Weed And Seed Las Cruces

Arthur C. Fielder Safe Haven Weed and Seed Program provides a safe place for at-risk youth Buy cannabis seeds in Las Cruces online from I49 New Mexico! Choose from autoflower, regular and feminized marijuana seeds for sale in the USA. 1-888-441-4949 On Aug. 17, 2021, a group of fourth- and fifth-grade students with the A. Fielder Memorial Safe Haven Weed and Seed program visited a neighboring home to…

Community spotlight: Safe Haven – Weed and Seed

Arthur C. Fielder Safe Haven Weed and Seed Program provides a safe place for at-risk youth.

Without the Arthur C. Fielder Safe Haven Weed and Seed Program, 17-year-old Roman Garcia of Las Cruces said his life would have turned out very differently.

“I know that I would either be in jail, dead or on the street,” Garcia said.

Like many other kids who attend the Weed and Seed program, Garcia, who has two younger brothers, grew up facing unfortunate circumstances. As a child, he witnessed domestic violence between his mother and father and other male figures who entered his life. He was exposed to substance abuse and gang involvement. When things got worse, he and his younger siblings were placed in a foster home, where Garcia said he experienced even more abuse.

But throughout, Garcia said Safe Haven, 906 N. Tornillo St., was the one place he could go for security and safety. He has attended the Weed and Seed program since he was in first grade.

“Since I’ve been coming here, it’s more of a family than it is an after-school program,” Garcia said.

Weed and Seed was started 17 years ago by three Las Cruces Police Department officers who wrote a grant to fund the program, Felipe Briseño, youth program coordinator, said.

“They found this place,” Briseño said. “It was an old crack house, and they bought it and turned it into a safe haven for the kids in the neighborhood.”

Under the supervision of LCPD, the program’s goal was, and still is, to weed out the bad in the neighborhood, like gangs, drugs and violence, and seed it with good, Briseño said.

However, in 2014, supervision of Weed and Seed was transferred to the city Parks and Recreationa Department, under which the program has experienced significant budget cuts. Over the past two years, the program’s funding has been slashed from about $500,000 to about $180,000, Briseño said.

While the program continues to serve as a resource for at-risk youth, the budget cuts have reduced staff, services and activities formerly provided by Weed and Seed, Briseño said.

“The summer program this year — we were (forced to) cut hours, so we kind of had to do two different programs; we do one in the morning for the younger group for four hours and we do one with the older group that’s four hours,” he said. “There wasn’t money available for us to extend our hours in the summer like we did before.”

The summer program currently has 80 kids enrolled and 26 kids waiting to get into the program. During the school year, there were 75 kids enrolled in the after-school program, Briseño said.

During the summer program, youth in grades 1 through 12 participate in daily challenges, various recreational games, arts and crafts projects, physical fitness and community service activities, he said.

Briseño said Weed and Seed is an important part of the community because it provides a place for at-risk youth to stay out of trouble and learn values, such as respect and responsibility.

“A lot of (the kids) are searching for a role model or they’re searching for a place to hang out and be comfortable, and we provide that for them here,” he said.

Garcia, who currently lives with his mother, a single parent, said during his time in the program, Briseño has become a father figure to him.

“Anything that a father would do for a son — he’s always been there,” Garcia said.

Briseño said, over the years, he and the staff have seen the impact the Weed and Seed program can have on kids.

“I would say probably half of the teens that I have in my program would be out on the street, selling drugs, in a gang, probably wouldn’t be in school,” said youth program specialist Jackie Simmons. “We make sure they get tutoring help, we look at their grades, we make sure they’re going to graduate.”

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Garcia, a senior at Centennial High School, said after he graduates, he plans to attend New Mexico State University to study engineering or attend an art program in Seattle.

“I do like to draw a lot, so maybe architecture,” he said.

Briseño said the Weed and Seed program is free and that children must meet certain criteria to register, such as being enrolled in the free lunch program at their school, living in a single-parent home or a home in which the parents are attending school.

Briseño said Weed and Seed is always open to accepting volunteers who would like to help out with the children or perform other tasks. The program also accepts donations, which can be dropped off at Safe Haven on Tornillo Street. Volunteers must apply through the city. For more information about the Weed and Seed program, call 575-528-4263. For information about volunteering opportunities, call the City of Las Cruces at 575-541-2000.

Alexia Severson may be reached at 575-541-5462, [email protected] or @AlexiaMSeverson on Twitter.

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What: Arthur C. Fielder Safe Haven Weed and Seed Program

Las Cruces

Nestled between the Organ Mountains and the Dona Ana Mountains sits Las Cruces, the humble city known for holding the trails of notorious Billy the Kid, as well as the temporary home of Mexican General Pancho Villa. The sprawling Southwestern landscape in the surrounding areas offer fantastic outdoor activities for hiking, biking and exploring. Offering a relaxed vibe, the city is home to an excellent thriving economy, rich architecture, a vibrant art scene, awe inspiring wedding venues and spectacular annual festivals.

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Safe Haven Community Service Project in Las Cruces

On Aug. 17, 2021, a group of fourth- and fifth-grade students with the A. Fielder Memorial Safe Haven Weed and Seed program visited a neighboring home to pick up trash and pluck weeds from the owner’s yard.

The participants spent the afternoon carefully pulling the weeds from their roots, to ensure the weeds would not grow back.

The youth are assigned to and monitored by Mr. Nick Arias, Youth Program Specialist, who utilizes a component of an ancient Spartan teaching tool for the youth to model. The group has an emphasis on self-reliance, intellect, and protection and service toward the community.

The kids were happy to help as well. They worked tirelessly to pick up the large number of weeds that had been growing.

Ms. Lucy Miranda, the owner of the house, was thankful to the group of kids helping in her yard. She said the man who comes to maintain the yard hadn’t shown up in some time.

“Having the kids come and help remove these weeds was a big help and I really appreciated it,” Miranda said.

The youth filled 10 bags of weeds and plan to return to assist with painting Miranda’s fence in the coming weeks. Within the Weed and Seed program, through positive role models, each group of youth are responsible to give back to the community with litter pick up at parks and neighboring streets, graffiti abatement in the city, visit assisted living participants to interact and communicate with an older generation, and other community-driven activities to show appreciation and to remind them that it is always beneficial to give back to the community we live in.

This program instills responsibility, both personally and academically, communication, cooperation and creativity. The A. Fielder Memorial Safe Haven Weed and Seed program is at 906 N. Tornillo St., in the heart of Las Cruces’ Mesquite Historic District neighborhood.