Kristy Ortega began as the new executive director of the United Way of Northern New Mexico in July and is currently on a “listening tour” to learn more about needs and assets in the region. A third-generation Los Alamos native, Ortega is looking forward to learning more about how the resources of the United Way and the region can be used to improve the quality of life in Northern New Mexico. Two issues she currently recognizes are the extent of basic needs left unmet in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties due to a worsening local economy and services for adults aged 18 to 25 years old who are struggling to obtain employment but have a different set of challenges than more-experienced workers.
While new to the United Way staff, Ortega is not new to nonprofit organizations or volunteering. In the past, she has worked with the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, Big Brother Big Sisters, and others, so she understands the challenges of fundraising and operating a not-for-profit organization.
In addition to the support she’s receiving from the United Way board and others within the community, Ortega is also being mentored by United Way Worldwide staff to help ensure she has all the information she needs as the Laboratory's 2012-13 campaign readies for launch on September 24.
Campaign Launches on September 12
As it does each year, the United Way of Northern New Mexico will start its annual community fundraising campaign in September. This year’s campaign will begin on Wednesday, September 12, at 5:30 p.m. at the main branch of Los Alamos National Bank at 1200 Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.
During the event, attendees will have an opportunity hear success stories from funded agencies that benefit from United Way support and sample refreshments provided by Blue Window Bistro.
United Way of Northern New Mexico's Youth Team Holds Event on September 16
This year’s Youth Team Event will be a dinner called “Taste the Sky” and will be held at the Los Alamos Airport. The dinner is scheduled for Sunday, September 16, from 5 to 8 p.m., and ticket prices range from $5 for children to $30 for adults.
Located in the beautiful Jemez Mountains, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) needs volunteers to help with its herbarium. This unique opportunity provides access to resources to learn about local flowers and plants under the guidance of experts. Volunteer tasks include cataloging native plant specimens and updating the organization’s database. The hours are flexible, but coordination with other herbarium volunteers is needed, and volunteers should be at least 14 years old.
Most of the work is indoors, and those with database experience (or those who would like to gain some) are encouraged to help. Part of the goal of PEEC is collect samples of all the indigenous plants of Los Alamos County and the Jemez Mountains, so the volunteers will help take care of them in various ways.
To learn more about this opportunity in VolunteerMatch, go to http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp617032.jsp. You can also call Chick Keller at (505) 662-7915 or PEEC at (505) 662-0460 for more information.
To learn about other PEEC volunteer opportunities, go to http://www.pajaritoeec.org/welcome/volunteer.php.