Our Program Coordinator
Message from the Coordinator
As the coordinator of the Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, I am very excited to be part of this wonderful project. The hard work and dedication of those who created the Journey has been a labor of love for many years. It is a great honor for me to continue this work.
We stand alone nationwide in our endeavor. There is no other program like ours in the country. What we are building will become a model both regionally and internationally for other Hispanic Serving Institutions.
Chicana/o Studies along with African American Studies believe that this unique program will instill in the hearts of our college students and the high school teams we work with the spirit of cooperation and stewardship that is the legacy of our ancestors. The Journey is about team work, community service, honoring our ancestors, knowing our history, excellence in academics and striving for a better tomorrow by engaging the minds of our youth in thought provoking competition.
We are all from indigenous peoples and the past has much to teach us about being caretakers of the Earth. As we embark on the newest leg of our journey together we invite you to join as we explore new horizons and celebrate the bright future of our students.
Dr. Renee Fajardo
Dr. Fajardo has long been an advocate of children's and family rights. Her work with art education, literacy, and community programming have crossed all borders and boundaries. The former director of the Crossover Project, a nonprofit cultural arts education program, Dr. Fajardo has organized summer camps for at risk children, implemented high school cultural workshops, and helped provide cultural programming to thousands of students in the past 15 years.
As a board member of many cultural-nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Colorado, Dr. Fajardo has extensive knowledge of cultural, ceremonial, and community traditions of numerous indigenous people. Her own Chicana/Native American (Picuris Pueblo) and European roots allow her to be sensitive to the many nuances that face today students of color.
A Denver native and graduate of the University of Nebraska, College of she is also a freelance writer specializing in the South West. She has published articles dealing with subjects ranging from the migrant farm worker crisis in America to the importance of cultural art in impoverished neighborhoods to profiling success stories of immigrant families who own their own businesses.
She is also the co-author of the Holy Mole Guacamole Tummy Tale series with Carl Ruby, a series of four children books on food, culture, and family. She co-produced the Return of the Corn Mothers exhibition, a Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Award recipient for 2009, along with master photographer Todd Pierson. She strongly believes that community is family and through our connection to our past and ancestral ways we can empathize with others in a compassionate way.