The 26th class of Leadership Las Cruces, in conjunction with the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Las Cruces Chamber Heritage Foundation, on April 30 raised approximately $40,000 at the “Linking Hands: Helping Our Homeless Youth” event.

All proceeds from the event will be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund for homeless Las Cruces Public Schools students pursuing a two- or four-year degree at an accredited college or university in New Mexico. The scholarship will be housed at the Las Cruces Public Schools Foundation and will be dedicated to assisting college-bound students throughout the district.

The 26th class of Leadership Las Cruces poses for a group photo at the “Linking Hands: Helping Our Homeless Youth” event. The fundraiser, which took place on April 30 at Doña Ana Community College, raised approximately $40,000 for scholarships to benefit homeless students of LCPS.

“This community effort truly helps support a great number of LCPS students who need it most,” said LCPS Superintendent Greg Ewing. “This endowed scholarship creates a lasting legacy of service for Leadership Las Cruces. We cherish our ongoing relationship with the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Las Cruces, and value their support of our students through Linking Hands.”

The LCPS Project Link Homeless Education Program has identified between 650 and 700 homeless students in our community. However, Project Link Coordinator Yvette Enriquez said she suspects the number of unidentified homeless students may be much higher. This was the second year that Leadership Las Cruces organized the Linking Hands event to benefit Project Link.

Attendees at the "Linking Hands: Helping Our Homeless Youth" fundraiser browse and bid on silent auction items. The fundraiser, now in its second year, helped raise nearly $40,00 for an endowed scholarship fund for homeless Las Cruces Public Schools students.

The fundraising event, which took place in the courtyard of Doña Ana Community College’s East Mesa campus, featured live entertainment, food, and both live and silent auctions. Entertainment included by fire dancing by Odd Lab, as well as performances by the New Mexico State University Dance Program and Jamie O’Hara.

Attendees enjoyed food provided by Andele Restaurant and desserts from Busy B’s Custom Cakes. Live auction items included a party for six at La Posta Restaurant, the opportunity to watch an NMSU football game from the Fulton Center at Aggie Memorial Stadium, an advertising package from the Las Cruces Bulletin, and more. A separate silent auction allowed guests to bid on New Mexico-shaped cutting boards, oil changes, gym memberships, restaurant gift certificates, hotel stays, and other items.

Debbi Moore, President and CEO of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, speaks during the "Linking Hands: Helping Our Homeless Youth" fundraiser on April 30, 2019. The annual fundraise is organized by Leadership Las Cruces, in conjunction with the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Las Cruces Chamber Heritage Foundation.

This year’s Linking Hands fundraiser was sponsored by Citizens Bank, El Paso Electric, Lessons of Life, Nino 141, BKY Memorial Fund, Delta Dental, Farm Credit, Metal Craft, MountainView Regional Medical Center, Pic Quik, Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico, Exit Realty, Archuleta Restoration & Remodel, Jacobs Technology, Moose Lodge 2081, Sisbarro and U.S. Bank. Additional support was provided by Memorial Medical Center, Adams Radio Group of Las Cruces, the Las Cruces Bulletin, American Linen and Doña Ana Community College.

— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, dwillis@lcps.net