Much has happened since the summer of 2014 when the Ruidoso News published a letter to the editor and reported on the plight of homeless students in Lincoln County. The High Mountain Youth Project of Lincoln County, New Mexico, formerly the Homeless Students Task Force, has incorporated and is now a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Here are a few of the past activities of the High Mountain Youth Project:
A “Homeless Students Task Force” started meeting in April 2014. Members of the faith community, school personnel, representatives from health and social service agencies, philanthropists, ENMU-Ruidoso, and other concerned folk identified unmet needs of homeless students, with a starting point of helping the high school homeless population.
Members of the Task Force spent the summer of 2014 advocating for the homeless students by writing newspaper articles, talking to their neighbors and friends, talking on local radio shows, and speaking at Village Council meetings and group meetings including Rotary Club and the Lincoln County and Mescalero Ministerial Alliance.
In October, the Task Force officially organized as “The High Mountain Youth Project of Lincoln County, New Mexico”, with a vision statement, mission statement, goals, officers, a board of directors, and committees for site procurement, funds, publicity, and non-profit/IRS paperwork.
Ruidoso High School Natural Helpers came up with “Rad Pad” as a name for a shelter
HMYP opened a checking account
HMYP incorporated in the State of New Mexico on February 23, 2015. 501(c) (3) Public Charity Determination by IRS August 6, 2015
High School art students submitted designs for a logo for HMYP; winning designer awarded a $50 gift card
Inspiration for Our Logo:
Amanda Issacks is the winner of the logo contest sponsored by the High Mountain Youth Project! An art contest at Ruidoso High School produced 30 entries and Amanda’s entry was chosen as the winner. Congratulations, Amanda!
The purpose of the contest was to engage high school students in the project to provide an evening drop-in center for their classmates who might be homeless. The center will be a safe haven for these teens.
In the fall of 2017, HMYP leased and began renovations of a commercial office space for the future Evening Drop in Center at #14 Jira Plaza in Ruidoso.
On February 8, 2018, Mayor Tom Battin presented HMYP with a Business License.
On February 12, 2018, the Evening Drop in Center welcomed its first students.
Over 170 students have “dropped in” since that first evening.
Currently, HMYP is looking for a permanent home for the Evening Drop-in Center and future Youth Crisis Shelter.