Why Does Anna’s Story Need to Be Told?
We share a tragic story at the New Mexico Roundhouse during Anna, Age Eight Day to prevent it from ever happening again.
The reason the Anna, Age Eight Institute shares the story of eight-year-old Anna is because an eight-year-old cannot. Anna represents our most vulnerable children amd is a fictional character in the book Anna, Age Eight, based on far too many cases of child fatalities. The book was the catalyst for the creation of the Anna, Age Eight Institute, devoted to ending childhood abuse and neglect. Initial funding for the Institute was spearheaded by New Mexico State Senator Bill Soules, a tireless advocate for children and public education.
The Institute’s 100% New Mexico initiative was designed to go upstream to prevent maltreatment before it occurs by ensuring that every family has access to ten vital services for surviving and thriving. This means building mental health care and other support services to address historical trauma along with all the recent challenges made worse by the pandemic and economic disruptions.
We know from decades of research focused on the social determinants of health, health equity and adverse childhood experiences, that families are better able to create safe households when community services are accessible. Local communities are working to assess ten vital services so when local organizations say, “We refer families to services,” we know for a fact that such services exist.
The initiative’s local work building the infrastructure to create trauma-free families, schools and communities is presented in the books Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment and 100% Community: Ensuring 10 vital services for surviving and thriving, which are both available free of charge for all New Mexicans.
The third Anna, Age Eight Day, held January 29th at the New Mexico State Capitol, was an opportunity to share the urgent need for addressing the root causes of maltreatment, family trauma and social adversity. Presenters from across the state, engaged in their local 100% New Mexico initiatives, shared updates for participants in the senate chambers and to those watching the streaming presentation. 100%ers from the counties of Doña Ana, San Miguel, Taos, Rio Arriba, Otero, Socorro, Valencia, Bernalillo and Santa Fe offered updates on their project development work, assessing barriers to services and building services to meet local needs. We also heard from the New Mexico National Education Association-Community Schools Program and the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils, partners in the 100% work across the state.
In this phase of “building back better,” the 100% New Mexico initiative offers each county a data-driven and collaborative plan to meet the needs of all families, making each child’s health, safety and education the number one priority.
Watch our short videos about this special day and the 100% New Mexico initiative.