Champions See Where We Can Be Tomorrow
Working collectively to ensure 10 vital services, the 100% New Mexico initiative is transforming our state into a society that empowers 100% of its children, students, and families.
Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello
Our 100% initiative champions across the state know exactly what’s required to transform New Mexico into a place where children and students are our highest priority. We know why children like eight-year-old Anna and her violent mother will enter the child welfare system and fall between the cracks resulting in yet another child fatality. We understand why students like 14-year-old David won’t succeed in school due to growing up with trauma in a community where access to vital services like mental health care doesn’t exist. New Mexicans have been told decade after decade that our children, students, and families must endure public health and education challenges because, well, that’s the way it’s always been.
The truth is simple.
The truth is simple. We know the challenges and how to fix them. All that’s lacking is the buy-in to make the health, safety, and education of 100% of New Mexico’s children and students the number one priority of New Mexico.
We can determine our children’s future with ten services.
The Anna, Age Eight Institute challenged the mindset of accepting a status quo that leaves half our families behind to fend for themselves. Our 100% New Mexico initiative is guided by the books Anna, Age Eight, David, Age 14, and 100% Community: Ensuring 10 vital services for surviving and thriving. Our mission was one never seen before within a university anywhere in the nation: a commitment to transform the adverse social determinants of health into positive ones. The determinants are the ten vital services for surviving and thriving that determine our children’s health, safety, education, and overall quality of life.
We’re asking, “Why do children suffer?”
Across every state, substantial financial resources are allocated to tackle the most pressing issues in public health and education. These challenges include adverse childhood experiences, trauma, substance use disorder-related illness, injury and fatalities, violence against self and others, hunger, housing insecurity, and low school achievement leading to a lack of job readiness and capacity to be self-sufficient. Despite the most earnest efforts, they persist because the underlying root causes remain unaddressed. It is imperative that we make a steadfast commitment to ensure universal access to the ten essential services that are instrumental in fostering secure and nurturing environments within every family. Only then can we truly overcome these challenges and create lasting change.
100% New Mexico is doing what’s never been done.
As state and local lawmakers ponder how to fix our most costly problems, they need look no further than the 100% New Mexico initiative. Local 100% initiative coalitions are surveying across their counties, asking families if they need access to ten services. If so, do those services exist and what are the challenges accessing those services? It should come as no surprise that in some communities, anywhere from a third to half of families report a lack of access to services.
The choice that New Mexico and the entire nation faces is stark. We can choose to collectively acknowledge the adverse social determinants of health and how lack of access to ten services leads to every public health and education challenge. Alternatively, we can also choose to maintain a status quo that requires our children, students, and families to fix themselves without any help. We can also choose to continue allowing epidemic rates of adverse childhood experiences to diminish our student’s capacity to learn and our families’ capacity to create safe households.
Join the 100% Family Center: One Stop Hub Project.
For those New Mexicans who believe that every child should grow up in home, school, and community environments where they have the chance to thrive, we invite you to partner with our 1oo% New Mexico initiative. Our two keystone projects within the initiative can, with two radically simple strategies, transform adverse communities into communities where services are easily accessible to parents and caregiving grandparents.
We are designing the 100% Family Center: One Stop Service Hub that links all family members to ten services both onsite and online with the help of navigators who cut through the barriers of cost, waiting times, and unfriendly hours to connect visitors with local services. Instead of a working mom endlessly calling and driving from one town to the next to find support, the one-stop shop finally makes the job of being a parent possible in these chaotic times. In New Mexico, a variety of service agencies exist that already serve parents. With the right funding, they could easily expand to be a hub for ten services.
Join the 100% Community Schools Project
In addition to the 100% Family Center strategy, we are supporting what we call the 100% Community Schools Project, supporting each county in transforming their schools into community schools that can serve as one-stop services hubs for students and their families. The Community School model, funding schools to become community-focused centers for learning to increase academic achievement and support families, is already in New Mexico. The model, which can include healthcare services aligned with local care organizations, can be supported through a combination of state and local funding, with each community school customized to meet local needs.
Imagine a New Mexico where 100% of our children thrive
Our one-top service hub projects will completely transform New Mexico. We end the phase of tinkering around the edges of our challenges that diminish the lives of our children and students. We end the phase of telling our most vulnerable families that they are on their own. We end the lack of services that turns trauma into untreated mental health challenges and substance use disorders. A commitment to the 100% New Mexico initiative is the one way forward for each county sets a new standard of care and empowerment through the one-stop hubs and community schools.
We have the courage to change
Our local 100% champions have the vision, mission, goals, research, data-driven process, activities, and two effective projects awaiting implementation. All we need are more initiative partners with the courage to see where we are today and where we can be in the future. By working collectively with clear and measurable goals, the 100% New Mexico initiative is transforming our state into a society that empowers 100% of its children, students, and families. The local work is both challenging and gratifying. We are thankful for everything our county partners are doing to achieve our groundbreaking mission.
For those seeking to join our bold transformation, you can find your county’s 100% New Mexico initiative on our map. Join an existing county initiative or start one. You may also review our latest research brief, evaluating our work. For those wanting a more in-depth look into the initiative, you are welcome to enroll in our free self-guided course A Child’s Right to Survive and Thrive. We welcome those courageous New Mexicans who believe that every child should have access to the services for surviving and thriving.