Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Nonprofit organizations provide resources for community members

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The Who I Am Foundation works to connect those in need in the community with resources that will help them create a positive future for themselves. The non-profit organization was founded in Albuquerque in 2012. It was originally an anti-bullying program but through community feedback it grew into the many different outreach programs they have today.

From youth and senior ministry to tutoring and career preparation, Who I Am strives to help members of the community build healthy, self-sufficient lives. That’s what remains at the heart of the organization, listening to the needs of the community and finding ways to meet those needs.

One of these outreach programs offers volunteers the opportunity to hear directly from the community during their Essential Necessity Distributions. Volunteers collect and distribute care kits containing hygiene products, clothing, furniture and more to low-income and homeless families.

They have also partnered with other organizations and businesses at certain events to give away free haircuts, dental exams and pet vaccinations.

Corey Pierre, Executive Director of the Albuquerque Sector, said that whether it is by raising funds from the community or helping out at events, their volunteers are the ones who make these events possible. “All of our ideas come from our volunteers. Some of the outreach programs, the veterans outreach program, the behavioral health outreach program, these are all ideas from volunteers that we have helped come to fruition,” said Pierre.

Events coordinator Myriah Herrera said that both she and Pierre have full-time jobs alongside working with the organization, so they wanted to create volunteer opportunities that are accessible to all. “You don’t need to sign up to do anything permanently. You can come out once a week, once a month, whatever the case may be. It’s not something you’re tied to unless you choose to be part of the planning committee,” Herrera said.

They have three tiers of volunteering, the planning committee that plans outreach events, distribution volunteers, and “behind the scenes” volunteers who secure donations, coordinate fundraiser pickups, or recruit volunteers. “We just want to bring about the change that you want to see in the community,” Pierre said.

At events, volunteers are often able to provide exactly what community members need because they can ask them what they need. “It’s hard to explain because when you’re there you can see the emotion on people’s faces,” Herrera said. “We will make homemade soups, hats and blankets that we bring to them because they feel like people, like they are normal and deserve to have home-made food.”

Visit the Who I Am Foundation website for more information.

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