In February, Horacio Necoechea stood on stage at Free Arts’ annual partner agency conference and accepted the “Spirit of Free Arts” award along with the original artwork Vision by Oliverio Balcells.
The painting is undeniably beautiful. Cosmic hands against an orange background, perfect circles laid atop them across each other, all encased in a deep blue border.
Held in Horacio’s hands, it takes on an even greater context—one of connection and wellbeing of the children that both Free Arts and Southwest Key serve.
“I was totally shocked to hear that I was selected for the award since Free Arts works with so many great organizations,” Horacio said. “I put a lot of effort into the partnership because I saw the amazing things Free Arts was doing for the community, and I wanted our kids in our shelters to be a part of the healing that art provides.”
“I wanted kids to have the opportunity to experience art in new way, a healing way.”
Horacio originally joined Southwest Key in 2013 as a Youth Care Worker, going on to serve as a Medical Coordinator, Youth Services Coordinator, and now as an Assistant Program Director at Casa Campbell in Glendale, Arizona. Even with a Bachelor of Science from Grand Canyon University, he hasn’t stopped learning and is currently enrolled in a Master’s program for Social Work at Arizona State University.
Art created by youth as part of Southwest Key’s collaboration with Free Arts
Horacio’s driven personality and dedication to the youth we served has helped him facilitate a mentorship program and trainings for Free Arts staff. Thanks to his work, youth at five of Southwest Key’s programs have been able to participate in Free Arts’ activities and events.
“I feel very fortunate to have Horacio as my Assistant Program Director. He shows great enthusiasm, dedication, and passion for all that he does.”
-Eva Torres, Program Director at Casa Campbell
Along with Horacio’s work with Free Arts, he’s been indispensable as Assistant Program Director at Casa Campbell, making sure that the safety and wellbeing of the children there are always top priority.
From everyone across the Southwest Key network, we’d like to say congratulations to Horacio Necoechea for his well-deserved award.