential learning opportunities and chances to contribute. In this project, students and families will learn carpentry skills from McCoy’s Building Supply staff and will learn about native plants and habitat. We offer native plants for sale and encourage their use in landscaping and habitat restoration, but the trees around our plant nursery area have now overgrown the space. The concrete slab left when our new education facility was built has been cleared and fenced for the new nursery. We need a 50%-shade-cloth structure with sprinklers and replacement of the 10-year old wooden plant tables. Through building the nursery and habitat, students and volunteers are also building a feeling of ownership of the VNC and responsibility for the environment.
TWP is requesting support for our National Program. We use a human-centric approach to restorative work across the Indigenous West, strengthening Tribes’ climate resilience and cultural lifeways.
TWP’s National Program will use a grant from the FHL Foundation to continue building Tribal communities’ capacity to develop and lead projects in regeneration of their homelands, while connecting them with resources and networks to build a resilient future and reduce the impacts of climate change on future generations. Specifically, this work includes: 1) Our Solar Warrior Empowerment Training workshops, which empower Indigenous youth across the Western US through a hands-on solar education and social/emotional learning approach using the We Share Solar suitcase. 2) Healing and regeneration of Lakota/Oglala Sioux, New Mexican Pueblo and Ute Mountain Ute homelands through watershed restoration projects and reforestation of culturally significant, native conifers and understory fruit-bearing trees. 3) Workshops and projects in regenerative agriculture, food sovereignty and supporting Native communities through COVID-19, led in partnership with the Quivira Coalition, USDA and Intertribal Nursery Council. In a year where many of our peers in the non-profit sector saw decreased revenue, generous, unrestricted program contributions from our community of long-term supporters have allowed us to think big and create outsize impact with our work. We are honored by the FHL Foundation’s past support and look forward to helping you renew your pride in us. As we aim to demonstrate, investments in local climate solutions produce long-term results, and capacity that remains with the people.
The Albuquerque Overbank Project is located on the west bank of the Rio Grande. Continued monitoring of this site is key to ensuring native vegetation is diverse and protected from invasive species.
The Middle Rio Grande bosque (riparian forest) is at risk from climate change, invasive vegetation, and human activities. Governmental agencies need information to address these risks. BEMP engages K-12 students in data collection. The Albuquerque Overbank Project (AOP) was established in 1998 to assess how lowering the riverbank, allowing water to flood into floodplains, impacts ecosystem recovery (ex native vegetation restoration). Agencies like the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District use BEMP data to determine if lowering the riverbank promotes ecosystem recovery over many years. These agencies have used AOP data to justify the need for other riverbank lowering projects and to determine when projects need follow-up engineering to continue promoting ecosystem recovery. BEMP students from La Academia de Esperanza, a Title I charter school, collect five key AOP data points. Students: Collect fallen leaves and branches monthly to assess native vs invasive tree composition. Measure water table depth monthly to evaluate if AOP has the groundwater level that native vegetation needs to thrive. Collect water samples monthly to monitor for E.coli and 50 other substances that indicate water quality and health. Track precipitation monthly to understand/model impacts of changing rainfall amounts on plants and arthropods (insects and spiders). Monitor the number and diversity of arthropods (strong indicators of ecosystem health) 3 times per year.
TWP is requesting support from the FHL Foundation to host four Tribal-led workshops/field days that engage 100 Puebloan producers in the development of climate-informed range management planning.
The increasing susceptibility of rangeland ecosystems in the Southwestern US to catastrophic disaster (persistent drought, rising temperatures) is affecting cultural practices and livelihood opportunities for the Pueblo Peoples in New Mexico. In response, TWP is convening agriculture scientists and educators to develop targeted and effective course content for underserved Native communities on climate-informed rangeland management practices. Indigenous-led, this content will be delivered in a series of 4 practical and hybrid (in-person and virtual) workshops, covering such topics: improving soil health; implementing low-cost, high-impact erosion control structures and monitoring rangeland programs. Hands-on learning opportunities will complement virtual sessions, teaching rotational grazing and stockpiling, native shrubs/grasses incorporation, invasive species removal and soil erosion reduction. TWP is contracting the Quivira Coalition in curriculum development. Since 1997, Quivira has hosted experiential land health workshops for agricultural producers and land managers on regenerative agriculture practices and land management topics, ranging from soil health assessment to planned grazing to biological monitoring. Bringing backgrounds of agricultural biology, conservation programming and 4th generation Puebloan farming from an Indigenous lens, TWP’s National Team (Dr. Valerie Small, James Calabaza & Emily Swartz) are providing project oversight while offering M&E expertise.
SFCT’s Community Conservation Programs provide equitable/inclusive experiences in nature to underserved kids and adults with limited access to local trails and the health-giving benefits of nature.
SFCT works to provide equitable access to nature to the underserved in our community. Passport to Trails program takes school children and family chaperones on field trips on Santa Fe’s 55-mile trail system. 4th and 5th graders from primarily Spanish-speaking Nina Otero Community School and El Camino Real Academy take part, with each grade level completing two hikes per year. Students learn how to read maps and trail signs. They learn about the flora and fauna of the area, how to be outdoors safely and responsibly, and where to hike so they can enjoy the trails on their own with their families. Their passport contains maps of the trails. To motivate the students, at the end of the first hike, each student gets a hydration backpack. Since 2014, we have taken over 3,000 students and their chaperones out to the trails and average about 500 participants per year. Vámonos Santa Fe Walks offers individuals, families, the elderly, the infirm and those afraid to walk alone an opportunity to explore our urban and regional trail system with weekly walks from May - Oct. Regular walking and being outside in nature improves public health, including lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as providing help with weight loss and social isolation. Working to get citizens of all ages and abilities on our trail system connects them to each other and to the natural environment. Vámonos averages about 400 walkers per year.
ICAST is seeking funding to pilot its low-income solar program, Project Sunlight, in New Mexico which includes installation of solar PV and battery storage, serving 1,735 underserved households.
ICAST, a nonprofit that delivers energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to multifamily affordable housing (MFAH) properties to benefit low-income (LI) households, is seeking $15,000 to support its Project Sunlight (PS) program in New Mexico (NM). PS launched in 2019 to address hurdles MFAH properties face in accessing and financing community solar technologies, including inadequate owner knowledge and resources, small project sizes with high transaction costs, and split-incentive between owners and tenants (i.e., owner pays for upgrades, but tenants reap benefits). PS overcomes these barriers by educating MFAH owners and property managers on the benefits of solar, providing low-cost financing, and scaling solar projects through aggregation, all while reducing costs by bundling affordable housing and renewable energy incentives that encourage buy-in from investors. ICAST has partnered with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) to launch PS in rural Penasco, NM, to distribute solar-generated electricity to all MFAH properties in KCEC’s service area. The project includes the installation of solar PV and battery storage, that will generate 2.5MW of solar energy to the benefit of 1,735 LI households. The requested funding will help ICAST cover the cost of the battery storage technologies, which in turn reduce the amount of energy used from the grid, lower utility bills, reduce the carbon footprint, and ensure properties are resilient to the effects of climate change.
FHI seeks to resume our award-winning educational camps on culture, food sovereignty, climate resilience and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics for Indigenous Youth.
As a means of building cultural competency, leadership capacity, climate resilience, and interest in STEM fields among Native American youth in New Mexico, FHI has been providing educational camps on cultural and STEM topics since 2016. Flower Hill’s camps use a culturally responsive educational model where camp staff and partnering educators teach a hybrid of “western” science and STEM topics and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). This unique combination provides an opportunity for students to learn from cultural experts and Native American scientists about how we monitor and care for the natural world, both from an Indigenous and a “western'' scientific perspective. These camps have served over 300 students across four years, and have been funded by both foundations and federal agencies. This proposal is for a continuation of this program taking place in the Fall of 2021. It will serve 40 students, ages 10-16, from Pueblo communities in New Mexico, over two 2-day camps in Jemez Pueblo and the Santa Fe National Forest on weekends in early June of 2022. The curriculum framework for these camps was developed by Brophy Toledo (Jemez Pueblo) and Atherton Phleger, while individual lessons, like water quality or climate resilience, are taught by indigenous guest speakers from academic institutions and Tribal governments. The result is more indigenous students going into STEM fields, increasing the ability of Pueblos to manage environmental quality and cope with climate change
Galvanize campaign to designate 192,000 acres of mostly BLM lands along the Rio Grande in southern Colorado for National Conservation Lands, and bring permanent protection to this significant area.
SLVEC is now pursuing a campaign based on a user-friendly report we recently completed for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The report contains research from several government papers and other relevant documents, ecological/cultural baseline inventory resources, and detailed maps, that elevate the significance of this area. We call attention to the land surrounding the Rio Grande from the south end of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge to the New Mexico state line and recommend actions that will ensure these ecologically and culturally significant values are conserved and perpetuated for future generations. Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla Counties are included in this project area, comprising approximately 192,000 acres. Additionally, we include a considerable area west of the Rio Grande that holds important resource values, such as McIntire Spring and some private lands with conservation easements. This campaign will galvanize a volunteer working group to include grasstop influencers, who will participate in creating a report summary with talking points, develop a local letter writing and social media blitz, and prepare presentation material. These actions will organize a key constituency who will present to County Commissioners, state officials and our federal delegation, to carry support for legislation that designates the region as a National Conservation Area.
One simple action with a high impact on environmental health is large-scale composting. At the landfill, food scraps decay and create methane, but when diverted composting supports the environment.
Reunity Resources has operated a commercial composting facility since 2014. Due to the pandemic, many restaurants and schools participating in the program largely shut down. In response, we began offering a residential doorstep compost collection program. Now, as schools and restaurants reopen, we need to provide education and outreach so that they renew their participation in the program and have the training necessary to compost effectively. This outreach and education program includes: making contact with reopened restaurants to offer education and service, then scheduling and executing the training and implementation of food waste collections; scheduling training sessions with each of the 25 public schools that will reopen to students at full capacity and with cafeteria food service in late summer; designing bilingual info graphics to be used as posters, stickers on bins, and/or magnets on refrigerators; conducting a social media campaign tagging existing partners and participants that provides education on the benefits of composting and how easy it is to begin participating in the program; publicizing an existing state partnership about backyard/at-home composting and grants for participants in rural communities to have their initial home composting system paid for; and implementing a broad based media campaign promoting the expansive environmental benefits of diverting food waste through composting, whether at home, or through our residential and commercial service.