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Home » Uncategorized » La Plata & Aldo Leopold Dream Makers are our future health professionals

La Plata & Aldo Leopold Dream Makers are our future health professionals


Friday, May 3, 2019; Silver City, NM: Deziraye Salgado has her future all sewn up thanks to her participation in the Dream Makers Club where she learned how to suture wounds. The La Plata Middle School 8th Grader wants to pursue a career in health care after a year-long whirlwind adventure through the career opportunities available in the field of health care offered by the after-school club.

Hidalgo Medical Services medical resident, Dr. Susan Bauer (middle) teaches the basics of suturing wounds to La Plata Dream Makers Alina Ortiz (left) and Deziraye Salgado (right).

Salgado and 21 other Grant County Middle School students graduated the Dream Makers Club last month. Along their way to graduating, the teens visited with veterinarians, learned to take vital signs from a midwife, toured research laboratories at the University of New Mexico (UNM), and climbed into a Native Air medical helicopter.

The Club has chapters in Deming’s Red Mountain Middle School, Silver City’s La Plata Middle School and Aldo Leopold Charter Middle School. Experimental Education Coordinator Maia Chaney sponsors the club at Aldo Leopold Charter Middle School while history teacher Katrina Bustillos is the sponsor at La Plata Middle School. Both educators hold Master of Arts in Teaching and understand the importance of enriching their students’ education with hands-on experiences.

“Dream Makers is a great program that brings students and community members together to learn about health careers. Students get to discover where they can make a difference and possible paths they can take to get there,” said Chaney.

Bustillos added, “Dream Makers Club is an opportunity to for students to find out more and explore what options are out there regarding college. The students were able to visit two university settings and experience the smaller campus at Western New Mexico University versus a larger campus at UNM.” For many students, the Dream Maker Club tours were their first-time visiting university campuses, which made dreams they thought impossible become easily attainable with the career paths they learned about directly from health professionals.

La Plata 8th Grader, Cierra Benavidez saw first-hand the limited space Native Air flight crews “work in but still are able to their jobs.” 

Every year, distinguished Dream Makers are recognized with a certificate of excellence for their outstanding participation in the club.

Eight Grader, Alina Ortiz received the certificate of excellence for La Plata Middle School. Ortiz liked exploring the UNM Medical School campus with Dream Makers Club and “seeing the learning lab where they had advanced mannequins that could talk and react to you as you asked it questions.”

Aldo Leopold Charter Middle School’s Jasper Bingham and Kyleigh Oakes received recognition for their participation.

James Galindo and Yevannette Dobson perfect their technique applying a cast to a mannequin arm with the Dream Makers Club which taught them about the variety of careers in the healthcare field.

“Learning how to ‘doctor’ is fun,” said 7th Grader Bingham, who was enthusiastic of his time in Dream Makers.

Oakes, a 7th Grader, said of her Dream Makers Club experience, “I got to do stuff I didn’t know how to do, like casting and injecting needles.”

Program Coordinator for UNM’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Rosa Samudio addressed the graduates and said a little about the program, “We strive to promote inclusivity and diversity throughout the UNM Health Sciences Center as well as seeking to engage communities across New Mexico to advance health equity through programs and sustainable, collaborative partnerships.”

“Our hope with this program is that the students learn about all the various opportunities there are in the health care field, and that that they realize that any career is within their reach.  Ultimately, our goal is that they will become health professionals and will return and serve in their communities,” said Baudelia “Bala” Salgado, Director of the FORWARD New Mexico Area Health Education Center (FNM-AHEC) which coordinates the regional clubs.

CHI Board member and New Mexico Representative Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez attended the graduation, and praised the students and program, “Congratulations on their participation in the program. It certainly opens doors for a brighter future for these students.”

The Dream Makers Clubs are sponsored through a partnership with the UNM Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and FORWARD New Mexico Area Health Education Center (AHEC), a program of the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) which serves the southwest region of New Mexico. Dream Makers Club is offered at no-cost to students at participating schools.

Aldo Leopold Charter School Dream Makers graduates include Aaliyah Arellano, Jasper Bingham, Amelia Ellis, Joshua Estrada, James Galindo, Makiah Granadino, Kenyon Grant, Joshua Rios, Isabella Wacondo, Josephine Khera, Yevannette Dobson, Angie Arrellano, Lily Myers, Kyleigh Oakes, Emily Riggs, Maya Reeves and Yureau Rice.

La Plata Middle School Dream Makers graduates included Cierra Benavidez, Alina Ortiz, Deziraye Salgado and Avery Wenzel.

The graduating Aldo Leopold Charter School and La Plata Middle School Dream Makers Club 2019 completed a year-long exploration of possible health care careers.

For more information on the Dream Makers Clubs contact Salgado at (575) 597-0030 or email: