Throughout her work community over the years with various organizations, Nichole Rogers started to notice something.
There were gaps in assistance for teens and young adults, a reality that hit Black youth and other youths of color particularly hard. To help solve the problem, she established the Welstand Foundation in 2019. Welstand is Afrikaans for “well-being” so the name was fitting she said.
“The overall health of these youth is super important,” she said. “We focus on all things well being for these kids. We have a holistic approach.”
Rogers’ vision is to purchase multiple houses around Albuquerque that will serve as homes for youth in the community experiencing homelessness. They will provide residents of these homes with all the services they need, including therapy and help completing their schooling. Rogers said the pandemic and rising home costs temporarily derailed her plans.
She has joined forces with Marble Brewery, Hollow Spirits Distillery and Nexus Brewery to usher her dream further along its path. In honor of Black History Month, the three businesses have brewed up a 15-barrel batch of Red Beers & Rice Lager and $1 from every pint sold will benefit Welstand.
According to a statement released by Hollow, Marble and Nexus, the beer’s name honors the classic Southern dish of red beans and rice “which reflects the deep and complex history of food and tradition from which American cuisine has grown. Mirroring that complexity, Red Beers & Rice is a rich lager with a strong base of rice to balance the robust flavors of earthy hops and dark malts, which create the red hue.”
The beer can only be found on draft and has a 6.1% ABV.
Rogers, who is currently the African American community liaison for the city, said many older children and young adults struggle to get on their feet and transition to adulthood. Often times when they age out of the system at 18, they are left floundering and sometimes homeless. The pandemic has exacerbated that completely.
“The main service we have provided so far is plugging people into resources,” she said. “If they call us and need internet we connect them to broadband assistance. The same with rental assistance. If they need food, we connect them to local pantries.”
One of the first projects Welstand took on was helping the African American community in New Mexico complete the Census. Rogers said Black people are historically undercounted.
This is the second year Hollow, Marble and Nexus have teamed up to help the Welstand Foundation.
“So many children are left behind and forgotten,” Hollow Spirits Owner Frank Holloway said. “Thank you Welstand, Nexus, and Marble for letting us help fight for our forgotten youth.”