Southwest Folklife Alliance

Southwest Folklife Alliance

Funding Received: 2017
Nogales, AZ
Funding Period: 2 years
January 11, 2019

by Stephanie Bermudez, VozFontera-StartupUnidos Project Director

October 24, 2018

To support the Startup Unidos fall youth program, we solicited support from business owners in Nogales and Tucson. They sponsored youth participation and made our field-trips possible. We are so grateful. Here's a little more about them.

Nicole Koch, Co-owner, Technicians for Sustainability

How does supporting SUUYVF inspire you?

Although I have had to work very long and hard as a business owner, I’ve also been supported encouraged and helped by others along the way. Since the beginning of our business, we understood that reaching out to support others is how we want to operate. We’re proud to have been able offer encouragement and support to many, especially youth. The vibrant creativity of youth, like the folks participating in SUUYVF, is especially exciting.

How do you see supporting border youth programs like ours a gateway to a better economic future?

A better economic future must create an opportunity for each person in our community to participate in dignified creative livelihood. Border youth programs like SUUYVF offer an environment where ideas and entrepreneurs can develop and thrive in order to create the transformative change our community needs.

What do you know about Nogales?

Nogales is made up of two separate yet connected communities, and many people and families live between the two.

Nogales is simultaneously a gateway south and north and also a place to be in and of itself.

Much of the food produced that comes into the U.S. comes through Nogales.

Nogales is the intersection between the U.S. and Mexico, and there is both a tension and collaboration there.


Eric R Meyer, Sales Manager, Prime Time International, and SUUYVF parent

If you could develop an app for Ambos Nogales, what problem could it solve?

Although we do not have a plethora of restaurants on [the U.S.] side, there are so many in Nogales, Sonora. Maybe an app that regularly visited lots of the different restaurants and took some of the ubiquitous food photos while giving props to the local restaurants would certainly attract some followers.

How well do you know Ambos Nogales?

Pretty well, could always know it better. I was born and raised in Nogales, Arizona. My wife of 21 years was born and raised in Nogales, Sonora. My mom was born and raised in Nogales, Arizona. My in laws have always lived in Nogales, Sonora. As a family we have strong Ambos Nogales ties.

What is your favorite characteristic that makes you a border citizen?

I just think the bilingual and bicultural aspect is what I have always found to be an advantage in my life experience. It has never been a negative.


Miguel “Mikee” Angel Suarez, Jr., Quality Control/Sales, Mas Melons and Grapes

How well do you know Ambos Nogales?

I was born in Nogales and have lived here for 18 years straight. Things have come and gone through the years, but a lot has stayed the same. I feel I know more about Ambos Nogales now because I’ve grown with it and I get to discover the new places to explore as it keeps evolving.

How does supporting SUUYVF inspire you?

I feel this program would have been great for me had it been around in my time. Supporting young people in my community to better themselves, their families and hopefully Nogales is something anyone can be proud of supporting.

What is your favorite characteristic that makes you a border citizen?

Because of our current political administration, I think my favorite characteristic is not being a stereotype and knowing the truth of what the border is and the great lives made on both sides of it.


Additional Sponsors

Dre (Kampfner) Voelkel, Programs/Events Director, Startup Tucson

Amy Smith, Manager and Director of Communications, EXO Roast Co.