Photo: Professor Alexandra Neves

Silver City, New Mexico, November 4, 2012:  Professor Alexandra Neves, Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education and TESOL at the School of Education at WNMU, is leading a Silver City-wide winter coats and cookies drive on behalf of Palomas, Chihuahua that will go through December 7th. New jackets or coats of any size, and also cookies, may be dropped off in the box in the hall at the College of Education in the Martinez-Fall Building on the WNMU campus. BESO, the bilingual club at WNMU will also work to support the drive, which aids the Christmas holiday work of Esperanza Hope Lozoya, humanitarian worker who has served the poor of Palomas and rural Chihuahua for the past nine years.
Donors should leave all tags, except price tags, on the coats, as used textiles cannot be accepted. Cookies, store-bought or homemade, are also welcomed.

For the past two years Neves has led successful Silver City initiatives to gather school supplies for the children of Palomas and rural Chihuahua. “When I think I can bring change,” Professor Neves explains, “even the smallest change -- one pencil, one backpack -- to children in desperate need, it gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

Victoria Tester, who has worked to aid Lozoya’s efforts in Palomas and rural Chihuahua for almost three years and now serves as a director for Dos Manos, a newly formed Taos-based organization, estimates that Neves’ efforts in 2011 and 2012 equipped at least 800 children with school supplies they would not have otherwise had, and also aided dozens of children to attend school.  Tester is deeply grateful for Neves’ efforts to focus the concern of the Silver City community on the suffering just across the border during Mexico’s crisis. Tester calls Neves a “born organizer, whose warmth and integrity have created a safe place from which many in Silver City can act on behalf of Palomas.”

“I’ve seen poverty in my home country Brazil,” says Neves, “and how much it impacts children who may never break out of the cycle of poverty if they do not have access to education and equity. It breaks my heart that so many children on the other side of the border worry if their parents will even be there next day, let alone be secure, fed, able to go to school, or even stay warm this winter.”  Professor Neves can be contacted at nevesa@wnmu.edu, or 575-597-0016.
Neves arrived at WNMU in 2008 with a three-week old baby, a tremendous work ethic and a plethora of ideas for developing the Bilingual Education program. Enrollments for the program have soared since she began working at WNMU. Neves not only made courses available online, but revamped the program to make it suitable for the changing demographics that teachers in the United States confront in their classrooms. Neves has presented talks on language variations in the borderlands, intercultural competence through students’ poetry, and immigration and education.

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