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Day After Earth Day: Tree Planting, Spring Cleaning & Youth-led visioning for Skatepark

April 23, 2021

Sponsor a tree in honor of a loved one and beautify the Questa Park: vidadelnorte.com/parktrees or by calling 575-635-2934.

 

Let’s come together in solidarity with local youth to mark Earth Day alongside thousands of other communities around the world. Today, Friday, April 23rd, the day after Earth Day, 10 am – 3 pm, join Vida del Norte’s Active8 youth, Mayor Mark Gallegos and community volunteers at the Questa park, to plant trees, celebrate natural beauty, work to maintain assets at the park and brainstorm ideas to create a cohesive plan for future improvements. 

Also, the Taos Behavioral Health SUCCESS** program will be hosting a SUCCESS ART Gallery on April 23 from 10 till 2 at Questa Youth Center. SUCCESS students use art to express Struggles, Life and SUCCESS. Come experience their work.

All local youth are invited! Please come to create the vision for a skatepark and other projects at the park. All are welcome. If you have them, please bring work gloves and yard cleaning tools, water bottle a hat and layers for variable weather; we’ll have extra gloves donated previously by Questa Lumber and Hardware and additional tools on hand as well, plus lunch for all volunteers.

This project is coordinated by LEAP (Localogy), VIDA del Norte Coalition and Village of Questa. Funding is provided by LOR Foundation, Questa Economic Development Fund, and individual donors. Partners are Taos Behavioral Health SUCCESS program, North Central Food Pantry, and Questa Farmers Market and Taos Bakes.

Continuing a Legacy of Youth Leadership

“The more our youth and we all put back towards our Earth in recycling, repurposing, and planting, we will hopefully find a balance within our whole ecosystem,” says Questa Mayor, Mark Gallegos.

The Questa Park we enjoy today, exists in large part due to the vision and diligence of the Playground Superheroes Project, a group of eight Questa High School student interns hired through a work-study program in 2013-2014 with Chevron Questa Mine, Community Build and the Questa Economic Development Fund.* These motivated students helped transform the Questa park. 

Now, the Vida del Norte Drug Free Coalition’s Active8 members are continuing this legacy of youth leadership as they envision innovations at the Questa park. Plans for a skatepark and other ideas for improvements will be explored and presented on April 23rd. The Active8 youth leaders are Angelica Lovato, Araceli Gonzalez, McKayla Martinez, Kalena Trujillo, Kaylee Piper, Amalia Gonzalez , Alianna Gonzalez, Ashlynn Rael. New recruits are Dominic Vallejos, Patrick Vallejos, Marlayna Vallejos and Esperanza Vallejos.

The first Earth Day was celebrated 51 years ago on April 22, 1970. This holiday was created by U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to mark the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean, and for people to renew their commitment to make positive changes in their community. LEAP’s Earth Day celebrations in Questa, started with a suggestion from Starr, artist, seamstress and friend to many, who passed away in January, 2021. LEAP’s first Earth Day event was the 2014 opening reception for “Seeds: Time Capsules of Wilderness,” an exhibition of artwork by Alta Vista elementary students at OCHO Art + Event Space. Starr’s remarkable Earth Day turtle Banner hung in the window.

This year for Earth Day, gathering outdoors to work safely together is especially meaningful. The day will include planting drought tolerant trees, irrigation system repair, removal of invasive plant species, trash pick-up and brainstorming park improvements. Of course, a hearty lunch for volunteers will be provided midday. Progress on site is our goal, but what’s more important is having fun, strengthening friendships by working together in service and amplifying youth and community voices to shape the future of our park and beyond.
To join the VIDA youth leadership team, contact Maria Gonzalez, maria.gonzalez@vidadelnorte.com or (575)779-2260.

Where: Questa Municipal Park (by the Library and Youth Center)
When: Friday, April 23rd 10 am – 3 pm (the day after Earth Day)
Who: Everyone is welcome!
Cost: Free, lunch provided for volunteers

Event Contact: Claire Coté (LEAP) – emailforleap@gmail.com (575) 224-9066
Youth & Future Skatepark Contact: Maria Gonzalez (VIDA del Norte) – maria.gonzalez@vidadelnorte.com (575)779-2260

*Sourced from: https://www.taosnews.com/news/playground-superheroes-team-keeps-optimism-alive-in-questa/article_cf208386-72e6-57b7-865d-bbdb0f13b95c.html

**SUCCESS (Students Using Courage Confidence & Emotional Support for Success) is a high paced program that offers clinical mental health, CCSS, academic and community support to Student’s age 8 thru 19 in Northern New Mexico. SUCCESS seeks to support adolescents and teens transition into adulthood with skills to navigate emotional stability, healthy decision making and self-advocacy. The unique programming SUCCESS program offers allows for students to engage in Milieu Based therapy groups to, virtual or face to face group therapy and activities along with wrap around services to support life, financial, social, emotional, behavioral, and recreational life domains.  Our Culturally competent programming allows for our students to experience activities outside of their socioeconomic or cultural situation. The program demographic includes students with IEP, Developmental delays, cognitive deficit. Severe Emotional Disturbance, Severe Mental illness, JPO involvement, CYFD protective services involvement, gang involved and substance abusing clients. Approximately 90% of our students come from local Latino, Native American or Anglo families that suffer the effects of generational trauma and colonization. Currently SUCCESS program offers Individual, family, group, and Milieu therapy with a theoretic foundation in family systems and client centered therapy. Active group therapy includes Girls group, Boys Group and LGBTQIA group with a desire to expand to meet additional group needs.  SUCCESS also uses a trauma-based approach to support emotional stability and treatment.  

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