The heart of any organization is the people that commit to serving its broader mission. Here at Border Partners, we are proud to count passionate and dedicated people among our staff. In recognition of all their hard work, we would like to highlight each of them and give an overview of what they do day-to-day to realize our diverse array of projects in Palomas. This month, we will feature profiles on four of our staff members, with the rest following next month. So, let’s get to know our crew!
Juan Rascon, Border Partners General Manager
Serving with Border Partners since 2013 and celebrating his 10-year work anniversary this year, Juan Rascon has undertaken an array of roles throughout that period. He began working in construction of sustainable papercrete blocks. Then, he oversaw the opening of the Education Center, supervising daily operations and offering basic English classes.
As time went on, he took on more responsibility as a primary language translator. Eventually Juan coordinated the many projects in Palomas and worked in administration and operation of finances. Last year, after a period as Assistant General Manager, Juan assumed the role of General Manager of Border Partners.
When asked what he most enjoys about the work through his many years with Border Partners, Juan responded: “I think the success of our work is because we have so many different projects that meet a wide range of needs in the community. I am most passionate about seeing the gratitude of those who participate in our programs.”
Aside from his responsibilities as General Manager, Juan lives in Palomas with his wife Carina and two children Jose Luis and Juan. His family has a soft spot for animals and have rescued several dogs and cats over the years. He describes himself as “an aficionado of everything to do with mechanics and cars.” He likes to spend his free time riding his motorcycle and spending quality time with family.
Victoria Ibarra, Coordinator of the Promotoras
Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Victoria “Viky” Ibarra arrived in Palomas 12 years ago and has been with Border Partners for 11 of those years. She works as the coordinator of the health promoters, or ‘las promotoras,’ who work daily in Palomas to improve the health of people in the community. As coordinator, she tracks expenses, makes the schedule, files monthly reports, and visits local schools to promote public health awareness and healthy eating.
Viky stressed the importance of the healthy and friendly work environment at Border Partners when asked about job satisfaction. She jests: “Aqui nos queremos; no nos gritamos!” (“Here we love one another; we don’t shout at each other!”) She finds meaning in the work through contact with her community and in the opportunity to help and serve them. Besides working for Border Partners, she also acts as secretary for the volunteer fire department in Palomas, where her husband is a firefighter.
Viky lives full time in Palomas with her husband, her older daughter and her almost-2-year-old baby, Emmanuel. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her many nieces and nephews.
Arcelia Amaya: Promotora and Head of Cleaning
Arcelia Amaya is a recent addition to Border Partners, joining the team in January 2023 as a health promoter. She works as cleaning coordinator for the promotoras to maintain cleanliness in the workplace. In addition, she is a certified Zumba instructor and offers classes to women in the community each morning from Monday to Friday at Border Partners’ headquarters.
Of the short time she’s worked here, Arcelia says: “I enjoy how we work as a team. I get along well with my colleagues. And, all the knowledge I’ve gained is very useful.”
She lists workplace harmony, the connection with older people in the community, and the services Border Partners provides as the aspects of her job she enjoys most.
Arcelia lives in Palomas with her 10-year old daughter Ingrid and operates a water purifying business alongside her job with Border Partners. She is a successful local entrepreneur and aspires to have a prosperous business that can help many people. In her free time, she enjoys giving services at her local church, spending time with her daughter, and staying active.
Joel Carreon Minjares, Director of Gardening, a.k.a. “Profe”
Not only has Joel “Profe” (short for “Professor”) Carreon Minjares been working with Border Partners for over two years as the director of the community gardening project. He’s also the director of the local university preparatory school in Palomas, where he has worked for 28 years. Native to Palomas, generations of his family hail from there, and he has served his community in many capacities over the years.
With Border Partners, Joel is passionate about all projects related to sustainability. Right now, he’s working on a collaboration with local students to promote and experiment with sustainable building materials. Further, he’s working to acquire water filtration devices that can help stem the issue of contaminated water common in the region near Palomas. He sees finding new ways to adapt to climate change as a dynamic process. He’s experimenting currently with a process to plant trees in Palomas that will require less water. This is because the issue of overconsumption of water in the agricultural sector is a grave environmental danger. His overarching aim in all this, he says, is to “prepare the next generation of students for the future of environmental and climate change.”
Aside from working with Border Partners, Joel teaches physics and ecology in addition to his responsibilities as director at the high school in Palomas. He is passionate about preparing students for university. In his free time Joel runs a group that provides extra help to students interested in attending university.
Joel was educated himself as an animal agriculture technician. He has three grown children and lives in Palomas with his wife. Above all, he emphasizes, he is most passionate about “developing projects to improve and protect the environment.”
Each staff member of Border Partners forms an integral part of our operations on the ground in Palomas and in ensuring the long-term success of our projects. We are so grateful for the work that they do and the passion they bring to their community!