Youth Spirit Award winners

2018 Youth Spirit Award winners

See photos from the 2018 awards ceremony on our Flickr page here

Jonathan Alonzo
Jonathan Alonzo1st Place, Ages 13-18
Jonathan’s activism career began in 2014 at the age of 11 when he found a passion for social justice. In 2016, he stood on the frontlines with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. With his Native American and Chicano roots, Jonathan has always understood the importance of social movements and the role they play for his people. Interning at Generation Justice as a youth producer has opened new opportunities for him working with various activists, journalists and artists on community and national levels. He worked with SouthWest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) Youth Group and helped organize the 2018 Albuquerque Women’s March and March for Our Lives Albuquerque.
Yahaira Carreras Cubillas
Yahaira Carreras Cubillas2nd Place, Ages 13-18
Yahaira is attending CNM and plans to eventually earn a law degree. She was 2-years old when she moved to Arizona. Yahaira has worked with Young Women United and learned about reproductive health resources for all people, LBGTQ awareness and advocacy, and has done research and media creation on police reports and substance charges. She joined the SouthWest Organizing Project’s Con Mujeres group and learned about Dineh/Choctaw healing ways from indigenous elders. She was a lead organizer for the Albuquerque 2018 Women’s March and presented at the 2017 World March of Women (WMW) in Philadelphia.
Hope Alvarado
Hope Alvarado1st Place, Ages 19-26
Hope is a proud indigenous genderqueer femme from the Dine, Mescalero Apache, and Comanche Nations. She is a senior and double major at UNM in Intercultural Communication and Native American Studies with a minor in Peace Studies. Hope is involved as a youth leader at New Mexico Child Advocacy Networks (NMCAN). She uses her lived experiences to create and lead change in child welfare and incarceration systems through policy advocacy. In 2018, Hope helped with the Foster Youth Employment Tax Credit Law. She has traveled with the NM Dream Team to Washington, DC, to be involved with the Clean Dream Act in December of 2017.
Ingrid Karina Ordóñez
Ingrid Karina Ordóñez2nd Place, Ages 19-26
Ingrid is originally from Namiquipa, Chihuahua, Mexico and graduated from CNM. She came to the U.S. when she was 11 years old. She attended South Valley Academy high school and became involved with social justice projects. She linked up with classmates and created the Feria de Informacion Para la Comunidad Inmigrante, which dealt with labor rights issues, medical and education access, and emergency deportation plans for undocumented community members. When she got older, she and her brother were abandoned by their parents, but Ingrid was able to get legal guardianship of him. She took care of and raised her brother and both were able to get permanent resident status.

2017 Youth Spirit Award winners

See photos from the 2017 awards ceremony on our Flickr page here

Natalie Chambers
Natalie Chambers1st Place, Ages 13-19
Natalie’s extensive background in community engagement is demonstrative of her passion for helping others. Her involvement at school and with the community where she grew up has helped Natalie realize that she wants to dedicate her life to supporting people by becoming a psychologist, while continuing to be an active
community member. Natalie won an Albuquerque Selfless Senior Award acknowledging her engagement with food banks, homeless centers, her school’s student government association, and campaigns against underage cigarette usage.
Isabella Baker
Isabella Baker2nd Place, Ages 13-19
Isabella plans to advocate for social justice issues such as education, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and LGBTQ rights for the rest of her life. By age nine, she was already lobbying and marching in rallies about issues she cares about in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and other states with her stepmom, and has since been involved with multiple organizations including Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) and the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP).
Janelle Astorga
Janelle Astorga1st Place, Ages 20-26
Janelle is sophomore at the University of New Mexico studying political science and Chicano/a studies. She has advocated for educational equity for years and is especially focused on over-testing. Janelle has organized walk outs that received national attention as well as campaigns and trainings in collaboration with Albuquerque Public Schools and Youth Voices in Action. Janelle has been working with the SouthWest Organizing Project for years and is continuing her social justice passion by serving as an AmeriCorps intern through Public Allies and is on the board for the Latino Educational Task Force.
Avery Aguilar
Avery Aguilar2nd Place, Ages 20-26
Avery’s degree in Native American studies from the University of New Mexico has inspired him to work to mitigate language loss in his pueblo. Avery has partnered with agencies including the Laguna Pueblo Keres Language Team and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on projects such as the creation of a film with the goal of supplementing Native language instruction in the pueblo. Avery is currently working with Johns Hopkins University Center for American Indian Health on healthy food initiatives called Edible School Garden and NativeVision.

Photos from these awards ceremonies are posted on our Flickr page:


Photos from these awards ceremonies are posted on Ray A Mares’ online gallery: