Dzilth Community Grant School is located in Bloomfield, New Mexico near one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo Nation. The school was built in the late 1960s by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and then it was converted to community grant status in 2005. The Navajo name of the school, Dzilth-Na-O-Hle, translates to “The Mesa that Turns” in English; it refers to a nearby mesa – an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides — which seems to turn as the observer walks around it. The campus has a dormitory for the kids who live too far away to go home every afternoon. About half of the students who attend the school, which serves grades kindergarten through eighth, board there each week.
Dzilth Community Grant School is one of our most successful projects in New Mexico, and has been for quite some time now. Dzilth is blessed with two outstanding coordinators, Phyllis and Karen.
Unlike many of the areas in New Mexico in which our affiliated schools are located, this region of the state has more work opportunities for parents who have an education, certain skills, and transportation to get to and from jobs. Some commute to work in farms around Bloomfield, or at an oil field project in nearby Bisti. Other parents make and sell beaded jewelry during the summer tourist season, and then pick potatoes in Durango, Colorado during the harvest season.
Although there are job opportunities, many of our sponsored and unsponsored children’s parents lack the education or skills needed to successfully compete in the job market. There are also many older grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. For these reasons, many of the families of children enrolled in our program are living in poverty, and struggle every day to make ends meet — so support from the Children Incorporated program means so much to them.
A successful project
Dzilth Community Grant School is one of our most successful projects in New Mexico, and has been for quite some time now. Dzilth is blessed with two outstanding coordinators, Phyllis and Karen. They are managing 87 children in our sponsorship program, and the school comprises one of our largest projects in the state. When our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, and U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, arrived at the school, Phyllis and Karen told them that the principal had said that they could meet with all the children enrolled in the Children Incorporated program in the library. A rare occurrence at projects in our U.S. Division, due to strict rules in school systems, Renée and Shelley were very grateful for the principal’s permission to pull the students out of class for a brief gathering.
Renée addressed the group of children by thanking them for cooperating with their coordinators for updated pictures and progress reports, and especially for writing letters to their sponsors. She stressed how much the letters mean to sponsors, and asked the children to keep up their good work.
After meeting with the kids, Renée and Shelley had a meeting with Phyllis and Karen. Phyllis is an administrative assistant, and Karen is a data technician. They told Renée and Shelley that sponsorship funds are primarily utilized for the purchase of shoes and clothing, and then school supplies and hygiene items. They are also used to purchase food, when needed.
Phyllis and Karen also expressed a need for eyeglasses for children at the school. Dzilth Community Grant School used to have a partnership with the Helen Keller Foundation, which provided occasional mini grants for eyeglasses; but that partnership is no longer what it used to be. Renée said that she would look into seeing if our Hope In Action Fund could provide some assistance for this special need.
High hopes for Michelle
After the school visit, Phyllis and Karen took Renée and Shelley to the home of one of Children Incorporated’s sponsored children. They traveled quite a few miles away from the school, until they arrived at a muddy lane on which Michelle* lives, in a small neat and tidy house with her mother and grandmother. The mom works as an office assistant; the grandmother was once employed, but is now older and retired. Both women expressed their appreciation for Children Incorporated and Michelle’s sponsor.
While they chatted in the kitchen, Michelle’s mother and grandmother talked about how proud they are of her. She is an excellent student whose favorite subject is math. Michelle is also athletic; she loves basketball, and is very good at playing it.
They have high hopes for Michelle and her future. They dream that she will graduate from high school, and go on to college. Michelle has a special fondness for animals, and says she wants to be a veterinarian. Her mother and grandmother believe this dream can come true; and here at Children Incorporated, we believe it can, too.
*Name changed for child’s protection.
HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN New Mexico?
You can sponsor a child in New Mexico in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.