MOVE MOUNTAINS PROJECTS INCORPORATED

Elevating youth leadership through art, entrepreneurship, community action and a respect for earth.

San Luis, CO   |  movemountainsprojects.org

Mission

The Move Mountains Project is an art and entrepreneurship community education program building a sustainable platform for the youth leaders of San Luis, Colorado. Our mission is to encourage youth, as heirs to the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant, to develop deeper understandings of art, resource preservation, and entrepreneurship in order to empower active community citizens through a focus on local and global social justice issues. By facilitating the Art and Science Festival for the annual Santa Ana celebration, we rally San Luis around the voices of the youth.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

Shirley Romero Otero

Main address

510 Trinchera Street PO Box 44

San Luis, CO 81152 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-1225385

NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Move Mountains seeks to first amplify the voices of the Youth Leaders of San Luis because we identify the root causes of these needs as directly connected to the systematic oppression and dis-empowerment of Indigenous and Latina populations in America. Historic oppression has led to generational poverty. Loss of land has creates an inability for individuals and families to sustain themselves, and this results in economic instability. Lack of access to the land also brings on food and housing insecurities. Due to issues such as, but not limited to, English Only curricula, mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, and the generational trauma related to colonization and the destruction of Indigenous cultures, the Youth Leaders of San Luis have systematically been dis-empowered.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Summer Youth Leader Development Program

The Summer Youth Leader Development Program gives the youth tools to develop their own community building initiatives. Our approaches are evidence-based and trauma-informed, and youth develop their confidence in their abilities to critically discuss their environment and develop solutions. We work with youth to collaborate with like-minded community members and agencies, such as the San Luis Cultural Center, to develop cultural pride and connect their identities with their rich, local history. We also continue to work to develop a long-term goal plan and collaborate with like-minded partners, funders, donors, volunteers, and other supports to develop a community center and safe park.
We are collaborating with the youth, parents, families, and other like-minded community members to develop a safer school with equitable educational opportunities by advocating for and with the youth at their school, to their school board, and on a statewide level, while working with the youth to implement solutions they develop. As some of the youth we have served since 2014 are nearing graduation, we continue to work to support them in concrete ways with career and post-secondary development along with providing necessary skill development to graduate and move forward successfully. We are also working to provide more entrepreneurship and economic opportunities by working with the youth to develop their entrepreneurial skills. We are also working with community members, elders, and artist educators to develop career options and goals both in relation to local and ancestral tradition, careers in the creative industry, and creative ways to look at entrepreneurship. One of our biggest accomplishments which relates to these skills and also to food security is the collaboration with local elders and community members to develop a community garden in which youth are growing heirloom seeds and learning about traditional ways of farming. This empowers them and also puts the discussion back to the youth, giving them opportunities to organize with their community to discuss the importance of seed justice, heirloom plants, non-GMO seeds, and working to again have local control of lands necessary to engage in farming, hunting, ranching, and other local jobs.
As youth develop these and other initiatives, we have begun to see a change in the community. People are joining in with the Youth Leaders’ movements, listening, and getting involved however they can to support them. As others become interested as well in supporting the community around the Sangre de Cristo land grant, we see the growth and development spurred by the Youth Leaders each day. There is still much to go, but as youth connect with larger movements using social media and vlogging tools, they see how other youth around the nation and the world are growing their own social justice movements, and they are making concrete changes to oppressive systems.
Finally, youth collaborate with other community members and organizers to shape leadership and policies in the institutions of local power. This platform will allow the youth leaders and plaintiffs in the land rights suit to elevate the movement to state, national and international attention. Through working closely, yet maintaining autonomy from the City Council, County Commissioners, Centennial School District R-1, various universities, and local businesses, the youth have built a broad coalition of support for their vision of healthy, empowering public spaces and community resources. These spaces reinforce and sustain the land rights movement.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our overall strategy to overcome injustice and oppression is to provide youth with skills and tools to amplify their voices as they bring up critical issues in their communities. As they discuss what matters to them, they also explore their identities and how they connect with longstanding local and global social justice issues. The first step is developing safe spaces for youth to gather and collaborate with one another, mentors, elders, community organizers, and leaders in local and global movements for social justice. This provides opportunities for youth to discuss and implement concrete agreements that they design to hold themselves accountable. This provides a framework for how to develop collaborative groups while also giving youth a sense of control and ownership over their environments and communities. It also gives youth opportunities to decolonize their own educations, removing influences that encourage oppression and replacing them with ideals connected with indigenous peoples' diverse ways of thinking and communicating.
These youth-directed, reflective spaces give the youth tools to develop their own community building initiatives. Our approaches are evidence-based and trauma-informed, and youth develop their confidence in their abilities to critically discuss their environment and develop solutions. We work with youth to collaborate with like-minded community members and agencies, such as the San Luis Cultural Center, to develop cultural pride and connect their identities with their rich, local history. We also continue to work to develop a long-term goal plan and collaborate with like-minded partners, funders, donors, volunteers, and other supports to develop a community center and safe park.

We are collaborating with the youth, parents, families, and other like-minded community members to develop a safer school with equitable educational opportunities by advocating for and with the youth at their school, to their school board, and on a statewide level, while working with the youth to implement solutions they develop. As some of the youth we have served since 2014 are nearing graduation, we continue to work to support them in concrete ways with career and post-secondary development along with providing necessary skill development to graduate and move forward successfully. We are also working to provide more entrepreneurship and economic opportunities by working with the youth to develop their entrepreneurial skills. We are also working with community members, elders, and artist educators to develop career options and goals both in relation to local and ancestral tradition, careers in the creative industry, and creative ways to look at entrepreneurship. One of our biggest accomplishments which relates to these skills and also to food security is the collaboration with local elders and community members to develop a community garden in which youth are growing heirloom seeds and learning about traditional ways of farming. This empowers them and also puts the discussion back to the youth, giving them opportunities to organize with their community to discuss the importance of seed justice, heirloom plants, non-GMO seeds, and working to again have local control of lands necessary to engage in farming, hunting, ranching, and other local jobs.

We are engaging the youth in creating an alternative to the current system by connecting them more deeply with their identities. As they learn about their history, they become engaged in creating new alternatives and educating the world around them about the injustices they have discovered. They are working on elevating the traditional ways of life and thinking in El Valle, and this is a revolutionary way of rethinking unjust capitalist systems built to keep them from progressing. They are working to develop future economic, post-secondary, and entrepreneurial options for young people to continue bringing up their people and communities. Their work to ensure that their community has connections to healthy food options is also revolutionary. The people of San Luis struggle to access to fresh, healthy foods, and can only access the packaged, unhealthy foods at Family Dollar, with the next closest grocery store 46 miles away in Alamosa. Most families cannot afford to drive to Alamosa for fresh food, and they get by on foods that are contributing to the sky-high rates of diabetes and obesity in Costilla County. By reviving land-based movements to encourage community members to get back to traditional ways of acequia farming, creating a community garden, building hornos to encourage traditional ways of cooking and storing food, and working on a long-term food storage plan, the youth of San Luis are trying to create a just, healthy, and equitable policy for a healthy community.

Summer 2017 programming focused on growing these initiatives while focusing as well on recent issues that the youth brought up throughout the year. We engaged in anti-bullying initiatives intended to give youth resources to create their own safe spaces in school. Youth also engaged with Grupo Sangre de Cristo, an activist group who has been focusing on preserving culture and traditions in the Sangre de Cristo area since 1981 to learn about teatro as a tool for social change. They built their knowledge of web presence social media and vlogging, connecting with global social justice movements with other young activists and leaders, and they set up plans to keep building. More information will be coming out in September about what youth accomplished in July 2017 when Move Mountains submits the July 2017 Programming Report. Additionally, we are working administratively to build a board that is more active and more representative of heirs to the Sangre de Cristo land grant. We are improving our assessment and evaluation practices to ensure that we are constantly updating our evidence-based practice with youth. We are working on diversifying and expanding our local support system, seeking donors, funders, artist educators, and mentors from San Luis and the surrounding Culebra communities, which gives youth a more in depth understanding of their culture and ways of life.

Financials

MOVE MOUNTAINS PROJECTS INCORPORATED
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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MOVE MOUNTAINS PROJECTS INCORPORATED

Board of directors
as of 4/29/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Andre Paul


Board co-chair

Miguel Huerta

Miguel Huerta

Andre Paul

Shirley Romero Otero

Lolita Castañeda

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No