08Jun2023

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Where There’s WILL, There’s A Way

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Pueblo, Colorado 81001

The I Will Projects

Empowering Communities Through Education.

The Story

My nephew Will Breidenbach will be remembered. His final words to me were about doing something important with horticulture.

He will not be forgotten because The I Will Projects was created in his memory. I could say it was because he was the first baby I ever held, or because he struggled from mental illness issues. He never really got to live his life.

But it’s so much more.  Memorials can create awareness.

Those of us who carry the torch are thankful for the group of individuals who find strength in camaraderie. It is through working for a cause and becoming our best selves that we are able to enact systematic change that moves The I Will Projects to a more complete organization, ready to assist when we are allowed to be involved with repairing our earth.

During the early years, set backs were difficult but we were able to continue because all of us believed in our mission. Our extraordinary team has kept working and persevering through every adversity, even the Covid shutdown.

Our organization could not have survived the past 13 years without the support of like- minded individuals and state, national and international leadership.  

Our journey continues. We strive to make our earth a place to be treated with respect. With that goal in mind, we must face our challenges with less ego and more care and compassion for all that inhabit it.

It is a privilege to be allowed to pursue our mission and carry forth Will Breidenbach’s legacy, as we build a better world.

And live the mantra, Where There’s Will There’s A Way.

With sincere gratitude, Alice Hill – Founder of The I Will Projects

the i will projects logo

We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.

Dr. Henry Link

Help is Our Goal

What Make Us Different

We Educate

We empower communities through education, collaboration and sustainable innovation.

We Help

Provide healthy and fresh food access, and recognizes food as medicine.

We Build

Equitable access to nutritious food and address systemic issues of food access.

Why Donate

When you invest in IFIZ, you are investing in a sustainable future.

A CIRCLE OF INNOVATORS

Meet Our Team

Cheryl Anderson

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Encarnación Cheryl Anderson is committed to working in service of her friends, family & neighbors. Using her grant writing expertise, and deep knowledge of systems-level thinking, she has effectively worked in K-12 charter and public schools, community organizations, and two-year Institutions of Higher Education. She graduated from Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), is an alumnus Raoul Wallenberg Fellow program at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and attended graduate school at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Cheryl is a Fellow of the UnidosUS National Institute of Latino School Leaders program.

Alice L. Hill

Founder
Founding The I Will Projects has been a challenge that has taken every skill set I possess to make it a success. My natural tendency and educational background are based on my marketing roots: discover an unmet need, rally the troops, then fill that need to the best of my ability. My nephew Will Breidenbach, led me on this journey and I am able to persevere on this path in honor of his memory. His love of horticulture brought him solace and learning through being in the outdoors.

Nate Miller

INNOVATION SYSTEMS DESIGNER
Nate is a unique individual with so many skill-sets he is known by many as a jack-of-all-trades. His educational background is in the culinary arts, although his expertise and passion for aquaponics grow system design stems from his knowledge of aquariums, indoor farming, and building a large aquaponics system at Pueblo Central High School. He is a native Puebloan, family man, and a mentor providing student interns with direction for innovations of new growing systems. He is concerned about the future of our planet and believes his work at the IFIZ may be pivotal in shifting to a more sustainable paradigm locally.

Susan Finzel

Education Specialist
Comes to us with a BS degree in Recreation and Parks Management, with a Natural Resource Conservation emphasis. She joined IFIZ in Fall 2018, bringing 30+ years of environmental education, classroom teaching and special events experience. She has coordinated programs at nature centers, zoos, parks and recently served as a health department specialist promoting recycling, materials diversion and sustainability in the city and county of Pueblo. She is a Life Member of Girl Scouts USA, and has served on three environmental nonprofit boards.

Sandy Davisson

Supportive Services
Joined the IFIZ team to take on a variety of administrative duties in April 2019. She has many skills from her careers in real estate, small business ventures and wild game & domestic bird farms. She has served on nonprofits boards, and volunteered for animal rescue, Girl Scouts, 4H clubs, and childcare centers. Her computer skills are an asset.

Artice Upchurch

SEO/SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST & WEBMASTER
Artice brought his many talents to The I Will Projects team in May 2022. He has background in business, marketing and leadership. Artice is a published author and has a passion for doing wonderful things in the world. “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Isaiah Aragon

SYSTEM DESIGN ASSISTANT
Isaiah was an enthusiastic high school student when introduced to aquaponic systems in his STEM engineering class. He designed and built a tabletop aquaponics system using 3D printing for his senior class project. After graduating, he enrolled in college, and is pursuing a BS degree in biology. Isaiah has been doing special research for the I Will Projects that will move the science of aquaponics to the next level. He maintains his own personal home system, growing greens and a variety of fish.

Randy Ford

ART INSTRUCTOR
I Will Projects has benefited from the professional artist talents of Randy Ford since 2020. He is a guest presenter to the cohorts in the IFIZ 6-week program, teaching the Boys & Girls Club members an introduction to watercolor painting. His session is a kid favorite, and his teaching skills online and live in-person are an asset. Randy exhibits his oil and acrylic paintings at many Colorado galleries, and manages painting parties for small groups of adults. Website: https://www.strokensip.com/

Board Members

Marlene Fabian Stiles

BOARD PRESIDENT
I am personally invested in The I Will Projects many initiatives that explore solutions for vital issues such as the West's ongoing drought. The IFIZ is a superb vehicle to educate our youth on water conservation and efficient food production. As a volunteer at our raptor center, I am motivated to leave a viable wildlife population as a legacy and am grateful to be able to collaborate on projects that support the center. Having cared for a parent with Alzheimer's, I appreciate the value of educating family caregivers through a partnership program with Hospice.

Kevin Buchanan

BOARD MEMBER
M.Ed. - Special Education, Colorado State University - Pueblo. Kevin is the current school principal at the Pueblo Classical Academy, within the Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences network. Prior to that, he was the Project Lead the Way - Instructor at Pueblo Central High STEM Magnet School. He was instrumental in installing a research aquaponic system in the classroom. Kevin is a great addition to The I Will Projects board.

Carolyn Gery, PhD

BOARD MEMBER
Dr. Carolyn Gery is a Research Affiliate at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience. She is adept at building and nurturing partnerships to address homelessness, youth disconnection, and access to mental health. As a former administrator of an alternative high school, she forged partnerships with higher education to develop an integrated framework incorporating social and emotional competencies with academic knowledge domains. Carolyn currently teaches courses in the multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Innovation program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Since 2019, she has matched her college students to research important topics for The I Will Projects.

Zach Stanifer

BOARD MEMBER
President of Campbell's Flowers and Greenhouses Inc. - 2001 Graduate of East High School in Pueblo, CO. - 2004 Certified Master Gardener through CSU Cooperative Extension - 2006 Head grower and crop planner for Campbell's Flowers and Greenhouses. - 2010 Owner/Operator at Campbell's Flowers and Greenhouses.

Shane Trujillo

BOARD MEMBER
Associate Director of College Counseling & DEI Coordinator for Parent and Caregiver Programming, The Dalton School. M.Ed. Prevention Science and Practice, Harvard University. Shane served as a consultant for the I Will Projects in 2021, helping to integrate social-emotional learning frameworks into the "Indoor Farming Innovation Zone (IFIZ) program. He believes that collaborating with colleagues to incorporate discussions of larger socio-political topics within agriculture (food justice, food production, environmentalism, sustainability, etc) can and does affect the lives of young people in communities.
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Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better. – Tom McCall

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A Success Story

LAUNCHING WITH STEAM

The I Will Projects partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Pueblo County to offer S.T.E.A.M. enrichment at clubhouses in southern Colorado. A large grant awarded by NASA provided 150 youth participants with their own aquaponics grow kit, live fish and 6 weeks of live and virtual instruction from IFIZ educators.

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