The United World College-USA has joined five Las Vegas educational institutions along with the city to provide volunteer opportunities for students.
Representatives from UWC-USA, City of Las Vegas, New Mexico Highlands University, Luna Community College, and Las Vegas and West Las Vegas school districts on Sept. 11 signed an agreement to create Vecinos Juntos de Las Vegas.
“This is a historic day in Las Vegas,” said Mayor Louie Trujillo. “This is the largest volunteer organizational effort Las Vegas has ever seen.”
UWC-USA has been involved with community volunteering for years–to the tune of 17,000 hours per year.
“Mayor Trujillo’s vision to unite the various educational institutions in the area, and coordinate through the city to provide volunteer hours to meet individual needs as well as the needs of non-profit organizations, is really exciting and something we knew we wanted to be a part of right away,” said Victoria Mora, president of UWC-USA. “It is wonderfully consistent with our own work with students to learn how to be part of a sustainable community, wherever they come from and wherever they land.
The mission of Vecinos Juntos – which means “neighbors together” in Spanish — is to make volunteerism a force for promoting the concept that we are all neighbors sharing an uncommon commitment for the common good.
The first project scheduled for Oct. 3 will be painting the Bridge Street bridge over the Gallinas River in Las Vegas and gazebos in the Plaza, South Pacific and Lincoln parks, Trujillo said.
“We’re also brainstorming for new projects and volunteer opportunities including snow removal for the elderly, litter eradication, weatherizing homes, and (providing) firewood,” he said. “The list goes on and on.”
Mora will serve on the Vecinos Juntos Advisory Council along with Trujillo, NMHU President Sam Minner, LCC Interim President Dr. Kenneth Patterson, Las Vegas Schools Superintendent Larryssa Archuleta and West Las Vegas Schools Superintendent Christopher Gutierez.
“Personally, I’m excited by the message we are sending as vecinos (y vecinas!) unidos(as): we don’t have to buy into the politics of division here in Northern New Mexico,” Mora said. “We can be united around the common good, and take care of one another, like we were taught by our abuelas and abuelos.”