It's finally that time of year when Arizona is not in 90+ degree weather!
I know that's an interesting way to start my blog, but as someone who was raised in Arizona, I can truthfully say that any day under 90 degrees is one to celebrate!
With all of that said, hi, everyone, and welcome back!
I know that I left my last blog post on a bit of a cliffhanger regarding a significant community-based project that I had in the works, and while things are still not finalized, I have some amazing updates for you all. So, in order to strengthen our community engagement and to ensure that the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (JUBA) can serve and represent the communities that live along the trail, I presented a project that would create internship opportunities for high schoolers from historically marginalized communities that are about to start the next chapter of their lives. The focus of this internship would be to provide resources, information, and education on topics such as how to apply to college, FAFSA FAQs, conservation-based jobs and internships, and federal agencies. Fortunately, given the significant value of running an internship program that covers these topics, I am proud to announce that I have been able to secure funding that will sponsor a total of 10 interns who will be selected from Santa Cruz County, the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. While specifics of the internship program are still being finalized with the project funders, I am excited to announce that this program will be taking place from March 2024 through May 2024. I hope that by my next blog post, I will have everything finalized and can share more with you all about the program and the recruiting outcome!
In addition to the internship project I have been working on, another upcoming project that I am excited about is a temporary work detail that will have me stationed at the Tumacacori National Historical Park (TUMA). One of the reasons that I am excited about this project is that I will be helping TUMA manage and run its annual Fiesta de Tumacacori event, which happens the first weekend of December. This event is huge for our southern Arizona communities as numerous demonstrators, performers, vendors, and educators gather to create a fun event highlighting our community members' diverse cultures and histories. This event also has a special place in my heart, as TUMA was the first ever NPS site that I worked at! I started volunteering at TUMA at the age of 14, and until I left for college at 18, I helped manage and operate numerous community engagement programs, including Fiesta de Tumacacori, for a couple of years. This event is one that I loved attending with my family as a visitor and as a volunteer (and now intern); I remain grateful that I can help this event bring my community together.
Overall, I am so excited about how everything is going with my internship, and I can't wait to continue updating you all on this amazing opportunity that Hispanic Access Foundation has given me!
Until next time! And in the meantime, make sure to go out and explore your National Park sites!
Also, fun fact is that the photo I included with this blog was taken during my time as a volunteer at TUMA when I was 16! And I will say that looking at that photo makes me feel really old now, even though I'm only 23. So, I guess we'll see how the photos I take at this Fiesta de Tumacacori will make me feel when I'm 30.