Thank you, Celina!

We want to take this opportunity to thank Celina Montoya-Garcia, Women’s Leadership and Economic Freedom Program Manager, who is completing her time with TWU as of October 14 and moving into a position with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW).

Celina joined the TWU staff in February of 2017. Prior to that, she had worked for New Mexico Treatment Services, supporting families with addiction issues. She observed that the families she worked with were trying to recover within a system that sets people up for failure. Celina reflected, “I wanted to do prevention work with youth before it could possibly get to this point. I wanted them to see from a broader lens the perspective of historical trauma and the trickling effects that caused all the different forms of abuse onto others and themselves before it was too late.”

During her years with the A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project, Celina was able to do just that and she has had a huge positive impact on the young people she’s come into contact with and mentored. Since 2020 she’s been the Program Director for the Women’s Leadership and Economic Freedom Program (of which the A’Gin Project is a part).

When asked what TWU accomplishments she is most proud of, Celina responded,

“I would have to say watching the young people grow. In particular two people come to mind. Joycelyn, who started in our program in the sixth grade, is now in high school and doing amazing things. When I informed her that I was leaving she left me a sweet message: ‘Trying not to cry, but I am so happy that I got to meet you. You are the reason I’m the person I am today. I have so much to thank you for.’ And Joyce, who has been a part of the A’Gin program for four years then became an intern in the summer of 2022. She was a finalist for the youth poet laureate, she’s a member of the Three Sisters Collective, and a community advocate.”

Over the last two years Celina has been overseeing the Sayain (Circle of Grandmothers) project. She shares, “One of the most heartbreaking things for me to leave is the Sayaas. They bring the prevention work that TWU does full circle. They are the most sacred ancestral knowledge keepers. I have been blessed.”

Celina is very excited to step into her new position at CSVANW where she’ll be co-creating their land/ body violence program, as well as working with families directly impacted by MMIWR. 

“Celina has had an impactful impression on our youth through these years. She has helped to enhance our prevention work and will be missed. We send her off with blessings and gratitude.”

Dr. Corrine Sanchez