Taste the Sky emerged out of cloudy skies and the threat of rain at the Los Alamos Airport. Hi everyone! My name is Akane Dunn, and this year I have had the pleasure of producing Taste the Sky for the United Way Youth Team. This event provided a unique dining experience in that guests ate out on the … Continue reading
Coming off a productive first half of the year, United Way of Northern New Mexico is kicked off this year’s Community Campaign with a bang! An off season that saw the start up of a peer to peer mentoring program at Los Alamos High School, a STEM to Read program, and a learning trail shows how … Continue reading
Hello! My name is Jenna Erickson and I am the 2014 chair of the United Way Youth Team. It is such an honor for me to be in this position to work on the events that the team has to present to the community this year. I am so excited for everyone to see what … Continue reading
Learning happens everywhere a child goes, but parents, grandparents and caregivers may not always know how to support that learning. That won’t be the case at Urban Park, right here in Los Alamos! When Mom and Dad, Aunt Amy and Grandpa take their favorite young child to Urban Park now, they’ll be able to play … Continue reading
“Fun!” “Colorful!” “Interesting!” This is what Los Alamos High School students are saying about a new program premiering this upcoming school year. The selecting of this program started its journey when United Way of Northern New Mexico’s Youth Team was interested in reinvesting the money they raised to help current and future students. Through numerous meetings and conversations with people in the community United Way was directed to The Boomerang Project by Dr. Marvel Harrison. This lead to the convening of organizations interested in providing peer to peer support services for our students. The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, LAPS Foundation, YMCA Teen Center, LAHS, LAMS, and United Way of Northern New Mexico came together to begin implementation of Link Crews and WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Crews in Los Alamos High School and Middle School. At the high school level, this peer to peer mentorship program partners incoming freshmen with two upper classman to not only welcome the to the school, but to help them succeed through their tenure at LAHS. At the middle school, incoming seventh graders will be welcomed and mentored by eight graders. The training these crews receive will be invaluable as they grow up to be adults. “I’m incredibly excited for our incoming freshman.” said Carter Payne, Assistant Principle at Los Alamos High School. “I maybe even more excited for the leadership experience the students are getting and their chance to leave a lasting culture at our school.”
In May of 2014, Robyn Collom (LAHS), Bernadette Lauritzen (LAMS), and Jonathan Lathrop (LAHS), attended a training to lay the foundation of the program in Los Alamos. “The best professional development training I’ve ever attended.” says Jonathan Lathrop, who has taught for 17 years “I am absolutely enthused and so confident that this will enhance the positive culture at LAHS.”
A variety of students were approached about being the initial Link Crews and WEB Crews leaders. 60 students from the high school and 47 students from the middle school signed up within a couple of weeks of learning about the program. The students were given a glimpse of what they will be a part of when they had their initial meetings the last week of school. “Before the meeting started, some students were quiet, stern, and keeping to themselves.” said Jeremy Varela, from United Way “By the end of the meeting they were all smiling and giggling with the friends they just made.” In the Fall of 2014, incoming freshmen and 7th graders were treated to an orientation unlike any ever seen in Los Alamos. Varela continues, “What better way to kick off a new school year than making new friends?”
“The program aligns with the 40 Developmental Assets and that is one of the reasons it will be successful.” said Bernadette Lauritzen, LAMS Prevention Specialist “Students helping students succeed has the ability to change the culture in schools.”
The YMCA Teen Center has offered the space given the program the ability to do activities and meetings year-round.
“Over the past 11 years of teaching, this program was life changing.” says Robyn Collom, “I am thrilled to use the tools I learned, share the enthusiasm and energy this program has sparked in me. It is exciting to build on the positive momentum the high school is already on.”
Nonprofits are a staple in making a community a great place to live, but what nonprofit has the ability to address the most pressing overall needs of the community? It’s your United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM). This past year UWNNM has been working with the health councils, public schools, and other community … Continue reading
Because of the generosity of residents in our community, United Way of Northern New Mexico is able to provide resources to focus on greater community needs. Helping a neighbor, helping a friend, and bettering our community. Here is an example of how we Live United. We invite you to be a part of making your community a great place to live.
Pat Soran and Ann Hayes have lived and worked in Los Alamos for nearly 50 years. “Los Alamos is a special community that has given us much. Our children had the benefit of good schools and a nurturing environment.” Pat said when we had the opportunity to talk with them recently. “We would like to help ensure that future generations of Los Alamos residents also reap these benefits.” After the Cerro Grande fire some years ago, the couple talked about what they would do if their home been one of those destroyed by the fire. “The pluses of staying far outweighed the cons of relocating.”
Pat is a PhD in Nuclear Engineer., Captain (USNR), University of California employee for 27 yrs. Pat co-founded the Los Alamos Lunch Buddies Board Program (now part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters). From 1997 to 2005 he coordinated efforts to rebuild all of Los Alamos Tot Lots. Pat served on the Board of Directors and Chair of Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico for 12 years. He is a 20 year member of Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos. Pat is a Master Woodworker of boxes, furniture, and wooden vases.
Ann has a Master’s degree in Computer Science and was a LANL employee for 23 years. She is the President of local Foundation which served children of northern New Mexico and is a member of Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos.
“We try to give our charitable contributions to organizations such as the United Way that fund local causes. We also support the American Cancer Society and military service causes. We have volunteered through Kiwanis, the Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico, and the Los Alamos Lunch Buddy Program. We feel we have lived a very gifted life and need to ‘pay it forward’. Our children are all on their own, with their own families, and we now have the time and energy to devote to those causes that we feel help our neighbors and community.”
We all have a reason that we give… What’s yours?
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