Sherri Kirk, Community liaison, North Sacramento, CA
I’m Sherri Kirk, a community leader through the Neighborhood Wellness Foundation of Del Paso Heights. As a leader in the Del Paso community, I never thought I would be the one to receive such LOVE! In February, I experienced an amazing gift — the real gift of love, from amazing youth from New Canaan, Connecticut. This group of young people came to assist me to repair my home. Not only did they rebuild my home inside and out, but they also rebuilt me.
“Not only did they rebuild my home inside and out, but they also rebuilt me”
Words can’t express how they made me feel — but I can say I feel good again. The world may be critical of young people, but these volunteers went above and beyond to assist me in painting, replacing my flooring, and building me a long-overdue backyard fence. This is Love! SSP is AWESOME, and I am so glad we are connected.
Editor’s Note: During the fall of 2019, we received funding from Wells Fargo Foundation’s NeighborhoodLIFT program to create a home repair program in North Sacramento, where our HQ office is located. After four years of hosting volunteers in nearby Rancho Cordova, we were excited to double our local footprint. Sherri is an integral community liaison, helping SSP build trust and relationships in North Sacramento. In February 2020, we hosted Congregational Church of New Canaan’s Youth Group (100 people!) for an Alternative Break working in both communities in Sacramento. With the leadership of SSP’s Program Managers and the contractors that came with the group, 18 impactful home repairs were completed in one week!
My name is Elvira Litson, and I serve multiple positions for a nonprofit organization within my community on the Navajo Nation. The Tsaile-Wheatfields Dineh Water Users (TW-DWU) 501(c)(12) was established to collect operation and maintenance fees from farmers to maintain major irrigation canals to irrigatable farmlands within the Tsaile-Wheatfields area. The Tsaile-Wheatfields Farm Board oversees three major farmland sites (Tsaile, Upper Wheatfields, and Lower Wheatfields) totaling about 1,678 acres and 127 contiguous farm plots leased by farmers through Land Use Permit Agreements.
“Now more than ever [we] are focused on revitalizing and strengthening our roots and responsibilities to the land by using the wisdom of our ancestors, helping us survive in these times of great transition.”
TW-DWU was awarded a 5 million dollar grant through the Navajo Nation Permanent Trust Fund to implement a 5-year revitalization of farmlands project, known as the Wheatfields Agriculture Project, where 80% of farmlands sat idle for decades. The mission of the organization is to develop, promote, operate, and maintain water conservation systems to sustain agriculture and community activities in the Tsaile-Wheatfields-Blackrock communities for present and future generations. Our vision is to have a sustainable supply of high-quality water to support a prosperous agricultural community that nurtures healthy and happy families.
The pandemic has placed an emphasis on food security and sovereignty within our nation. Now more than ever, our organization and many similar programs within our nation are focused on revitalizing and strengthening our roots and responsibilities to the land by using the wisdom of our ancestors, helping us survive in these times of great transition.
“Our solution is to strengthen our food and water systems to build an economic system for our community and our nation as a whole.”
TW-DWU is strategically planning and establishing partnerships to build capacity by supporting local farmers and ranchers with contemporary and traditional growing methods, food preparation and preservation methods, and improving the quality of our local livestock. Our solution is to strengthen our food and water systems to build an economic system for our community and our nation as a whole.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Elvira for your local leadership and for sharing about TW-DWU and food sovereignty with SSP participants during our online summer program. We look forward to our ongoing partnership, including our new Community Advisory Council!