The remote town of Pueblo Pintado is located in the northeastern corner of McKinley County, New Mexico. There, residents’ only access to water is through an old water tower, and the nearest Walmart and other modern conveniences are almost two hours away. It is also here that Tse’ Yi’ Gai (pronounced “Say Guy”) High School opened in September of 2004.
The school, accessible only by dirt road, is part of the Gallup-McKinley County Schools system in the Navajo Nation. The Nation comprises more than 27,000 square miles of spectacular but inhospitable countryside, extending into both Utah and Arizona. Despite its massive scale and rich cultural history, residents of the Nation face a great deal of poverty. There is virtually no employment; most families must sustain themselves through one of the region’s two primary industries: ranching or sheep-herding. Thankfully, students have the Tse’ Yi’ Gai High School to provide them with a quality education – the key to breaking the cycle of poverty so that they may rise above the difficult economic circumstances from which they come.
Sparking Lindsay’s desire to go to college
Children Incorporated used to lose children enrolled in our program in this region after middle school, because we didn’t have affiliations with high schools there. When these children graduated from middle school, they would move on to high schools that were not affiliated with us, and we were unable to continue to provide them with sponsorship support. For that reason, the partnership with Tse’ Yi’ Gai High School is so valuable – our sponsors can now continue helping children in this region all the way through high school, until they graduate, and establish longer, even more meaningful relationships with them.
While visiting Tse’ Yi’ Gai High School, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, was unfortunately unable to meet with our sponsored and unsponsored kids, because they were in the middle of testing; but thanks to our Volunteer Coordinator Paula, Renée was able to meet with Barbara, an older sister of one of our sponsored kids, Lindsay*. Barbara is employed as a teacher’s aide at the school. In 2016, Children Incorporated sent a Hope In Action Fund gift to help Lindsay so that she could attend the National Tribal Public Health Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. She had been chosen as one of the Navajo Tribe’s youth representatives. Barbara was so glad to express the family’s appreciation to Renée face-to-face, saying what an unforgettable experience it had been for Lindsay.
Barbara continued by telling Renée that she feels that the event really sparked Lindsay’s desire to go to college once she graduates, and that she has expressed an interest in the subject of health issues that native peoples face. Even though Renée wasn’t able to meet with the children, Barbara’s comments alone made her feel that the trip was an incredible success, because Children Incorporated, with the support of Lindsay’s sponsor, was able to help a young girl dream big, and to see the value in getting a good education, which is what we strive to do every day for kids in need.
*Name changed for child’s protection.