Think of it as white blood cells “rushing to wherever the problem is.”
That’s how Somos Unidos Foundation Executive Director Chanel Wiese-Carl described the organization’s “United in Health” initiative aimed at creating a healthier New Mexico.
The initiative from Somos Unidos, the nonprofit arm of New Mexico United, is new in branding, but not new in community outreach.
Since its inception in 2020 the organization has hosted blood drives and vaccination campaigns for COVID-19, the latter of which is a joint venture with the New Mexico Department of Health through a $75,000 grant awarded last summer.
“United in Health” will continue to host blood drives and vaccination clinics, some possibly at United matches throughout the season, Wiese-Carl said.
“You’re bringing your family to a free community soccer clinic; it’s like, ‘Why don’t we also try to be more of a one-stop shop and include things like health care information (and) resources?” Wiese-Carl said.
But the “United in Health” initiative, officially kicking off on April 1 with a health and wellness fair at Tiguex Park, will also have other key components — from promoting physical movement and wellness to mental health resources.
The initiative, Wiese-Carl said, has been a central part of the organization going back more than two years — part of the Somos Unidos’ efforts to create a healthy and happy community.
Peter Trevisani, the owner and lead executive for New Mexico United, said the club’s original goal and their mission statement is “to bring the people of New Mexico together in ways they’ve never come together before.”
In turn, “United in Health” allows the club and its nonprofit arm to be an “active steward in our community,” he said.
Part of the initiative stemmed from a call from the Governor’s Office to the organization about setting up a blood drive at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which it did in 2020. That focus on public health from Somos Unidos evolved into the organization providing relevant material on the pandemic and vaccinations.
And going forward, Wiese-Carl said the plan is to further expand public health campaigns and outreach through “United in Health.”
“Maybe you’re (the person) who’s never been on an elliptical before. We have someone who wants to bring out exercise equipment and teach people how to use that so that they’re more confident going to the gym,” she said. “Under this United in Health umbrella, and under the fact that we consider ourselves a united community and like are moniker of Somos Unidos, I think that it’s going to increase public health outcomes.”