Rio Arriba YouthBuild Program To Celebrate 60 Participants At June 18 Event

Students from the Rio Arriba YouthBuild Program participate in a Food Drive in Chamita sponsored by The Food Depot in Santa Fe. Students Jaime Quezada, Luis Quezada, Adrian Dominovich, Fred Archuleta, Roberto Quezada and Marisa Trujillo contributed community service hours and assisted in distribution of food. Courtesy photo

YouthBuild participants Estevan Sanchez and Jose Molina-Fierro gain work experience by helping out at Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. Courtesy photo

Program Coordinator
Rio Arriba YouthBuild

The Rio Arriba YouthBuild Program is celebrating 60 participants who have made the commitment to improve their lives finishing high school, gaining work experience and Home Builders Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (HBI PACT) to improve their employment opportunities. A special event is slated for Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the YouthBuild Center, 714 Calle Don Diego in Espanola and the community is invited. Each graduate and each business that has in some way assisted YouthBuild participants to achieve their education and occupational goals will be recognized.

During this grant cycle, RAYB enrolled 63 participants and served 60. These students dedicated themselves to be in class each day and either work on their academics or on work-experience courses. Of the 60 participants, 45 (75%) earned high school diplomas or HSE; in addition, 32 students completed HBI PACT. 

During this cycle, three students, Isaiah Valdez, Johnathon Martinez and Estevan Sanchez completed a Welding CAMP at Northern New Mexico Community College and gained Certificates in Welding. Another student, Cesar Quezada, attended a 5-day intensive course at Santa Fe Community College and earned a Certificate in Fiber Optics Technician, Specialist, and Splicing.

Rio Arriba YouthBuild is a community-based pre-apprenticeship program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24 who have previously dropped out of high school. Rio Arriba YouthBuild, which operates under Help NM, Inc., serves Rio Arriba County and the 8 Northern Pueblos. Qualified students are required to complete online coursework to realize high school diploma or equivalent along with work-experience and obtaining HBI PACT Certificate. Academic classes are provided both online and in person with an instructor who works in small groups or one-on-one with students. In addition to academics, students are required to participate in work-experience by completing online courses and hands-on experience in home building construction.

RAYB partners with Habitat for Humanity so students can get hands-on work experience with experts in the field. Students are transported to the work site on a weekly basis and are provided the opportunity to assist in home building, landscaping, pipe fitting, welding, flooring, window and door installation, hanging dry wall, insulation, and minor electrical projects.  

Along with High School completion and HBI PACT Certificate, students complete OSHA10, CPR/First Aid Training, Financial Literacy, and volunteer a minimum of 20 hours of community service. Our partnership with The Food Depot allows students to participate in food distributions throughout Rio Arriba and have contributed over 695 hours of community services. YouthBuild staff is available to assist students with their questions to offer advice and will seek external resources when necessary. Students are treated as adults and are recognized for their achievements along with taking accountability should they have excessive absences, fall behind in their work, or get distracted from their academics. Students are provided with a safe and positive learning environment including coaching, counseling, leadership skills, mentoring and all around support.  

YouthBuild has established many partnerships throughout the community and nearby including Rio Arriba County, Northern New Mexico College, Children’s Youth and Families Department, The Food Depot,  Chamita Fire Department, WIOA, The Mountain Center, Santa Fe Community College, Espanola Valley High School, Pipe Fitters Union 412, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Habitat for Humanity  Santa Fe and Espanola, UNM-Taos, and many other businesses who provide  referrals, employment opportunities, post-secondary education, community service  opportunities, etc.  

For more information, send an email to:

Donavan Martinez-Merrifield and Jorge Dominguez-Andrade on the job with Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. Courtesy photo

Yadhira Lizang, AmeriCorp volunteer, Fred Archuleta, Miguel CdeBaca and Ryan Romero work with Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. Courtesy photo