Agencies team up to help students 'off the grid'

Created: 12/10/2013 6:34 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

There are several students that go to APS who go home to a house with no electricity, no heat and no light. Several agencies teamed up to help these kids who live "off the grid" in a place called Pajarito Mesa.

"A lot of the families may not have lighting or electricity," said Kristine Meuer with APS. "So when it gets dark, kids can't finish their homework."

That's why APS, Bernallio County and Rio Grande Educational Collaborative are coming together to try and make a difference for the 80 students of Pajarito Mesa.

Many of the kids drive or walk the two and a half miles to their bus stop and wait out in the cold. But that's come to an end. A building donated by APS and run by the county has been up for a couple of years. But a new initiative is being put in place, offering after school programs for kids.

"I think we have a humanitarian obligation to do something, particularly for the children and I'm appreciative that APS is stepping up to the plate to partner with Benralillo County," said county commissioner Art De La Cruz. "So we have a safer place for the children."

The kids will have a warm place to study, mentors help them with homework and some snacks to eat before they head home.

Even though they only opened for one day, supervisors are already hearing praise.

"Yesterday they were thanking me and telling me they were so glad I was here," said supervisor Felicia Anaya with Rio Grande Educational Collaborative. "It really warmed my heart."

The building is open and ready for kids to wait for the bus to pick them up. Programs will start January 13th and will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting.

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