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Local children’s home gets boost in ‘well-being’

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Nichole Rogers, founder of the Welstand Foundation, holds a pint of Marble Brewery\’s Welstand Stout. The brewery will donate 25% of the stout\’s proceeds to the foundation. (Courtesy of Marble Brewery)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

It takes a village to raise a child and that is why the Welstand Foundation was created.

The nonprofit founded in June 2019 by community members and organizational leaders focuses on improving the well-being of people of color. Welstand, which is Afrikaans for “well-being,” is on the path to open its first home for children of color in New Mexico in July 2021 to serve children ages 8 to 12 years old. Besides offering a place to live, the home will provide ongoing education, mentorship, counseling and more. The foundation’s mission is to empower the next generation by creating programs and providing necessary resources in underprivileged areas.

In celebration of Black History Month, Marble Brewery, Nexus Brewery and Hollow Spirits Distillery have teamed up to bring awareness to Welstand Foundation as well and raise funds to benefit its programs. Marble brewed a 10-barrel batch of Welstand Stout that is available while supplies last at all three of its taprooms. It will donate 25% of the proceeds to the Welstand Foundation.

“Raising awareness of and highlighting local African American leadership within New Mexico can encourage positive change within our country and community,” Barbie Gonzalez, Marble Brewery president states in a news release. “With craft beer as Marble Brewery’s foundation, the Welstand Stout and our partnership with Hollow Spirits and Nexus Brewery will aid in the effort to serve underprivileged African American youth within our state. Together we can make a difference.”

Nexus will be donating 25% of its Imperial Cream Ale profits in February toward the cause.

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Ken Carson, owner of Nexus Brewery, holds a pint of the brewery\’s Imperial Cream Ale. The brewery will donate 25% of proceeds from the ale to the Welstand Foundation. (Courtesy of Welstand Foundation)

“My parents were involved in a home just like that with the (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) back about 20 years ago and they had kids and there’s a lot of success stories that they had,” said Ken Carson, owner of Nexus Brewery. “Unfortunately they didn’t have the funding to keep the thing going long term and so they had to shut it down. But it was a really good program and it helped out a lot of kids that came through that house when they had it.”

Carson’s parents’ involvement in something similar to Welstand’s youth home was key in him wanting to help.

“When I heard about it they were asking us, well Ken what foundation or what program would you like to participate with (during Black History Month) and I came up with a couple ideas,” he explained. “And when I heard what Welstand was I immediately said ‘no, I want to support that.’ ”

Hollow Spirits will give 25% of its Pom Rose liquor sales throughout February to Welstand – that includes cocktails made with Pom Rose and bottle sales. Hollow Spirits has a special connection to Welstand’s founder Nichole Rogers, who is sister to the distillery’s executive chef Tristin Rogers.

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Frank Holloway, founder of Hollow Spirits Distillery, is donating 25% of its Pom Rose liquor sales to the Welstand Foundation. (Courtesy of Welstand Foundation)

“For me it’s amazing because Nichole is chef’s sister and I’ve known her for so long and I’ve known she’s wanted to do this and she’s been big in the Black community for a while now so I’m happy I could just help a little bit in her dream,” said Frank Holloway, Hollow Spirits founder. “And then it’s amazing working with somebody with the name like Marble and then Ken who’s been huge in the industry. So it’s fun to just even be included in that so I’m happy about that.”

The donations will go toward furnishing and decorating the children’s home.

“All of the donations will go directly to fill the house with furniture and we’re gonna have themed rooms,” Nichole Rogers said. “We’re gonna have a Wakanda Black Panther room and a Spider-Man room and Star Wars and Harry Potter and fun kind of things for the kids. I mean, everywhere I visited the homes, they looked so institutionalized, like little jails, and I don’t want (that). So that’s why we decided to go with a model where we buy a home, instead of having them in a big industrial building or something like that. So they get a sense of normalcy, and like they’re in a home that is truly for them.”

There are currently about 100 African American children in New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department custody, according to Rogers.

“We did a bunch of focus groups with kids that were in CYFD custody, some that had just aged out, and others that were closer to the 25 age group, and the resounding message I got from them was, ‘we don’t like it, we don’t need programs, because every time we get a program that we like, it goes away because of funding,'” Rogers said. “‘And it’s like, all the money goes away, then all these things that we need go away. And we just want, like, normal, like, just normal, like just to be able to feel like we are in a normal home.'”

Rogers and foundation members are doing everything to make the home sustainable even if funding stops with the help of monetary donations. There also are volunteer opportunities that include mentoring, tutoring, fostering, home improvement, landscaping and more. The community can contribute donations, sign up to volunteer and learn more about the foundation on its website welstandfoundation.org.

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