Elev8 New Mexico Rallies Around Student Leader Who Loses Home

The Juanico Family of Laguna Pueblo lost their home to fire in the early morning hours of October 7, 2012. The eight-member family is now in temporary housing provided by the Laguna Housing Authority, and the Elev8 New Mexico community has rallied around them. “The Juanicos have been very involved at the school for a long time,” said Bonnie Vallo, Elev8 site manager at Laguna Middle School. “Now they need our help to replace their home and belongings.”

The home, which was not insured, needs $24,000 in repairs just to the structure.  But water and smoke damage mean that all the walls, ceilings and interior content must be replaced, too.

16-year-old Haley Juanico was a student at Laguna Middle School and graduated in 2012. She now attends the local public high school. Haley credits the Elev8 afterschool program with turning her into an honor roll student. She accessed tutoring as part of the afterschool program, and joined a Native American pottery class and a filmmaking club. One of her deepest concerns has been retaining the cultural identity of Laguna Pueblo. In 2012, she and her classmates directed a documentary about preserving the tribe’s Keresan language. Students interviewed Pueblo elders about the importance of the language and their efforts to preserve it and filmed the starkly beautiful landscape surrounding their village. The documentary premiered last spring at a theater in downtown Albuquerque.

Elev8 New Mexico and Youth Development, Inc. (YDI), which manages the Elev8 New Mexico initiative, have set up a fund to help Haley’s family recover from the fire. To make a donation, please click here.

Access to health care at school significantly increases the likelihood that children in poor communities will have medical and dental checkups during the school year and significantly decreases emergency department use by their families. Learn More