Five New Mexico communities to give their children a "Strong Start"

March 23, 2010

Everyday Democracy has selected five New Mexico groups to be part of “Strong Starts for Children,” a new initiative to help communities find ways for people from all walks of life to work together for the success of all children.

The five organizations are the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., on behalf of the All Indian Pueblo Council; Cuidando los Niños, on behalf of the New Mexico Campaign to End Child Homelessness; the University of New Mexico Family Development Program (in collaboration with Decade of the Child, a statewide early childhood advocacy coalition); the Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc.; and Youth Development, Inc., on behalf of the Pajarito Mesa Strong Starts for Children planning initiative.

Everyday Democracy will work closely with these five groups over the next 18 months to help them find ways for all kinds of people in their communities to talk, work and take action together on early childhood development issues. In Strong Starts for Children, people will work to bring about success on issues such as school readiness, linked systems for health and education, access for families to development and job training, financial literacy, and educational opportunities. The initiative builds on the wisdom of social, cultural, and governance traditions throughout New Mexico.

“Because this issue is critical to the health of our society and our democracy, we are launching the Strong Starts for Children initiative in New Mexico,” says Martha L. McCoy, executive director for Everyday Democracy. “We’re looking forward to working with the five groups as they strengthen their communities so that all children have the opportunity to become healthy, happy and productive adults.”

Everyday Democracy’s work in New Mexico is part of the Our Voices, Our Children initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. With the Kellogg Foundation’s generous support, Everyday Democracy will provide funding, coaching, and training for five community coalitions. Everyday Democracy is creating a dialogue and problem-solving guide for the initiative that can be used in communities across the country.  

Over the next two years and beyond, Everyday Democracy will share lessons and stories from this project.

The Strong Starts initiative supports the efforts of these groups:

  • All Indian Pueblo Council (Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc.)—The All Indian Pueblo Council is taking the lead in forming a broad-based coalition to engage pueblo communities in dialogue and problem solving, and to design strategy for policy-level change on issues of economic self sufficiency, education capacity, and healthy living.
  • Cuidando los Niños (on behalf of the New Mexico Campaign to End Child Homelessness) — the organization and the National Center on Family Homelessness are leading an effort to address the needs of homeless families by bringing together in dialogue and problem solving people who have experienced homelessness, agencies and community organizations in the South Valley and Southeast Heights neighborhoods of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
  • The University of New Mexico Family Development Program (in collaboration with Decade of the Child, a statewide early childhood advocacy coalition) — This project, called “Launching the Decade of the Child: Strong Starts for our Children,” will engage traditionally marginalized people such as teen parents, urban Native Americans, immigrant populations, families without homes, and incarcerated parents in areas of Albuquerque to talk and act together to support children’s growth and development.
  •  Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. — With a mission to build healthy Native American children and families, NAPPR will use the Strong Starts for Children initiative to bolster the ability of tribal and urban Native communities to incorporate parenting education and parenting support services, as well as to train community and tribal leaders in engaging their communities in dialogues on issues of early childhood wellness.
  • Youth Development, Inc., Pajarito Mesa Strong Starts for Children — Youth Development, Inc., is bringing together churches, nonprofits, businesses, schools, health providers, the neighboring County of Bernalillo, and more to engage residents of Pajarito Mesa on the barriers to early childhood development and to commit to systemic changes that affect the long-term welfare of their children.

Generous funding for this initiative comes from the Our Voices, Our Children initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our Voices, Our Children is aimed at engaging citizens and policymakers in talks about the future of early childhood development in New Mexico. These community and state-level dialogues will reveal perceptions, priorities and policy preferences, and ultimately help improve practices and programs.


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