In Taos, a village responds to help youth succeed


An African proverb from the Yoruba and Igbo regions of Nigeria states, "It takes a village to raise a child." The belief is that a community of caring relationships provides youth with strength of character and pride about their own worthiness. They feel loved and acknowledged.

It is often said that Taos is a community of relationships. Connecting with others is an important quality of life here. At Nonviolence Works, we have seen this quality in action particularly this summer with gifts of resources in a variety of ways -- especially for our Familia y Mundo Summer Camp for elementary-aged youth and the Yermos y Montanos Summer Camp for middle school students. Both Cid's Food Market and Super Save hosted food sales in June for NVW to obtain public support. Cid's provides ongoing support with its token can for all customers to donate to NVW.

In support of the tamales sale, El Monte Sagrado chef Christina Martinez and Chai Sipaseuth donated chiles and meat and provided kitchen space for steaming the final products. The youth made enough money to fund their trip to Meow Wolf and to donate to Taos Valley Farms.

Another special gift to our students is the welcoming by Don Peters, director of Not Forgotten Outreach, where youth have learned to be of service by helping care for the animals on-site and weeding the gardens.

The volunteer opportunity is reinforced by Taos Valley Farms, where every Tuesday morning, the YYY youth help care for chickens, pigs and goats, plant vegetables, weed the gardens and learn about healthy nutrition. Joni and Roy Cunningham own the farms and encourage the youth to help make their own lunches by picking vegetables and learning to make smoothies and salads. Micah Roseberry at Farmhouse Café and Bakery contributes food to complete the lunches.

Carol and Don Adams, owners of High Altitude Health and Fitness, provide their outdoor pool for two swimming sessions by both the FYM youth and the YYY students each week.

All of these opportunities have enabled youth to meet caring adults who are demonstrating community-minded businesses and showing their values of caring for others. Some youth may see possibilities for their own future jobs and the power of positive relationships.

Nonviolence Works wishes to thank all of these individuals and their organizations that are making such a positive difference in the lives of our youth.