Inspired residents shape their own future

Pajarito Mesa residents, in partnership with Albuquerque-based Youth Development, Inc., joined the Strong Starts for Children initiative to help its residents work together with Bernalillo County commissioners and others to enhance the quality of life for children and their families. The community lacks basic services such as water, electricity and paved roads.  When called, emergency personnel have trouble identifying home locations. Illegal dumping on the Mesa by non-residents is common.

A woman holding up a baby while a man smiles.Through dialogues with individuals representing churches, nonprofits, businesses, schools, health organizations, and the county commissioner’s office, Mesa residents generated a number of action ideas, and have since established:

  • A community center using a donated portable building from Bernalillo County. As part of the center’s services, the staff of Youth Development, Inc., plan to offer free tutoring and support services for the children and families of the Pajarito Mesa.
  • Nonprofit status and a formal executive director for the Pajarito Mesa Foundation with the help of the University of New Mexico School of Law’s clinical program. Since its formalization, the Foundation has seen its meetings become more productive with public officials from Bernalillo County attending and responding to the community’s issues and needs.
  • Six garden plots as a way to increase food security and create a healthy community. In continuing its efforts to maintain a healthy community, Pajarito Mesa is also working with the University of New Mexico’s nutrition program to provide nutrition education to residents and the university’s hospital to provide monthly mobile, healthcare services on the Mesa.
  • A new round of dialogues on community planning with Bernalillo County commissioners and Pajarito Mesa landowners.
August 31, 2012

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