The Pascua Yaqui Tribe works hard to keep its language vibrant. Our friends at the tribe have told us the translation of Itom Hiapsi: our heart.
That is what the words mean in English. But, more importantly, we are seeing what the Itom Hiapsi project means to American Indian families.
I recently dropped in to check on the project’s progress. I was impressed, as usual, with the tribe’s high quality facility and program management. I also learned an interesting example of what the project means to families.
Before the tribe built Itom Hiapsi, services were provided at scattered and inefficient locations throughout the community. Now the tribe can provide its full suite of services under one roof. So what does this mean? Let’s look at how families benefit when Education and Behavioral Health can share a building.
Before Itom Hiapsi, Education program staff dealt with a stubbornly high truancy rate. They needed to work with their colleagues in Behavioral Health to bring the entire family to the table to combat this problem. Without adequate facilities, this collaboration was impossible. Itom Hiapsi allows all programs to work together in a holistic, client-centered environment. Since implementing this strategy, truancy in Guadalupe has dropped by over 60 percent.
Congratulations to the Pascua Yaqui tribal leadership on setting an important vision. Congratulations to the dedicated staff implementing it every day.
If your community’s goals can be furthered by updating or building culturally-relevant, thoughtfully-designed buildings, get in touch with me. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has shown that New Markets Tax Credits are an effective tool to address community needs.