La Plazita Institute Inc. has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Hispanics in Philanthropy’s Southwest Latino Men & Boys Initiative. This award of $50,000 is to launch La Plazita’s Rudolfo Anaya Urban Barrio Youth Corps program to engage adjudicated and disconnected young people in service to their community with the goal of rebuilding a relationship with themselves and their environment, while providing participants with tangible, hands-on work training, experiential and transformative holistic learning experiences, networking and economic opportunity. Through this program they will complete conservation service projects in the Town of Atrisco Land Grant. La Plazita will field one crew of eight Hispanic, Mexican, Chicano and Native male youth participants, comprised of six members and two leaders. This project will support community based youth-led conservation work to protect and restore local habitats and natural areas, enhance water quality, promote traditional and cultural indigenous urban farming and agriculture practices, including transformative learning and professional and technical training of youth and community. The Rudolfo Anaya Urban Barrio Youth Corps will engage in research, community engagement and advocacy based activities while incorporating a locally based initiation of a Community Supported Agricultural Program to provide locally grown certified organic food and nutrition education to local families and vulnerable children, while providing youth-centered education and social entrepreneurship opportunities and bolstering urban agricultural systems, economic and community development within Bernalillo County and the Town of Atrisco land grant boundaries. “Since the formation of La Plazita in 2004 we have been designing and dreaming about the Rudolfo Anaya Barrio Youth Corps, a program whose intention is to take vulnerable youth of the South Valley to re-engage them with community in positive ways, by helping Elders in the barrio with beautification of land and acequias, by planting seed to grow food for families through La Plazita Gardens, by participating in dialogue/healing circles, ceremonies and cultural activities that replace some subcultural and gang/drug activity.” Says Albino García, Executive Director of La Plazita Institute. “We are pleased and honored by the substantial support offered by Hispanics in Philanthropy and other generous donors to kick off the Rudolfo Anaya Urban Barrio Youth Corps. Maestro Anaya’s writings and books exemplify New Mexico culture, curanderismo and other traditional practices we value and uphold at La Plazita, therefore are humbled to carry his name.” The project will last nine months beginning March 2015 through November 2015, and will create over 5,120 hours of service opportunity, and contribute to the creation of volunteer and scholarship based conservation opportunities for youth and young adults as part of a seasonal urban youth crew.
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