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Site Director Highlight: Ella Johnson, Albuquerque

Be The Neighbor Site Directors work with local nonprofits and subject matter experts to plan a trip that teaches participants about the different topics impacting the communities they serve, and many communities around the United States. They work hard to develop our trips and we couldn't fulfill our mission to live lives of love, service, and justice without them. We find them all inspiring and want to share with you, so that you can be inspired too!

So, without further ado, meet Ella Johnson, 2024's Albuquerque Site Director. Groups who attend these trips will be learning about Indigenous Justice.

How long have you worked with Be The Neighbor?

I was an intern in Albuquerque last year!

What are you most looking forward to for this summer?

I am most looking forward to getting a different perspective on how the Be The Neighbor weeks work from behind the scenes. I am also looking forward to being in a supportive role for the interns, which is particularly exciting because I know exactly what they are going through and feel like I can be a helpful

resource for them! I am also extremely excited to learn more about Indigenous Rights and

Justice through my experience this summer, and to learn through the youth's questions and wonder.

Tell us more about the justice topic that groups will focus on at your site. How does that issue impact your community?

The justice topic that Albuquerque is going to focus on is Indigenous Rights and Justice. This topic impacts my community because, like most cities in the United States, my hometown and the university I currently attend are on indigenous land that was unjustly taken away through colonization and violence. At TCU, I have been more involved in indigenous justice than in my hometown, because I regularly attend the ceremonies hosted by the Native American Students Association where I get to learn about indigenous spirituality and witness their practices

and rituals, attend Indigenous guest speakers who come to campus to talk about indigenous issues in video games or other topics of passion, and participate in TCU's annual Native American and Indigenous People's Day. This is a topic of justice I hope to pursue more in my life outside of Be The Neighbor, but is something I was passionate about before my internship with them last summer, and have increased my learning and experience with this past year.

What does your life look like when you're not being a Site Director for Be The Neighbor?

I am currently a senior at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, but by the time my Albuquerque weeks come along, I will be a fresh graduate! I plan on taking a gap year after I graduate to work for Be The Neighbor in the summer and hopefully DC the rest of the year, and then pursue a joint postgraduate education in Law and Divinity! I also have two amazing parents, Tim and Joann, and two siblings who I love a ton, Charlie and Dels. I also have a 3 year old puppy back home in Colorado whom I am obsessed with!!


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