The Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA), Mail for Troops Box has moved to the Los Alamos Youth Activity Center where director Bailey Martinez and the YAC members are happy to help with this community project. Courtesy photo
BY BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Champions of Youth Ambitions
The month of August finds the Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA), “Mail for Troops,” box at the Los Alamos Youth Activity Centers (YAC), thanks to YAC Director Bailey Martinez.
“The YAC’s are always looking for ways to make a difference and to be involved in the community,” said Martinez. “We want to take part in uplifting and thanking our troops and military kids.”
Martinez knows that by allowing youth to participate in such an easy act of kindness, it also teaches them to honor sacrifice, and they are happy to assist. She is an extraordinary asset builder, being with the youth centers for many years and watching children grow. She understands the instrumental foundation of kindness and support that gives her students opportunities to succeed and thrive, the hallmarks of the Search Institute 40 Developmental Assets philosophy and C’YA too.
Martinez worked through the ranks of the centers, from employee, to activities coordinator, co-director and director of the program. She has seen many faces come through the centers, some arriving the last day of second grade, when one can officially join. She has seen them navigate life’s challenges and then move on from middle school to high school. Recently, she even worked staff and C’YA to get some morale boosting words for a former member of the program, after an injury.
The positive project work of the YACs is not new, but one many years in the making.
“In the past, our members have participated in making cards for veterans, collecting, and putting together bags of necessities for homeless individuals, and making cards for military kids,” said Martinez. “We encourage our youth to be helpful and kind. Our YAC members are always willing to support, help, or lend a hand to others.”
The youth activity centers also worked with Champions of Youth Ambitions to continue an old pastime called Cookies and Conversations. The program started in 2009 and has continued in many forms, even during the pandemic. It brings together senior citizens and youth for light-hearted conversation during a stress-free activity. C’YA sponsors cookies as an incentive so that all ages have something to “chew on” when the need arises.
To learn more about sponsoring the military mailbox call (505) 695-9139.