From the earliest times, we know that banding together and sharing resources increases our chances of survival.
The glass of water: is it half full or half empty? Of course, it’s both. Perspective is what makes the difference. Half a glass of water is full of possibilities. It’s enough to keep cut flowers alive, or to sprout seeds, or to drink.
We are experiencing uncertainty at many levels. The State Legislature and Governor have almost agreed on a solvency bill to address the $69 million deficit in this year’s budget. Next year's anticipated shortfall of $300 million will require more cost cutting measures. Nonprofits are understandably concerned. With the flurry of executive orders and promises of change at the federal level, uncertainty is the new norm.
Is the glass half full or half empty? If we can let go of hankering for what was or what might have been, we can focus on creative problem solving with what we have.
Now is the time to come together, share resources and utilize our collective wisdom.
Tsiporah Nephesh for New Mexico Thrives
What a child experiences in their first years of life makes a big difference in how they will develop and interact with the world as they grow. Home visitors partner with families to promote healthy child development and confident parenting by supporting relationships among the family, the home visitor and the community.
New Mexico has embraced home visiting as a key strategy for ensuring healthy children and families. A growing number of home visiting programs are operating throughout the state, supported by state and federal funds and by foundation grants.
The CHI St. Joseph’s Children Home Visiting Program is unique in that it is completely self-funded, receiving no government funding. The program provides first-time mothers, fathers or primary care providers with education and support to encourage normal growth and development of happy, healthy babies in positive nurturing families. All services are free to families.
New parents learn about a variety of relevant topics that will help them care for their child. These include the physical and emotional changes a mother experiences during pregnancy, what to expect at each stage of the child’s development, finding toys that will help the child learn in his or her formative years, and how to work for solutions to family challenges. All families also receive enhanced referral services, to ensure that families are connected to all the services they need to thrive.
If you or someone you know can benefit from this program and currently resides in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia, Luna, Doña Ana or Cibola county, please call 505-924- 8000. You may also download the Referral Form. For more information about New Mexico’s home visiting programs, visit the Home Visiting page at NewMexicoKids.org. And if you’re in Bernalillo County, visit the Bernalillo County Home Visiting Workgroup page on SHARE.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Community Health Representatives (CHRs) are an important part of the health and social service system in New Mexico. CHWs and CHRs are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the communities they serve. This trusting relationship enables them to act as links to the community, to facilitate access to services, and improve the quality of service delivery.
Recognizing the critical role played by the many CHWs and CHRs who have worked for decades in NM communities, the Department of Health’s new Office of Community Health Workers has developed a standardized, statewide CHW certification program, one of only two states with this type of certification.
Certification requires completion of a DOH approved training program, proficiency in the CHW core competencies, and a background check. Certificates will be valid for two (2) years. In order to be recertified, applicants will have to complete 30 hours of DOH approved continuing education. The certification is voluntary, and there is a grandfathering process for health workers who can be certified based on work or volunteer experience. The NM Community Health Worker Association received a grant from the Con Alma Health Foundation to assist CHWs in obtaining certification. View their informational presentation.
If you are interested in applying for this certification, you can find additional information at the Office of Community Health and the NM Community Health Worker Association. And follow the latest CHW/R news on SHARE New Mexico.
In 1991, Sonja Britton lost her son, Monty “Butch” Britton, in a DWI crash. After losing her son, Sonja, who has lived in Moriarty from the age of 3, spoke to everyone she could about creating a DWI memorial. “This was her concept, to have a place where people can come and have their loved ones remembered,” Board member Debbie Ortiz said. It wasn’t long before she gained local support, and in 1994 the Perpetual Tears Memorial, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
In 1999, local businessman Mike Anaya donated three acres of land for the Memorial to the City of Moriarty. The City of Moriarty then adopted the project, which made it eligible for state funding, and in 2002 Sonja began to lobby for support from the New Mexico State Legislature. After three years, she gained the support of the legislature and the memorial received its first funding allocation. This, combined with private donations, was enough to build the field of markers and the surrounding wall.
In 2006, the New Mexico National DWI Victims’ Memorial of Perpetual Tears held its grand opening with more than 300 people in attendance. The following year, Britton decided the memorial should honor DWI deaths nationwide. Anyone living anywhere in the United States can apply to memorialize loved ones at the monument.
In all, $1.5 million has been raised through public and private donations and is now invested in the NM National DWI Victims’ Memorial of Perpetual Tears. Sonja Britton is retired from the Board of Directors, but continues to serve on the Advisory Board.
September 11th is National Grandparents Day. On this day, we pause to acknowledge, especially, the more than 25,000 New Mexican grandparents who are responsible for raising their grandchildren. Of these 33,000 children, more than 9,000 do not have any parent present in the home (GrandFacts).
On September 20, the Albuquerque Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Community Alliance will host its annual event, Parenting the Second Time Around, at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center in Albuquerque from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The gathering features a resource fair, fun children’s activities, speakers, and a box lunch. The event is free. To register, call 505-255-8740
Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Grandparents raising grandchildren face unique challenges, including financial and legal challenges, and often don’t know where to find help. Connie Compton, who raised her grandchild, emphasizes the isolation that many such grandparents experience, feeling that they are the only ones in this situation. ”It’s important to let them know that there is a group interested in them, to help make their lives better, to advocate for them.”
A number of these grandparents and their allies are working together to build awareness and increase resources available to help grandparents raise the next generation of New Mexicans.
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Community Alliance, serving the greater Albuquerque area, is supported by a collaboration of organizations.
A legislative memorial was passed in 2015 (HM 8) and continued in 2016 (SM 1) to support grandparents raising grandchildren in New Mexico. A statewide task force is charged with studying and recommending concrete policy changes to expand the availability of resources to grandparents raising grandchildren.
All the organizations above are participating in the task force. SHARE New Mexico is pleased to be supporting the effort by adding and updating resources in the SHARE Directory that address grandparent needs and by posting the progress of the Task Force here.
Betsey Stilson, another grandparent and member of the GRG Alliance, reminds us that “this is a societal issue. Our children are falling through the cracks. We need to recognize both the needs and the wisdom that grandparents bring to the task of raising our children. Our job isn’t over, because society isn’t ready for us to be finished.”
You can hear more from Connie, Betsey, and their allies on Public Square, a program of PBS New Mexico.
How You Can Help
Visit Grandparents Raising Grandchildren at SHARE New Mexico and learn what is both needed and happening around this initiative. If your organization provides resources to support grandparents raising grandchildren, please let us know. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the other organizations listed here.
New Mexico ranks number one in the nation for childhood hunger. In our state, nearly one-third of children go to bed hungry. According to hunger statistics by the New Mexico Cares Foundation:
In Albuquerque, Santa Fe and throughout the state, nonprofits, governments and the private sector are teaming up to fight hunger among children, adults and the elderly.
At ShareNM.org, organizations like Roadrunner Food Bank, Kids Cook!, Get Healthy Collaborative, the Downtown Farmer’s Markets and the Rio Grande Food Project are collaborating to update the SHARE New Mexico Food and Hunger Page and the Community Calendar, where New Mexicans can find farmer’s markets, food pantries, community dinners and resources that can be used to address hunger in our state.
“With the limited resources available to address New Mexico’s food and hunger issues, it is imperative we not only know what other organizations are doing but actually work collaboratively to create greater impact,” Mary Meyer, Director of Kids Cook!, said.
10 Organizations Working to End Hunger in New Mexico
Here are 10 organizations feeding the hungry and helping those in poverty in New Mexico:
Roadrunner Food Bank
The largest and perhaps the most best-known food bank in the state, Roadrunner Food Bank has been serving New Mexico since 1980. In the last ten years, Roadrunner Food Bank has seen an increase of 70% in the amount of food it distributes. Through four regional food banks and several partner agencies, the food bank manages to help 70,000 hungry people in New Mexico every week.
Kids Cook! is an amazing nonprofit organization that helps to reduce nutritional risks among children and help end childhood obesity. Designed for elementary and middle school students, Kids Cook! instructors teach nutrition by helping children to prepare healthy, culturally diverse foods. The nonprofit organization also pairs foods with daily physical activity. Similarly, organizations like NMSU extension, South Valley Cooking and LaCosecha offer cooking classes that engage the entire family.
NM Farmer’s Marketing Association
Not only can New Mexicans find fresh local produce at local farmer’s markets, it’s a great place for those with SNAP EBT cards to shop, too! Many New Mexico farmer’s markets offer Double Up Food Bucks, which allows you to spend $10 and receive another $10 to buy fresh fruits and vegetables grown in New Mexico. Double Up Food Bucks is available at participating local farmer’s markets as well as Montanita Co-Ops in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Gallup.
Seed2Need reduces hunger and improves the nutrition of local families by growing local produce and donating it to local food pantries. The non-profit organization is a collaborative effort between the Sandoval County Master Gardeners, property owners in the village of Corrales and volunteers from Corrales, Rio Rancho, Placitas and Albuquerque. In the past six years, more than 317,000 pounds of produce has been donated to the local community thanks to Seed2Need.
New Mexico Cares Foundation
The New Mexico Cares Foundation hosts the annual End Hunger Summit in Albuquerque, NM, as well as the Strike Out Hunger bowling tournament. The nonprofit is dedicated to building awareness of hunger in New Mexico and alleviating the socioeconomic problems that lead to hunger.
The New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger and Share Our Strength
One of Albuquerque Community Foundation’s leadership initiatives, the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger is made up of more than 80 organizations working to ending hunger in New Mexico, including local, state and national governments; nonprofit organizations; regional foundations; national organizations and corporations. The collaboration has helped to feed thousands of children through its New Mexico No Kid Hungry campaign, which improves access to nutrition programs and improves families’ knowledge about available programs.
Rio Grande Community Farm
The fresh food grown at Rio Grande Community Farm is distributed to Albuquerque schools, food banks, nonprofit organizations, grocery stores, restaurants and other consumers. The Rio Grande Community Farm also provides year-round educational programs and special events to teach the local community about nutrition, sustainable and organic farming, as well as assisting other non-profit farms. More about community gardens in New Mexico.
Rio Grande Food Project
The Rio Grande Food Project has been proving food and emergency support to New Mexico families since 1989. The New Mexico nonprofit organization provides food to those who need it, and it also coordinates with service organizations to provide job training, healthcare benefits, emergency cell phone service and more to help prevent the debilitating effects of hunger and poverty in our state.
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is host to summer food sites to help feed New Mexico’s hungry children. The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), Early Childhood Services Division (ECS), Family Nutrition Bureau (FNB) administers the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on the State level.
New Mexico Appleseed
New Mexico Appleseed creates laws and policies that help children access meals at school, after school, during the summer and holidays. Through its work, the organization has helped to eliminate reduced-price co-pays in local schools, helped children access a nutritious breakfast at school and afterschool and summer meals.
Want to help the fight against hunger and poverty in New Mexico? ShareNM.org invites you to read and respond to our “call to engagement.” And If you are interested in joining the SHARE Food and Hunger team, please contact Wendy@sharenm.org. Here’s a quick primer how you can make the SHARE New Mexico Food & Hunger page even better!
Know of any other hunger nonprofits in New Mexico? Let us know in the comments!
The United Way of Otero County (UWOC) is building its 2-1-1 helpline from the ground up, and partnering with SHARE New Mexico to help connect people in need with resources.
Like 2-1-1 lines across the country, the Otero County 2-1-1 helpline will provide information and referrals to people in need of help, Angela Randall, 2-1-1 & volunteer coordinator for the United Way of Otero County, said.
The 2-1-1 line is currently live between the hours of 9a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday, Randall said. The line covers Otero County and Lincoln County.
SHARE New Mexico and the United Way of Otero County are sharing the work of creating a comprehensive, up-to-date community-based directory,” Randall said.
Taking advantage of the UWOC’s “feet on the ground,” Randall is contacting service providers in the county to sign up with SHARE and update their organizational information in SHARE’s Resource Directory.
Other groups sharing resource lists include Love, INC., Alamo Senior Center, Otero County Community Health Council and the Otero Hunger Coalition.
The United Way of Otero County is Randall’s host organization as she completes her fellowship with “The Mission Continues,” a nonprofit leadership program that supports post-911 veterans reintegrating back into civilian society.
Here's How YOU Can Help
You can help Angela, and Otero County residents, by creating and updating your organization’s profile on ShareNM.org to ensure our Resource Directory is up-to-date. This will ensure that community members looking for help for themselves or others will have the information they need to connect people with the right community resources in Otero County.
Check out other resources on the Otero County page. Quick links take you to timely and relevant information and resources for county residents. See what’s happening on the Otero County community calendar and add your community events.
And Here's How SHARE New Mexico Can Help You!
Team up with SHARE to create YOUR community Resource Directory. Rather than duplicating efforts, which can be costly to create and maintain, SHARE invites you to partner with us to create and maintain New Mexico’s most comprehensive and up-to-date resource directory.
We are better together! For more information on how SHARE can help you with your resource directory, contact Wendy@ShareNM.org
Overall, more than 75,000 New Mexicans are currently living with cancer, and 9,000 more are diagnosed every year, according to Cancer Services (CSNM) of New Mexico.
Many people with cancer and their loved ones have difficulty finding both medical and non-medical aid after receiving a diagnosis of cancer. Below are support organizations for people with cancer and caregivers in New Mexico. Additional information about these organizations can be found in ShareNM.org’s Resource Directory.
CANCER SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS
Breast Cancer Resource Center
Located in Albuquerque, NM, the Breast Cancer Resource Center provides assistance to anyone affected by cancer, seeking to close gaps in services and eliminate barriers to care.
Cancer Foundation for New Mexico
The Cancer Foundation for New Mexico provides emotional and educational assistance to patients being treated in Santa Fe, NM. The nonprofit’s core services include aid with transportation, lodging and grocery support, as well as cancer support groups.
Cancer Services of New Mexico
Founded in 2001, Cancer Services of New Mexico (CSNM) is the only statewide nonprofit organization to address gaps in cancer related services, creating programs that support people affected by cancer, family members, loved ones and caregivers. Twice per year, CSNM hosts a Family Cancer retreats that focuses on adult cancer patients and their caregivers on the issues associated with surviving.
Cancer Support Now
Cancer Support Now is made up of a group of cancer survivors reaching out to offer cancer support to people living with cancer in New Mexico. One-on-one support by telephone, support groups, chronic disease management and smoking cessation are among the cancer support services offered by Cancer Support Now.
New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance
New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance was founded by a group of dedicated cancer care physicians in New Mexico who were concerned that the newest investigational cancer treatments were only available through research studies and clinical trials conducted outside the state. As a cancer support organization, NMCCA helps New Mexicans get access to new, investigational oncology research treatments.
New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation
Dedicated to providing for the non-medical needs of people living with cancer, the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation offers cancer support through providing for basic needs like food, shelter, utilities and essential services. The NMCC Foundation also provides family support, help with financial/insurance issues, legal counseling, cancer support groups and survivorship aid.
People Living Through Cancer
People Living Through Cancer aids people living with cancer and cancer survivors from diagnosis through long-term survivorship. Services include support services, counseling information, referrals and cancer support groups.
Sierra County Cancer Assistance
Run entirely by volunteers, the goal of Sierra County Cancer Assistance is to provide Sierra County residents with transportation to cancer appointments in Las Cruces and Albuquerque, NM. The transportation provided by Sierra County Cancer Assistance is free of charge.
Vargas Memorial Children’s Cancer Fund
The primary goal of the Vargas Memorial Children’s Cancer Fund is to purchase Christmas gifts for all University of New Mexico Hospital children’s cancer clinic patients, and the organization also provides special gifts to the Ronald McDonald House and the UNMH Pediatric Oncology Program.
Do YOU know of any cancer support organizations in New Mexico? Let us know in the comments!
How can you get free legal advice when you can’t afford a lawyer? In New Mexico, many attorneys provide pro bono legal advice and legal aid without any cost to low-income citizens. These attorneys volunteer because their work helps give justice to those who otherwise would not have a voice.
Legal assistance for domestic violence, medical bills and housing rights are just some of the areas in which these attorneys work. One of the advantages of obtaining help from a volunteer attorney is that the attorney can also help connect those in need with temporary housing, domestic violence shelters and food banks.
FREE Legal Advice in New Mexico
Below is a list of free legal services in New Mexico, including legal aid, pro bono work, hotlines and more.
Dna People’s Legal Services
As a nonprofit organization, Dna People’s Legal Services provides free legal assistance, advice and representation in U.S. and tribal courts.
Family Legal Assistance Group
Family Legal Assistance Group assists low-income New Mexicans with civil matters, domestic matters and small claims. Domestic violence, housing and shelter and landlord/tenant law are some of the areas in which the New Mexico Family Legal Assistance Group help their clients.
Homeless Legal Clinic
Every Tuesday in Santa Fe, volunteer attorneys provide legal information and advice at the Homeless Legal Clinic at St. Elizabeth Shelter. At the clinic, volunteer attorneys can refer to low income and pro bono legal services in New Mexico.
Legal Aid Hotline
Hosted by New Mexico Legal Aid, the Legal Aid Hotline is for those experiencing domestic violence in their homes. There is a hotline for Albuquerque, as well as a statewide hotline for free legal advice in New Mexico.
Legal Insurance & Paperwork Assistance Program (LIPA)
Run by Cancer Services of New Mexico, LIPA offers free legal advice for cancer patients in New Mexico.
New Mexico Christian Legal Aid
New Mexico Christian Legal Aid provides free legal advice to low-income New Mexicans, as well as referrals to pro bono legal services in New Mexico. The non-profit is run by Christian lawyers, law students, paralegals and legal assistants who provide legal and spiritual assistance to the homeless and impoverished in our communities.
New Mexico Legal Aid
Dedicated to equal access to justice for all disenfranchised and low-income people and communities in the state, New Mexico Legal Aid provides outreach, training and representation through programs like its Family Advocacy Center (FAC). FAC is staffed by one attorney and one paralegal who work on domestic violence cases. New Mexico Legal Aid is a leader in coordinating pro bono attorney services in New Mexico.
Pegasus Legal Services for Children
As a private non-profit agency, Pegasus Legal Services provides civil legal services to children, youth and their caregivers in the 7th Judicial District (Torrance, Soorro, Sierra and Catron Counties). Guardian ad Litem and youth attorneys represent children and youth in foster care up to age 17. See Pegasus Legal Services in our New Mexico Resource Directory to learn more about the programs offered.
Veteran Legal Assistance
The New Mexico Bar Association Young Lawyers Section offers a free legal clinic for Veterans in New Mexico. The group offers general legal assistance for veterans as well as Veterans’ Benefits Assistance.
Do YOU know of another organization providing free legal assistance in New Mexico? Let us know in the comments!
Libraries across New Mexico are gearing up their summer reading programs in an effort to stop the “summer slide” or the tendency for children to lose the gains that they made during the previous school year.
“Statistics show that for kids who don’t read over the summer, it takes about three to as many as six months to catch up when they start school,” Dave Florez, teen services coordinator for Farmington Public Library, said.
Summer Slide Statistics:
The good news: studies show summer reading programs to be effective at preventing the summer slide. For example, a study of low-income students by the University of California-Irvine showed that students enrolled in a voluntary summer reading program scored better on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills compared to students who did not receive summer reading intervention.
Reading is just one of the ways children and teens can avoid the summer slide. Farmington Public Library hosts Technology Tuesdays for teens, where students can experiment with robotics and even a 3D printer. Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library’s summer reading program also includes concerts, arts and crafts and technology.
FREE Family Passes to Museums & More!
Public libraries throughout the state are offering free Family Passes to NM museums and historic sites. Borrow the pass like any library material for up to one week and get free admission for up to 6 people at any of the Department of Cultural Affairs' museums and historic sites. See the list here.
Summer Reading Programs in New Mexico
Here are a few summer reading programs in New Mexico:
ABC Library’s Summer Reading kicks off on June 4 at the South Broadway Library. Everyone is invited to register for the free 6-week program for children, tweens, teens and adults.
Children teens and adults can register for Farmington Public Library’s summer reading program online. At the end of the summer, participants can join the Carnivale Blast celebration.
Designed for children aged 5-12, the summer reading program at Capital Library meets every Monday during June and July. To register, call (575) 354-3035.
This is the fourth year for the New Mexico True Summer Reading Challenge, which is open to students 5 to 12 years old. One reader and three family members will win an all expense trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, and two readers will win a balloon trip with Gov. Susana Martinez at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Know of any other summer reading programs in New Mexico? Let us know in the comments!