Connecting Youth to Our Heritage

Last June, youth from the Rio Arriba County (RAC) DWI/Juvenile Communities Correction Program, as well as youth from Coyote and surrounding areas, in collaboration with the RAC Senior Program, kicked off two inter-generational landscaping projects at the Dixon Community Center and the Coyote Senior Center.  During the five-week period, activities took place during the time of the County’s senior lunch program at center locations. This presented an opportunity for youth to interact with seniors, which enriched the youth’s cultural understanding and appreciation for the history and wisdom around them. 

“Today, many of our children and grandchildren know very little about the values and traditions of our heritage, hence the purpose of the inter-generational landscaping projects between our youth and the Senior Citizens in the Dixon and Coyote communities,” said Lucy Rendon of the County’s DWI Program. “As youth, we were taught about the value and traditions of our heritage out of necessity. To help make end’s meet alongside our parents and grandparents, we cleaned out the many Acequias in our communities in order to water and tend gardens, fields of alfalfa and grass that fed livestock, as well orchards.” 

According to Rendon, finding avenues to continue spreading valuable life knowledge from older generations to younger ones is very important. This year’s initiation will begin a series of future projects, which will be designed to engage youth and seniors yearly. Planning these highly interactive dialogues is hoped to enrich the societal relationships and local cultural education. Rendon says that by engaging the two generations on similar projects in the future, that youth will have a greater understanding of where they come from and will take an interest in preserving what is slowly disappearing as parents and grandparents pass away: the local heritage. Seniors will also have a chance to learn from today’s youth in a way that is personal and genuine.

Rio Arriba County DWI and Senior Programs express gratitude and appreciation to the following for donations that made these landscaping projects possible:

Home Depot, Santa Fe, NM

Lowes Home Improvement, Espanola, NM

WH Moore Lumber, Hernandez, NM

Dog House Graphics

R&M Enterprises, Alcalde, NM

Coyote Senior Citizens

Little Ceasar’s, Espanola, NM

Ramona Morfin

Pizza Hut, Espanola, NM                                                                  

Erlinda Gonzales & Paul Valdez, Dixon, NM                                   

David Valdez & Evila Rendon, Dixon, NM

Tony & Laura Rendon, Dixon, NM

Gilbert Herrera, Dixon, NM

Lena Sandoval, Dixon, NM

Estafana Romero, Dixon, NM

Ben and Charlotte Valdez, Dixon, NM

Dixon Senior Citizens

Rio Arriba County Commission  

Rio Arriba County Manager’s Office

-Lucy Rendon, August 2012