I believe being outdoors and fly fishing would be a great outlet for children in Foster Care, whether to just let out some stress, or focus on something positive.

Kaileigh Cera, Co-Lead Mentor

Santa Fe, New Mexico Project

Santa Fe, New Mexico Project

Lead Mentor: Brandon Cera and Kaileigh Cera

Project location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Year project founded: 2020

Mentors on this team: 7

Children mentored to date: 8

Children to be mentored in 2024: 5

Local foster care partners: New Mexico Children Youth & Families Department (2020) and Aspen Medical Center

Local companies that support this project: Currently searching for local partners and support.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico Project

“These projects are a great way to embrace nature and be yourself.  They give the children a chance to create a passion for fly fishing as well as new experiences and friendships.”

Brandon Cera

Lead Mentor, Santa Fe, New Mexico Project

Project Mentors

BRANDON CERA, LEAD MENTOR

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Born and raised outside of Dayton, Ohio, Brandon Cera attended Ohio State University and obtained both a bachelor’s degree in biology and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. It was there that he also met and married his wife, Kaileigh, who is a health care provider in Santa Fe as well.  Brandon Cera and his wife are avid hikers, campers, skiers, fishermen and more, which means that you will often find them out and about with their dogs, enjoying the beautiful geography that Santa Fe has to offer. 

TRISHA VALDEZ, MENTOR

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Originally from San Diego, California, Trisha learned the art of saltwater fishing off the piers at the beach. Summers were spent in northern New Mexico in a small town called Mora where her dad showed her how to fish small mountain streams using spinners, bait, and the old-school way of hand-fishing under the banks. Trisha has lived in New Mexico now for over 36 years and works as a special education teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools for 16 years. Trisha has been fly fishing for 20+ years and has always had a passion for working with young adults. This opportunity to pair with the Mayfly Project is just another way she can share her knowledge for fly fishing and her joy for creating meaningful experiences for youth.

JEFF HARRELL, MENTOR

Tijeras, New Mexico

Originally from Northern Indiana, Jeff is a 29-year US Air Force veteran, and retired a second time after 15 years with the Department of Energy. He started fly fishing in 1992, is a Life Member of TU and FFI, and loves dry flies. He volunteers with several fly fishing based charities and non-profits, guiding, tying flies, or both. Jeff and his wife Susie (a quilter) live east of Albuquerque with their dogs and cat. If you can’t find Jeff on the stream, try his tying desk or a pickleball court.

KAILEIGH CERA, MENTOR

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Born and raised north of Cincinnati, Ohio, Kaileigh grew up fishing with her family on ponds and lakes. Her first river fishing experience was when Brandon, her now husband, took her on a trip to Colorado where he proposed! That is where she learned about fly fishing and how beautiful the west was! She moved to New Mexico with Brandon in 2014, and they’ve been fly fishing ever since! Kaileigh loves to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature, reading a good book, seeing the wild animals, and fly fishing is just an added bonus! Kaileigh has 2 boys, ages 3 and 1, and they’re already little river rats. Kaileigh currently works at Aspen Medical Center as a Nurse Practitioner.

NANCY WHEATON, MENTOR

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Nancy grew up in South Texas, fishing for catfish with blood bait on a spinner rod with her brothers. These days, Nancy leaves serious fly fishing to her husband Jeff, while she enjoys the beauty of nature by accompanying him on his fishing trips, doing her own hiking, biking, or reading by the river.
As a mentor for the Mayfly Project, she wants to share with others, just as she instilled in her two children, that being outdoors is essential to finding peace, reducing anxiety, and feeling centered.

JEFF WHEATON, MENTOR

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Jeff grew up in Houston and lived in mostly big cities such as Austin, Miami and New Orleans before moving to Santa Fe, NM in 2000. There he finally came to appreciate the great outdoors, initially mostly hiking and skiing but more recently in the last several years really getting into fly fishing. Jeff loves the challenge of learning something new and the connection to nature and the peacefulness fly fishing provides. Though he still feels he has much to learn Jeff is excited to share his passion with kids.

JACKIE MARTINEZ, MENTOR

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Jackie was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was raised in the Northern mountains of the state where she learned to fish from her father who is an avid outdoorsman. She taught herself to fly fish off of the recommendation of her younger sister and has since dedicated her time on the water to perfecting her craft with a fly rod. She and her partner share two kids and together they fish as often as they can with some of their favorite spots being the waters surrounding the Questa area where her father is from and the Jemez Mountains near their home in Rio Rancho. Angling holds a special place in her life and Jackie has sought out to share this passion with anyone willing to listen so making the choice to join the team at TMP was a no-brainer.

News & Events

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Santa Fe, New Mexico Project

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