Last year was a productive one for Opportunity Santa Fe (OSF) and our Collaborative Working Groups (CWGs) — filled with many accomplishments and new insights. In 2019, we supported 14 CWGs and their work in ways that will to help turn the curve for the children and youth of the City of Santa Fe. Below are a few of the highlights from OSF and our CWGs:
Opportunity Santa Fe
- We welcomed four new VISTAs to the Opportunity Santa Fe team: Sarah Canelas, Christopher Torres, Lhadze Bosiljevac, and Emily McClintock. Learn more about our VISTAs here.
- We built upon last year’s success utilizing AmeriCorps Summer Associates by welcoming 15 new Summer Associates in 2019. Throughout the summer they supported the working groups on a multitude of projects and tasks. They worked with the Santa Fe Community Educators Network, Poder Familiar, the Reading Group, STEM Scaffold Santa Fe (s3), TechHire/SkillUp Santa Fe, and Santa Fe ¡Convive!
- Opportunity Santa Fe hosted the Volunteer Fair at Mandela International Magnet School for the third consecutive year, in partnership with the Santa Fe Public Schools and Communities In Schools of New Mexico. This year we had a record turnout and recruited over 200 volunteers for the many youth- centered nonprofit organizations and agencies in Santa Fe.
- Working with the Reading Group, we distributed over 4,000 books to underserved children and schools in the City of Santa Fe through the First Book Grant, and hundreds of books donated by the community for the Festival of Learning and Fiesta Para Bebés.
Early Childhood Steering Committee
- Early Childhood Steering Committee partners, including United Way of Santa Fe County, were leaders and active participants in policy advocacy that resulted in legislation establishing a new Early Childhood Care & Education Department and development of a statewide Early Childhood Business Plan.
Santa Fe ¡Convive!
- ¡Convive! planned and hosted 10 Family Resource Nights which provided parents with information on many programs and resources in Santa Fe. This year the family resource nights covered a variety of subjects, including Financial Literacy, Infant Massage, Healthy Snacks, Preventing Ear Infections/Colds/Flu, and more. On average, ¡Convive! was able to reach 13 families and 26 children at each of the 10 family resource nights.
The Reading Group
- The Reading Group hosted the Galaxy Club, an After-School Program at Sweeney Elementary, which resulted in 24 children improving their literacy abilities:
- 95% of the students showed an average growth of 1.35 years in oral reading; and
- 91% showed growth on the standardized iStation reading.
- They held two 2-week intensive summer camp interventions for over 40 second and third graders in Santa Fe’s public schools.
- May Center, a Reading Group partner, trained over 130 teachers throughout the SFPS district; Reading Quest worked with over 120 teachers in southside schools.
- In partnership with the Southwest Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, the Reading Group made recommendations to the New Mexico Legislature and advocated for the successful passage of Senate Bill 398: Dyslexic Early Identification and Interventions, which applies to all public schools in the state.
- MathAmigos coordinated and hosted two Family Math Nights, with
- more than 650 parents and children attending the two events. Through collaboration with Poder Familiar, the group was able to better engage Southside families.
- They hosted six days of teacher workshops – a total of 72 sessions — for teachers to learn innovative ways to teach math. Through these workshops MathAmigos trained more than 100 public elementary school teachers.
Santa Fe Community Educators Network (CEN)
- CEN hosted its annual teacher resources fair, Teachers Night Out, which engaged 40 organizations and provided classroom resources for teachers within the Santa Fe Public Schools.
- Over the course of three months, 175 Middle Schoolers participated in Creative Collaborations, through which six organizations provided curriculum and programming.
- CEN engaged and served over 160 students and 100 adults through the Adelante Program, providing education programs for Santa Fe public school children and families experiencing homelessness.
- Partnering with the City of Santa Fe for the third year, CEN provided programming for over 110 students at Sweeney Elementary Summer Youth Program. Over twelve organizations participated in the six weeks of programming.
STEM Scaffold Santa Fe (s3) (STEM Scaffold)
- STEM Scaffold engaged over 55 Capital High School AVID sophomore students in STEM mentorship, where they worked on two projects inspired by the Laser Harps at Meow Wolf and the solar sun-tracker at Santa Fe Community College.
- Eight Santa Fe Community College students were trained as paid STEM mentors and attended 13 weekly classroom sessions.
Truancy Working Group
- The Truancy Working Group hosted an Attendance Kickoff for 2019 and began outreach efforts to decrease the number of absences, and introduced incentives for students who showed improvement.
- They partnered with Dollars 4 Schools to provide attendance incentives for students, and items for Peace Corners at Kearny and Ramirez Thomas Elementary Schools.
- Reconnecting Youth launched Youth Advocacy Training sessions with more than 100 young people participating. The training included civic engagement and arts-based activities designed around priority areas identified in the 2017 Reconnecting Youth Survey data.
- They hosted three Leadership and Advocacy Trainings at Santa Fe Indian School, attended by more than 50 youth.
- This group held two meetings with the Youth Shelter Transitional Living Program and, by creating a mural, developed an advocacy-based program.
- Campus Connections coordinated and hosted 13 Ticket to College workshops, resulting in over 135 high school seniors completing placement tests and FAFSA applications.
- This group conducted three PROTEC Accelerated Trainings and hosted up to 100 hours of paid internships for 16 students.
- TechHire coordinated numerous coding and media activities in Santa Fe, including middle school students coding with the SFPS Superintendent, local students coding and filming with a City Councilor and the Mayor, plus fieldtrips to Meow Wolf, Descartes Labs, and the Santa Fe Studios.
SkillUp Santa Fe
- SkillUp planned and participated in multiple career fairs, including Job Expo for Youth in Santa Fe, SFCC Hiring Fair and Employer Forum (over 30 employers), all building on Santa Fe Community College’s Employer Community Survey.
- They developed assessment tools, training programs, and partnerships with employers for core skills, career pathways, and skill-based hiring by:
- Meeting with Santa Fe High Schools on career readiness, to better understand the lack of connectivity for students to jobs, including internships and part-time jobs; and
- Identifying gaps in job and internship opportunities for youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 30.
- They also partnered with Campus Connections to conduct a survey that provided insight as to why students abandon their college studies.
Santa Fe Mentoring and Tutoring Collaborative (SFMTC)
- SFMTC hosted an annual National Mentoring Month Event to celebrate mentors and tutors in Santa Fe, which attracted more than 65 attendees.
- They coordinated and hosted the Festival of Learning in partnership with over 30 organizations, including OSF partners such as STEM Scaffold Santa Fe (s3), The Reading Group, and MathAmigos. More than 300 families attended this event at the Santa Fe Convention Center.
- Poder Familiar engaged and served 35 Capital High School students, including young parents, last year.
- They offered three Abriendo Puertas leadership development classes (10 sessions each) for parents to learn about their community and their children’s education. Twelve parents graduated by attending all ten sessions.
- This group held the week-long El Puente Leadership Academy and engaged over 20 youth in leadership development.
- In partnership with Santa Fe Community College, the University of New Mexico, and New Mexico Highlands University, Poder Familiar hosted three bilingual College and Continuing Education Nights that reached more than 50 community members.
- Poder Familiar invited and engaged at least 20 adults, the Mexican Consulate, and WESST trainers and consultants, in two closed “conversations” focused on adult continuing education. Following these two discussions, Poder Familiar hosted a third open meeting on adult education and small business development, at which 30 adults participated.
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
- This group hosted a full-day Mindfulness Retreat in the fall to allow partners to experience the restorative powers of meditation. About 20 attendees learned mindfulness techniques and, among other exercises, enjoyed an organic lunch in silence.
- TIC began compiling a Trauma-Informed Care Toolkit that will be helpful for various local organizations and agencies interested in aligning their goals and priorities with the latest trauma-informed techniques.
We are grateful to know that, through these efforts, we have collectively served over 900 youth and more than 300 teachers, as well as hosted 29 events and 162 trainings for teachers, parents, and youth. We sincerely thank all Opportunity Santa Fe partners for the time and effort they put into supporting Santa Fe’s teachers, families, and youth. We look forward to the great work we will accomplish together in 2020.