I grew up in an inner-city housing project. Our neighborhood functioned as an ecosystem where bartering and affordable labor sustained the community. People, who had time, babysat for those who worked. People, who sewed, made custom items for their neighbors. When children outgrew clothing, their old clothes would be given to a child who could fit them. Those who had cars drove their neighbors to the markets and doctor's appointments. I loved and valued our village.
As an adult, I support my village by providing money, services, and items. I also uplift my community by volunteering with local schools, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Below are links to media coverage about my volunteer work:
City of Albuquerque Arts Board: link to an article about the Albuquerque Arts Board. I was appointed to the Board by Mayor Berry. The responsibilities of the Board are to maintain and increase the assets of the multi-million dollar art collection that belongs to the city of Albuquerque.
Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque (IRRVA): link an article in the Albuquerque Journal about the difficulties refugees and immigrants are having with getting adequate support in local public schools.
Women's Global Pathways: link to an article/interview about experiences related to teaching English to immigrants and refugees.
Heart Gallery: link to the a list of photographers who have photographed children who are in the NM foster care system. I served as a Heart Gallery photographer in the early-mid 2000s. Children, whose photos are included in the Heart Gallery, tend to have a harder time finding forever homes. Often the children are older, part of sibling groups, and/or have medical issues.
The Academy of the Minds: link to brief video soliciting board games for a charter school.
Supporting Those in Need
ABQ Feeding Our City: In 2017, I created a Facebook page in response to the Trump administration's announcement that it was thinking about reducing the money it spent on school meals.
I live in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the Union. I realized if the administration reduced the number of meals it fed to school-aged children, many families would be unable to cover the gap. In 2021, NM Voices statistics showed approximately one-quarter of the children in NM suffer from food insecurity. The information also showed at least 30% of the children in 13 of the 33 NM counties are food insecure. In six additional counties, 28-29% of the children are food insecurities.
Other Resources: Because I see the need for general support in my state, I have increased the number of resources I share and the geography. I have shared resources about free food, school supplies, and clothing. I have also shared information about job fairs and free health initiatives.
Dolls: I have given away and collaborated with others to give away free dolls in the US, Africa, and the UK.
I also created a collaboration between ITDW and doll creator, Darla Davenport-Powell to give away a free doll and accessories to ITDW listeners. Currently, there are approximately 5K followers of ITDW on various platforms.
Children are our future leaders; so, it is important to educate them. We also need to nourish them physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Educational Support: I discuss my educational support for children in a separate section.
Supporting At-Risk Children: Every year, I donate dolls to different organizations. In 2021, Curiositeej, LLC donated approximately 90 dolls to the local Sandia Doll Club, which is a club under the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC). The dolls were given to impoverished children and our local children's hospital, Carrie Tingley Children's Hospital.
Curiositeej, LLC has also donated dolls to organizations that assist unsheltered people and immigrant and refugee communities. We also collaborate with organizations in Africa and the UK to help more children around the world get Black and Brown dolls.
As an individual, I have also supported children in the foster care, unsheltered, and immigrant and refugee communities.
Supporting Education: As both an individual and a business owner, I am a strong supporter of education. Over the years, I have taught preschoolers through adults; gifted children to developmentally disabled adults; and in a variety of educational institutions including colleges, corporations, and nonprofits that support non-English speakers.
Some of the organizations I have volunteered with include Smarty Pants preschool and daycare and The Academy of the Minds.
I have also volunteered for the Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque (IRRVA); Women's Global Pathways, a subsidiary of IRRVA; my local chapter of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr.; and, local schools and pre-school programs.