Christmas Posada at Crossroads

In December, the LCPS Bilingual Department, under the leadership of Nubia Tarazona, Executive Director of Bilingual Education, Translation & Interpretation and Community Outreach hosted a Christmas posada for parents who completed the Fall 2019 Language Academy. The classes included courses in English 1-3, Spanish 1-3, Computer Science and GED preparation courses.

This year, the LCPS Bilingual Department collaborated with Maria Ethier, M.Ed. Adult Education Director from DACC to help provide more instructors for the program. LCPS also worked with Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, a non-profit organization to provide workshops in Spanish for parents.

There were more than 70 parents who received certificates of completion.

Special guests who came to celebrate with families during the posada were LCPS Board President Ed Frank who joined Dr. Karen Trujillo, Interim Superintendent for LCPS, Dr. Roberto Lozano, Associate Superintendent of Equity, Innovation and Social Justice, Dr. Wendi Miller-Tomlinson, LCPS Director of Secondary Instruction, and Gabe Jacquez, Deputy Superintendent for Operations & Leadership Director for the celebration.

Coats for Kids

Coats for Kids set a goal to provide 3,500 coats to children selected by Las Cruces, Gadsden and Hatch school districts in 2019. Since the program started in 1995, over 50,000 coats were given to children in need living in Dona Ana County.

US Bank, 101 Gold, Community Action Agency, Comet Cleaners, and D2 Designs sponsor the Coats for Kids program in Las Cruces to help underprivileged children in our area. This is the 25th year of this program. This simple and compassionate project makes a large impact in the community. More than 3,000 coats last year were distributed with the help of generous donations of new and gently used coats. No child is ever turned away.

Festival of Trees at Centennial

Centennial High School hosted its fourth annual Las Cruces Festival of Trees in the school’s performing arts lab, 1950 Sonoma Ranch Blvd. The event took place on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7. It included two dozen decorated trees and holiday wreaths, said event coordinator Melody Hagaman, a computer science teacher at CHS. The event is sponsored by CHS’s Science Olympiad and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and supports CHS STEM programs.

Trees were decorated by local businesses, clubs and nonprofits organizations in the city. Visitors were able to purchase raffle tickets for their favorite tree(s), vote in the decorating contest, visit the gingerbread exhibit, take photos with Santa Claus, listen to live holiday music provided by local musicians and shop the holiday wares fair. Children were invited to decorate cookies and make holiday ornaments at an events crafts table to take home.

Jardin de los Niños – Blanket Drive & Adopt-a-Family Program

In order to help give back to the community this holiday season, student organizations district-wide participated in the annual Blanket Drive and the Adopt-A-Family Program for Jardin de los Niños. Students held blankets tying parties at their schools and added a personal touch to make each blanket unique for child.

The goal this December was to make 50 blankets to distribute to families in Doña Ana County around the holidays. This year, approximately 173 blankets were given out with the help Loma Heights, the Centennial International Welcome Center, Lynn Community Middle School Builders Club, Rio Grande Preparatory Institute, LCPS Project Link Homeless Education Program, Mayfield, LCPS Virtual Learning Academy, Las Cruces High School Student Council, LCHS Bulldawg Broadcast, the Oñate’s HOSA, cheer team, and students from Oñate’s Life Skills Program. Blankets were delivered on Monday, December 16th and to Jardin de los Niños for distribution.

Jardin de los Niños relies on the generosity of the community during the holiday season. It is with the support of the community that links an experience of joy alongside the children and families that are served. The magic, wonder and excitement that all children love during the holiday season makes this time of the year extra special. Many students in LCPS chose to support the Adopt-A-Family 2019 Holiday Campaign. Students helped to provide at least one new toy and outfit to a child or family in need.

NASA WSC Holiday Program 2019

The 2019 NASA WSC Holiday program wrapped up another successful year donating dozens of Christmas gifts for Las Cruces Public School students and their families. Many team members from NASA worked with LCPS to gather names along with holiday wish-lists for students up to 18 years old.

This year, NASA sponsored more than 50 students from Las Cruces Public Schools and the Migrant Education Program. Gifts were delivered on December 16th at the LCPS Administration Building in Central Office.

Shop with a Cop

The line of eager holiday shoppers extended into the parking lot of Walmart at 571 Walton Blvd. the morning of December 14, as children awaited their opportunity to Shop with a Cop. The annual Christmas shopping event for less-fortunate families, now in its 20th year, is organized by the Las Cruces Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8.

More than 150 students from Las Cruces Public Schools were selected to participate in this year’s event. Each participating child received $100 to spend–$75 on clothing and shoes and the remaining $25 on toys.

The fundraising for Shop with a Cop comes directly from donors, said Robert Parra, president of the Las Cruces FOP Lodge #8.

“The impact, for me personally, is seeing that smile on a child and sharing that emotional moment with the parents. That’s priceless,” Parra said. “We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, the last four years has been in conjunction with Walmart. Special thanks to Walmart.”

The LCFOP held this years “Shop with a Cop” event in remembrance of and tribute to the “Fallen Officers” in Dona Ana County and to the late Las Cruces Fraternal Order of Police Members. “This event is a worthwhile program, one that benefits the children and families of Dona Ana County,” Parra said. “As a community, we must do all we can to support the less fortunate, especially the children. This event, as well as others, could not be possible without the community, donors, merchants, and the Las Cruces Public Schools.”

Officers from numerous local agencies participated — including the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police, the Hatch Police Department, the Mesilla Marshal’s Department, U.S. Border Patrol Explorer Program, New Mexico Game and Control Board, New Mexico National Guard, LCFOP members and more.

Tim Walsh, Market Manager for Walmart on Walnut Blvd. said he’s been with for Walmart for 23 years and recalls each year being even more special than the last.

“It makes you feel good,” Walsh said. “There are so many people out there that are in need and this is an awesome event to be part of.”

The LCFOP partners months in advance with Walmart in order to get a jump start on making a difference in the lives of students and families in the community.

Toys for Tots

Approximately 44 elementary schools at LCPS, Gadsden Independent School District and Hatch Valley Schools participated in the program and helped to identify children in need. Groth said Toys for Tots reached 4,315 children throughout the county in 2018, including the distribution of 7,656 toys, 2,107 books and 1,996 stocking stuffers. Last year, the Toys for Tots Campaign provided toys and gifts to over 4,300 children throughout Doña Ana County.

After November 1, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves collected new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages birth to 18 in donation boxes throughout Doña Ana County. Doña Ana County Coordinator Patty Groth and Assistant Coordinator Joe Montoya, partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and other volunteers to help collect toys this year for the program.

‘Wish Upon a Star’ Program

The Las Cruces Public Schools Bilingual and Migrant Education had another successful year for its ‘Wish Upon a Star’ program, in partnership with FirstLight Federal Credit Union. The initiative, now in its third year, is designed to collect clothes and gifts for the children of migrant workers living and working in the Las Cruces area. Members of the community were encouraged to select a star from the Christmas tree that was on display in the LCPS Central Office.

Each star included a child’s age, shoe and clothing sizes, along with the relevant information one would need to include the child in one’s holiday shopping. All gifts were wrapped and returned to the Bilingual and Migrant Education department in the Las Cruces Public Schools Administration Building on Friday, Dec. 7, to distribute to families in the community. The LCPS Bilingual and Migrant Services program currently serves more than 350 students from migrant families.

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-527-5946, slewis@lcps.net