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.
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.
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.
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.
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.