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Posted August 30, 2017

Inez Grandma Recognized as Volunteer of the Month

Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry recently recognized Evelina Gonzalez

Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized Evelina Gonzalez as the City of Albuquerque’s Volunteer of the Month for making sure the students at a local elementary school have a meal to eat while they are away from school.

In September 2014, Gonzalez began volunteering in her grandson’s first-grade classroom at Inez Elementary School. She would volunteer to perform simple tasks, including making copies and helping with any other classroom needs.

In the fall of 2015, key leadership with Inez Elementary School extended an invitation to Children’s Choice Child Care Services to act as their Albuquerque Bernalillo County (ABC) Community School Partnership Lead Partner. Inez’s leadership also requested that Children’s Choice provide their before and after school programs. When an organization agrees to become an ABC Community School’s Lead Partner, they agree to provide services, support, and additional funding for the programs under the scope of the ABC Community School.

Soon after Children’s Choice agreed to act as Inez’s Lead Partner, Gonzalez began volunteering with their before and after school programs, in conjunction with promoting the philosophies of Inez’s ABC Community School. Along with a group of Inez’s teachers and parents, Gonzalez realized it was necessary for the group to have a discussion about the basic needs of the students, their families and staff to determine how they could help their students succeed. From these conversations, Inez Elementary School’s “Weekend Food Backpack” program was conceived. During the 2016-2017 school year, Gonzalez helped organize and pack approximately 50 backpacks per week for the students to take home. Each backpack included two breakfasts, two lunches and additional snacks for each child per family. Gonzalez went above and beyond to solicit food and money donations to purchase groceries which were given out through the program. Through the collective efforts of Gonzalez and Children’s Choice Community School Coordinator Rochelle Ford, and with the support of Inez Elementary’s neighborhood and churches, the students were provided vital nutritional food for the weekends, with no questions asked.

Gonzalez is now retired after having worked for 40 years at Central New Mexico Community College (formerly Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute, or TVI). Following her retirement, she knew that she wanted to give back to her community and volunteer at her daughter’s and now her grandson’s elementary school. Since Gonzalez began volunteering three years ago, she has donated over 1,400 hours of her time, spending approximately 15-20 hours per week volunteering with Inez’s “Weekend Food Backpack” program. The grandmother finds joy in helping teachers and school staff and receiving smiles and hugs from the students. It is for these reasons that Evelina Gonzalez was recognized as the City of Albuquerque’s Volunteer of the Month for the month of August 2017.

Information and photograph provided by the City of Albuquerque 

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