Border Partners to Hire General Manager

Border Partners is hiring a General Manager to administer and oversee all operations and programs of the agency. An announcement of the position follows. A complete job description is found here: Join Our Team!

Description: The General Manager is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring and quality control of all operations of Border Partners, and reports to the Board of Directors; provides effective professional leadership; ensures sound financial management; oversees all staffing functions; seeks funding opportunities and submits grant applications; and is responsible for community interaction both in the U.S. and Palomas, Chihuahua. The Manager makes frequent trips into Palomas, Chihuahua, and must be bilingual and knowledgeable of Mexican culture, values and practices.

Qualifications: Bilingual; experience in project/business management, strong communication skills, personnel management, financial management; preferred experience with non-profit organizations, and grant writing/reporting experience.

Location: This is a full-time position with the General Manager working from their home office; frequent trips to the Border Partners office in Palomas, Chihuahua are required; company car is provided.

Salary: Mid to upper $30,000 range.

Application Information: Deadline for receipt of applications is: January 31, 2022

Submit resume, letter of application and three professional references to:
Lucy D. Williamson, President,
Board of Directors, Border Partners
PO Box 1433
Columbus, NM 88029
307-760-9027
EOE

Border Partners, a 501(c)3 corporation in Deming, NM, seeks to unite people from both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border by sharing resources, ideas, and experience in order to improve life for people living in poverty along the border.

Training to help: Promotoras earn certificates, Maintain community activities

Border Partners’ Promotoras earned a certification for the cumulative trainings they’ve taken over the past months. 

During the busy month of December 2021, Border Partners’ Promotoras made time to attend and participate in a training at the Asención Medical Center. This

A Border Partners’ Promatora receives the certification she’s earned.

training taught them concepts related to Early Childhood development. The Promotoras will use this information to strengthen the skills of local new moms in Palomas.

 
Although our Promotoras are also busy on the ground, a promotora is always improving her knowledge of health principles. By definition, a promotora is a Latina community member who receives specialized training so that she can in turn provide basic health education in the community without being a professional health care worker herself. At the training in Asención which was led by registered nurses, our Promotoras were surrounded by nurses from local area. Asención is the seat of government of the municipality, comparable to a county seat in the United States.
 

Changes due to COVID

Covid tests are now available on an “as needed” basis for free for the Palomas community. All our Promotoras are trained to administer these tests. This week they began assisting border officials to take temperatures of everyone coming across the border from the United States. And, of  course, as they have been since the pandemic began, all Border Partners’ staff are executing safety procedures necessary to mitigate the pandemic’s spread as they continue their work.
 
Due to the recent upsurge in the COVID pandemic, Palomas schools are once again closed this month until further notice. However, the Promotoras will still conduct virtual workshops for prepa (high school) students by using Zoom technology.
 
As a result of the pandemic, the Mexican schools are no longer allowed to have students eating meals on site. In concern that the students would not be fed, local elementary principals have turned to us for assistance. Promotoras distributed 300 school sack lunches that we provided in December for students to take home with them. Although school is currently closed, the Promotoras plan to again conduct a distribution of sack lunches for local children before the end of January 2022. 
 

These are a few of the students who received school sack lunches in December.

Looking towards 2022

This month, on December 13, the budget committee of the Border Partners Board of Directors met with the staff in Palomas to hear their ideas for potential projects for 2022. We asked again, as we do frequently:

  • What are the urgent needs in Palomas now?
  • Are there new projects BP could be doing that would meet these needs?
  • Are there changes to current projects that would make them better meet needs?

They met in small groups and came up with many good ideas which fell into four categories.

Gardening

Juan Lares, who is a gardening staff person and provides computer/technical assistance to the schools (and our staff) shared his ideas with the group. His team would like to build a third greenhouse in order to grow more vegetables to include in food baskets for needy families. It would be possible to conserve garden water usage if we used a drip irrigation system. Additionally, installing a light system would also work with drip irrigation to increase garden production. The light system would be powered by a solar panel, using costless energy.

Education

Joel Carreron, Gardening Coordinator, expressed concerns to us about the low number of students who are able to graduate from the college preparatory high school in Palomas. This is primarily because their families are not able to afford the tuition. We discussed having the students work for Border Partners to earn their tuition. Many possible ways they could help were suggested, including:

  • making sandwiches for the school lunches BP provides,
  • weeding the gardens,
  • repainting playground equipment,
  • assisting in the Education Center etc.

Health

Gloria Aguilar, one of the Promotoras, spoke for a group that suggested we make some changes in the food baskets. One important idea shared was to ensure that the baskets contain only foods that the families know how to use.

Another suggestion was to conduct a survey to find more families in dire financial need to receive food assistance.

Education Center

Everyone is hoping that we can open the BP Education Center early in 2022. Access to internet and classes are needed in computing skills for adults and teens. There is also hope that the computers we provided 8-10 years ago to create computer labs in the schools can be replaced with newer ones.

Thanks to our generous partners in the US, we know that many of these projects will happen in 2022.  

Food donation from Colorado helps border hunger crisis

Images from the donation securing trip. Lower right: Esmeralda Hernandez-Dorcas Coordinador (Greeley Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church) with Melissa Reyes of Border Partners

Many families are hungry in Palomas and nearby communities this holiday season. With the assistance of several generous partners, Border Partners has been able to distribute food boxes to hundreds of families during the last 18 months. And, with additional donation support, we’ll give another 200 boxes before Christmas.

This month, we received a particularly amazing donation of food and other supplies from two different groups that are part of the Greeley (CO) Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church. This congregation has already blessed us with support in the past.

Melissa Reyes, Border Partners’ General Manager, and her parents drove her parents’ truck to Greeley, Colorado, where they lived before moving to Deming, NM. They loaded the truck with a collection of groceries, diapers and baby equipment that church members organized. The donation’s value totalled $2,700. The trip took place November 4th through the 7th.

With this influx of supplies, we distributed 200 food baskets in Palomas and the surrounding area before Thanksgiving:
100 baskets in Palomas,
30 baskets in Entronque,
40 baskets in Victoria, and
30 baskets in Modelo.
Thanks to this generous support, 465 people benefitted from food assistance in US-Mexico border communities.

Pathfinders: Youth in action 

The Greeley Pathfinders youth group took the initiative to collect for us door-to-door at Thanksgiving time. The young people decided as a club to donate all the food they collected to Border Partners. We received this food free of charge. The Pathfinders are a service organization–much like the Boy and Girl Scouts–but they are involved in Church and activities to help them be a service to the community.

The food from the Pathfinders campaign arrived in Palomas last week and will be given out in our Christmas Food Baskets. Enjoy photos of the youth in action:

12-2021  Pathfinder food collection 

The food baskets Border Partners distributes are incredibly helpful for people that currently are unemployed or have children that they can’t support. Mexico doesn’t have food stamps or WIC for residents. COVID has made their situation worse, but–even before COVID–the food supply has never been adequate for the poor. Food prices in border towns are incredibly inflated and the residents’ salaries don’t suffice for their needs.

Families that receive the food basket participate in a survey that helps us determine their level of need. Many people qualify for the program. Seniors, single mothers and large families participate in our food basket program.

Most families have a vehicle to take food home. But, if they don’t, our staff takes them home. This is especially important for our seniors who might find carrying the basket to be impossible.

The Greeley (CO) Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church congregation was once the worshipping community in which our General Manager Melissa Reyes participated. Through her, they are aware of our work and enthusiastically support what we’re doing.

We appreciate the Greeley (CO) Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church and all the partners who allow us to support people who are in need in our border community.

What to do with all that chard!

A morning meeting of the Promotoras with Helena Myers (2nd from left) and Polly Edmunds (R)–members of the Border Partners Board of Directors.

By Helena Day Myers, with assistance from Polly Edmunds

The greenhouses in Palomas are full of green vegetables right now. So, I thought it would be a good idea to meet with the Promotoras and brainstorm with them some ways to use these healthy veggies in their daily meals for 30 seniors and shut-ins.

Last week, we harvested chard and spinach greens and made a taco filling using ground beef with chopped up chard, spinach, onion, garlic, zucchini, and jalapeños. We added a can of black beans, diced tomatoes, cilantro and a pinch of salt.

While everyone chopped and then let the filling simmer, we talked about different ideas they’ve tried for using the garden produce of greens. These Mexican women told us that they use greens when making enchiladas, stew, and soup. They also add them to eggs, quesadillas and rice. They know these greens “pack a powerful nutritional punch!”

Local homemade food

 

Vicky, one of the Promotoras, brought home-made tortillas. So, we used them to make tacos with the filling, and we topped the tacos with salsa and cheese. Everyone decided it was a recipe worth keeping.

The next day, tacos were the main dish served as part of the meals-on-wheels program Border Partners does in Palomas five days a week. The six Promotoras take turns preparing meals daily and delivering them to the various homes of elders in need. They say it is so gratifying to see the elders in their homes and have a short–but very necessary–visit with them.

 

The meals on wheels ready to deliver

Postscript

This week we went back to help the Promotoras with their cooking and were excited to see that the main dish for the day was a stew made from bags of chard and spinach from the garden sauteed with some zucchini and onion. They served it with cubes of cheese for protein.

Cross-cultural learnings celebrate the Day of the Dead in Palomas

Lucia Hernández Huerta and Jorge Ayala Zúñiga, costumed students from the Palomas High School explained the meaning of the altar and the decor that commemorates the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.

Cross-cultural exchanges are an important component of the blessing that is Border Partners. We experienced this blessing again recently when the Border Partners’ Palomas staff invited our Board of Directors to a wonderful celebration of the Day of the Dead last Friday. Upon entering the office in Palomas, the group was charmed with authentic music, a lovely altar–typical of others all over Mexico–and people in costumes depicting well-dressed skeletons.

Costumed students from the Palomas high school provided an explanation for the elements of this unique Mexican celebration. Standing alongside an altar they constructed for the Day of the Dead, they explained that families make altars to remember – joyfully – and to honor their loved ones who have died.

The altars usually consist of three levels. These levels represent heaven, earth and the world in between. Laid on the altar are a variety of common items which represent the dead:

  • candles (to light the way to the altar),
  • yellow marigolds (to guide the spirits with their scent),
  • salt (to prevent the body from breaking down on it’s journey),
  • photos of the deceased and
  • some of their favorite foods or objects.

After the presentation by the high school students, we enjoyed “pan de muerto”, a special sweet bread made all across Mexico for this special celebration.

The Board of Directors was grateful for the effort many made to celebrate this day and provide a unique learning opportunity. 

Happy Day of the Dead to all! Feliz Dia de los Muertos.

Enjoy these images from the celebration! Click on any image to enlarge it for a better view and more information.

Visiting journalist praises Border Partners’ work

Border Partners staff and leaders received praise from journalist Morgan Smith after his recent visit to observe their activities.

We hosted journalist Morgan Smith on his September visit to the US Mexico border. With pride, we point you to his column reporting on what he saw and learned. It’s entitled “Humanitarians quietly making a difference on the border” which appeared in the El Paso Times. His section on our work in Palomas is excerpted from the article (below).

Making a Difference on the Border

On Monday morning, Labor Day, we walk across the border at Palomas for the highlight of our tour, which is a visit with Border Partners. The nonprofit was organized in November 2008 and plays a dominant role in Palomas and the surrounding area with a huge array of programs including:

  • Training “promotoras” who can provide basic medical care, particularly for pregnant women
  • Health fairs and exercise classes
  • Providing masks and school supplies for students
  • A home garden program
  • The installation of computers in schools and computer classes
  • Delivering hot meals to isolated seniors and the disabled.

We meet Juan Rascón, their Palomas representative, and Melissa Reyes, the general manager, as they and their staff are loading three trucks for a delivery of food to three tiny towns to the south: El Modelo, El Entronque and Victoria.

Twice a month they make the trip, bringing 100 containers loaded with basics like potatoes, beans, noodles, eggs, flour, instant milk, toilet paper, cans of barley for soup and hand wipes. This time they also have school supplies and T-shirts for the kids.

Our truck goes to El Entronque where a line of recipients has formed, all wearing masks. It’s an emotional moment as Border Partners fills in for a government that is absent.

There are powerful humanitarian forces along the border, including the volunteers who are helping Pedro in Hatch recover from his fall, the young teacher who runs the Tarahumara school, Dulce and Viri at Vision in Action, and Melissa and Juan and their leadership at Border Partners.

They may not make the headlines, but they do make an enormous difference in the lives of those who live along the border.

Ups and Downs in Palomas: October 2021

by Polly Thomson Edmunds
Co-Founder of Border Partners

 

Border Partners focuses on improving lives in Puerto Palomas and its border area.

I visited Palomas yesterday for the first time in months. It was such a pleasure to be back! The staff impressed me because they seemed very well-organized and friendly. I saw the new Border Partners office for the first time. It’s centrally located and boasts great space for all the work that’s accomplished there.

During the morning, the staff gave out boxes of food to 100 families whom school personnel suggested as in need of food. I was very proud to be part of Border Partners!

Viki Ibara & son

But, at the same time, I wished that we could have included more food in the boxes. There were no fresh vegetables this time because the gardens had none ready to pick and there’s not enough money to purchase them in Palomas. Each box contained:

  • dry beans,
  • two packages of a rice mix fortified with dried soy,
  • potatoes,
  • dried milk,
  • eggs,
  • white flour,
  • two packages of ramen noodles,
  • a roll of toilet paper and
  • some bleach.

Fortunately, now’s the time to plant in our Palomas gardens. The summer weather has cooled. Beginning now and continuing through the winter is an excellent growing season for cool weather crops like spinach, carrots, broccoli and chard.

Reconnecting: Engaged Co-Workers

Promotora Maria prepared the daily meal for 25 shut in elderly Palomas residents.

I was very happy to see my old friend, Viky Ibarra, and to meet her son, Manuel. Viky was one of our first promotoras. She continues her work now as the coordinator of the group. She’s excited about all she is learning in her new role. When you ask her what she likes best, she responds: “Being able to help my community!”

Viky toured me through the office where the promotoras check blood pressure and glucose levels several times a week.

Throughout the morning, Maria, one of the new promotoras, was cooking the daily meal for 25 seniors in the kitchen at the area of the room. She made chicken flautas, potatoes and a salad with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado. It made a beautiful plate!

Ricardo came by to introduce himself to the Border Partners’ staff. He’s the new principal of the Ramon Espinoza Primary School and is hoping that Border Partners can help with some food for their students. I learned that vaccines are now available to children 12-17 in Palomas.

I went home exhilarated by the energy of our staff to keep all the programs they provide going!

Monthly food distributions benefit needy

A physically challenged elder returned home with his food basket using his walker to help him safely get the supplies there.

People were already lined up when we arrived in each of three small towns around Palomas yesterday for our monthly food distribution. By the time we left Entronque, the last stop, we had given out 101 baskets filled with food which would feed 362 adults and children who are having trouble right now making ends meet.

The baskets contained rice, beans, flour, milk, potatoes and fresh vegetables from Border Partners’ gardens! The people are very grateful. One of the recipients – a woman with six children – wrote us a note to thank us:

Thanks from the heart

I am very grateful for the help that you have given me. This last year I had high expenses due to my cancer treatments. I sell used clothing, do cleaning and make bread to sell. My older daughters work part time, but are full time students and money is really stretched. BP and the foods baskets have been a blessing to us. We truly appreciate all of you!”

Already in 2021, Border Partners has given 1,430 food baskets to families and seniors in Palomas and the surrounding communities (Modelo, Entoronque and Victoria). Many individuals and groups have assisted with this effort.

  • Paso del Norte Health Foundation,
  • the UU Fellowship in Silver City, and
  • many individuals have given us money to buy food.

 

  • Churches in Colorado and
  • Colores United in Deming (NM) have given us filled boxes.

 

  • Grocery stores in Palomas give us a discount.
  • Diaz Farms in Deming gives us dry beans.

The families are very grateful. We truly appreciate all of you.

Finally! School starts again in Palomas!

As of September 6, schools in Palomas and the surrounding areas have resumed from their termination of live sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The kids are so excited to be back in school again. About 1,000 children and their teachers returned last week to the two preschools, two elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools (one public and one private) in the town of Palomas after 18 months closed due to COVID-19. In addition, the 700 children who attend schools in Columbus and Deming, NM in the United States started back earlier in August.

Now Border Partners can again assist the schools to provide a healthy experience for the children too. School officials asked Border Partners for masks for children who did not have them. We could provide those needed masks thanks to a donation from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Silver City, NM. We are also purchasing notebooks, pencils and other school supplies for children who need them. The boy in the photo at the top of this post proudly displays his new school suppllies.

Our Supportive Services to Schools

In addition, the Border Partners’ Promotoras will return to a full time schedule with health and nutrition workshops rotating among the schools in Palomas and the Colonias. Our computer staff will be visiting the schools in the next weeks to check the computers in the school labs to make sure they are working well.

Although we are not yet able to resume providing supplemental, healthy foods for school lunch programs because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, we hope that providing supplemental food will be possible soon. And, our gardeners are looking forward to getting back to planting and growing vegetables again with students.