After School Program cultivates a Safe, Brave and Culturally excellent space, to nurture healthy and positive growth for young community leaders
By: Anita Lara
OST Coordinator of Tloke Naouke After School Program
As Tonatiuh (sun) rises from the east peaking over the Organ Mountains, it shines its light directly on the gates of Raíces del Saber Xinachtli Community School. The sunrise marks the quiet before the spiraling sounds of growth, learning, and the continuous movement that happens daily in the classrooms of this small and mighty community school. Raíces is a Free Public Charter Community School K-5, currently serving K-3rd. To look through the door of a classroom at Raíces del Saber Xinachtli Community School, a person would observe a unique model of 3 languages, learning skills and knowledge that sustains ancestral and natural ways in understanding our ever-changing world. In some areas of the school, students gather with their teachers reciting poetry about the connections of humans to the earth, working together to identify emotions, reading, writing, and most importantly, learning to build relationships based on community foundations. The beauty and strength of these foundations are found in the smallest spaces all over the campus of Raices.
Knowing that community support doesn’t stop at the end of the school day, a group of local community leaders found another way to inspire and empower. From a vision of creativity and the need for Out of School Time (OST) support for Students and families, Tloke Nauoke After School Program sprouted from the earth. The beauty of this unique after-school program is that its foundation is rested upon the support of the school, community partnerships, and a ton of recycled and upcycled materials. Starting with 30 students and a budget of zero, Tloke Nauoke After School program has collectively cultivated a safe and brave space to nurture healthy and positive growth for our young community leaders.
Tloke Nauoke After School program offers extracurricular activities created to nurture positive identity formation, allowing the Youth to express themselves in unique ways to their individual needs and identities. We encourage activities and experiences led by community members who offer specific skills and knowledge—connecting students and families directly to accessible resources that are culturally excellent and educationally relevant. The program’s curriculum is a visionary response to the call for reformative and social justice change. All of this at no cost to our families at Raíces.
Now in our 3rd year of action. Tloke Nauoke After School Program grows and sustains because we trust that our surrounding community will continue to water our roots. We have worked hard to build relationships with community partners that also see the power in community support. Our program is staffed by NISN Indigenous Educators Corps Service Members who mentor and guide our students daily from 3-6 pm. With the help of FoodCorps NM Service Members, we have established a community school garden, where students get their hands dirty learning about the earth and ways to preserve the resources we rely on to live. Through this work of partnership, our program has multiple local resources that provide support. We offer free dinners, thanks to the FYI free meal program. There is access to direct knowledge for garden building and nutrient education from La Semilla Food Center. There are plans to produce a community mural collaborating with local artist Celina Corral Arreola and Cruces Creatives. We are fortunate to host Chef Mateo Herrera, who shares knowledge of the ancestral stewardship of Maíz, teaching students to nurture the plant from seed to grain. Raíces del Saber continues to seek sustainable partnerships within our community not only to assure longevity but to model the change we want to see in the world.
Our Mission at Raíces is to create an environment where students and parents are valued as participants in the construction of knowledge and the creation of a learning community. We see our school as a part of the whole where each person is interconnected, working toward one common goal. If you are inspired by this please, visit our website www.raicesdelsaber.org or call 575-222-0538 for more information on how you can enroll your student or become a Community Partner. For access to all the fun, subscribe to our youtube channel