Learn about UWCNM's Pueblo partner and new sustainability initiatives
Transformational Relationships: A Story of a Foundation and an Institute
Professor Jodi Burshia of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) and Aisha Smith of United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) met in 2019 in Jodi’s yard over a box of books. The box of books was the catalyst to a beautiful discussion and the beginning of a relationship both between Jodi and Aisha, as well as SIPI and UWCNM.
Through meaningful dialogue, expansive listening, difficult conversations, and co-creation, SIPI and UWCNM are working alongside our communities with thoughtfulness and intent. Jodi and Aisha are grateful to work with each other to inspire change and transformation in environments for communities most impacted.
SIPI opened its doors in 1971 and embarked on a journey of changing lives through the power of education. The vision for SIPI was started in 1960 by the All Indian Pueblo Council who desired a school that would serve the Native American Community. Despite multiple potential closures, SIPI remains an accredited community college, as well as a post-secondary training program school to serve Native American students holistically.
Santa Ana Pueblo Partnership
United Way of Central New Mexico has partnered with the Santa Ana Pueblo Department of Education and Tamaya Youth & Wellness to offer virtual afterschool programs to high school and middle school students. Funded by the Los Alamos National Lab Foundation, the educational enrichment workshops focus on:
- Connecting students to community peers and mentors
- Building skills related to self-advocacy, awareness, and expression
- Exploring college, career, and personal interests
- Developing foundations in health and wellness
Food Access and Security Initiatives in Sandoval County
UWCNM’s newest initiative in Sandoval County is coffee grounds composting through a partnership between the Indigenous Farm Hub and NM Pinon Coffee House locations. Composting coffee grounds is an easy way to recycle organic matter while also adding nitrogen to the fertilizer. The Indigenous Farm Hub is a community-supported agriculture organization that provides a mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and local consumers.
The next initiative in progress is a collaboration in Cuba, NM to help bring local produce to the school district. UWCNM will work with a number of food pantries in the area to get fresh and healthy foods to those in need. Alternative methods of funding are being considered for specific projects in hopes of being 100% community-based.
We are in the developmental phase of creating a regional food hub in Sandoval County. The collaboration is with the United Way of British Columbia in Canada and will address the 2nd Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger. This innovative approach to food security through more robust food systems is designed to be sustainable in which every community member has access to fresh and healthy foods while reducing our ecological footprint through composting opportunities for local farmers. This relationship-building endeavor should help build a network of food banks and pantries, local farmers, and schools in Sandoval County working both independently and collaboratively.