Youth sorting food packages for distribution to community members

Valencia Community Action Network

Staff Admin

Above Image Courtesy of Image Courtesy of VCAN - VCAN distributes food to 175-200 families per month in Valencia County

The Valencia Community Action Network (VCAN) works to improve the quality of life for residents in the rural areas of Valencia County through community partner collaboration, civic engagement, community events and capacity building training. Our mission is to co-create opportunities for community-based action and empowerment that celebrates and benefits our diverse and gifted people. Our vision is a Valencia County where residents connect with and act on community-driven quality of life projects. McCune funding aligns well with our theory of change that centers community partner collaboration to improve quality of life in rural areas. The majority of our work has been accomplished by volunteer power from the board of directors and community members.

VCAN is driven by the vision of improving the quality of life for communities in the rural areas of Valencia County. Our county has seen tremendous growth and investment when looking to the incorporated areas like Los Lunas, however, this improved quality of life has not been shared equitably in the unincorporated areas of the county. The VCAN community is fueled by the deep desire to address the disparity between rural and more populated areas of the county. The East Mesa (Meadow Lake and El Cerro) have been the main areas of organizing and work over the past 5 years. Based on our 2021 strategic planning we saw the need to center our youth participants in planning and providing opportunities to engage and grow as they lead in addressing issues faced by their fellow community members. We have made incredible progress on this and for the upcoming year we plan to make this more structural by standing up our ability to hire staff as well as fleshing our organizational policies and procedures.

Valencia County residents in rural areas are struggling with the most fundamental human needs of safety, belonging and dignity. We have a big vision where the community center is open and thriving with activity, where the community gardens are community led and where youth have spaces like a skate park and build a sense of belonging. This coming year, to build our capacity, we will move from engaging the youth so they themselves are visualizing and leading the work with our support.

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