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Education | Bernalillo County
Grant Amount: $26,400
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: APS Community Clothing Bank

Vulnerable Population Served:

The APS Community Clothing Bank serves the members of our community who are most vulnerable: children living in poverty. In Albuquerque Public Schools, nearly 69% of children qualify for free or reduced price lunch, or over 57,500 students. To put this in context, a family of three qualifying for free lunch makes less than $26,000 a year. Imagine being a parent with just over $2,000 a month to pay for rent, utilities, transportation, food and clothes. It is clear that for many, the math just does not add up. The APS Community Clothing Bank exists to ensure that no child has to miss school due to the lack of clothes or shoes.

Community Need for Program:

Just like food banks, clothing banks are organized to meet a basic need of Albuquerque’s children. Over the past decade, Albuquerque has seen increasing rates of poverty and higher demand for Clothing Bank services. Starting in 2013, new partnerships with Goodwill Industries of New Mexico and Payless Shoe Source allowed the APS Community Clothing Bank to increase the number of students being served from hundreds to thousands. In 2016-2017, the Clothing Bank served 2,775 students, a new record. In 2017-2018, the Clothing Bank had already served over 2,200 by mid-year.

Method of Service Provision:

Students needing help with clothing are identified in a number of ways. Sometimes, teachers notice students coming to school without a winter coat or with ragged shoes. Sometimes, parents and older students request help with clothes directly. And sometimes, attendance officers discover the real reason students aren’t coming to school is that they are embarrassed by their clothes. When this happens, a school liaison fills out an online request form. Within seven days, the Clothing Bank delivers a package with 6 pairs of new socks, 6 pairs of underwear, a hoody or light jacket, clothing vouchers for three outfits at Goodwill Industries of New Mexico and if needed, a voucher for a new pair of shoes from Payless Shoe Source.  In total students are eligible for up to three Goodwill clothing vouchers (or 9 outfits), two sets of new socks and underwear, and one shoe card per school year.

Thanks to a partnership with Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, the clothing vouchers are provided free of cost. Goodwill stores are open evenings and weekends and are located near bus lines throughout the city, which takes advantage of existing distribution networks and saves thousands of dollars annually. Similarly, shoe vouchers, while not free, are very cost effective and allow students the dignity of choosing their own shoes. 

The APS Community Clothing Bank also partners with the Assistance League’s Operation School Bell, which focuses on providing shoes and uniforms at the thirty-five (35) APS Title I elementary schools and middle schools at which uniforms are required. If a student at a uniform school needs shoes or clothes, he or she is referred to the Assistance League and not the APS Community Clothing Bank. The thousands of students served by the APS Community Clothing Bank each year are in addition to the thousands served by the Assistance League and the organizations work hard to ensure they are never duplicating each other’s work.

Impact of the Program:

Chronic absenteeism is one of the strongest predictors of school failure researchers have seen. Students who miss more than two days of school a month, or about 10% of the year, are more likely not to read on grade level. Many times, chronic absenteeism is related to a lack of appropriate school clothing. If a child doesn’t have a warm winter coat on a cold day, he or she most likely won’t show up at school. A teenager embarrassed about wearing yesterday’s dirty clothes or last year’s too-small shoes faces just one more barrier to overcome. If funded by the United Way, the Clothing Bank will help Albuquerque reduce chronic absenteeism and have more students in school ready to learn each day.

Program of:

Grant Amount: $89,760
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: ARCA Foster Care Services

(Funded under Financial Stability)

ARCA's tradition of providing stellar supports to people with disabilities began in 1957. ARCA's caring and expertly trained staff help hundreds of children and adults successfully live their dreams, work, learn, have fun and develop friends while enjoying health, safety and happiness.  For six decades,  ARCA has provided opportunities for individuals to lead meaningful lives and continues to work together to open doors for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be valued members of the community.

Launched in 1978, ARCA Foster Care Services is the only resource for specialized foster care in New Mexico. This program trains, licenses and provides 24/7 support to biological and adoptive families who open their homes and heart with stability and safety for medically fragile children, their siblings and families.

Grant Amount: $32,000
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Back in Use

Back in Use is a unique program that connects low-income seniors to durable medical equipment including wheelchairs, walkers, and shower benches, and other items that they need to improve quality of life, increase independence, and reduce risk of falling.  This equipment, which is costly yet often not covered by insurance, is provided free of cost.

Grant Amount: $15,400
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Barrett House Emergency Shelter

(Funded under Basic Needs)

Homelessness impacts health, education, employment and community stability. The ABQ Point in Time Count, January 2017, found 1318 people experiencing homelessness (30% female), an increase of 3% since 2015. Of those, 28% reported being chronically homeless, up 68% since 2015. The lack of affordable housing, stagnant economic growth and low wages continues to exacerbate the problem. ABQ’s shortage of affordable housing and program funding has caused a backlog in housing options.

NM lags behind the nation in economic recovery. Unemployment in NM hovers at 6%. The unemployed lack skills needed for industries that are hiring. The poverty rate in NM is about 20%. Since 2007 the number of children living in poverty in NM has increased from 18% to 29%; that includes children in households with at least one working parent (U.S Census Bureau, 2017 Kids Count). Children in unstable housing face a higher risk of chronic and unaddressed health and developmental problems, and are less likely to succeed academically or graduate from high school (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, HUD). As they become adults these issues affect their employment, self-sustainability and the vitality of our community.

Barrett provides emergency shelter for women and children with the goal of getting them into stable housing. We serve 35-40 women and children each night, 365 days a year. Trained staff provide support services and referrals to support programs. Shelter residents receive assistance in overcoming obstacles to housing and guidance on how to apply for benefits, childcare and healthcare, and other services. A Housing Stability Advocate works with each woman to create a housing plan, providing guidance through all phases from assessment to move-in.

Barrett administers 4 housing programs supported by HUD and the city of ABQ. Our agency is a member of the NM Coalition to End Homelessness and the Housing First Initiative which focuses on rapidly housing people experiencing homelessness, providing wrap-around services to support long-term stable housing. Shelter residents who transition into one of Barrett’s housing programs receive ongoing case management. Support services focus on following individual plans, linkage to resources, and empowerment to encourage independent living.

The funds we are requesting will be used to support the salaries of Resident Advocates and the shelter maintenance person. Emergency shelters receive little government funding as federal priorities have shifted to transitioning people into housing, not care of the homeless. Our main priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment that allows  women to focus on what is needed to end their homelessness. The shelter staff includes Resident Advocates who are on-site 24/7, 365 days/year. They oversee transportation, schedule supportive activities, serve as a resource, and uphold the shelter’s rules and processes to ensure safety and progress of residents. Additionally, like your home, our shelter requires on-going maintenance and repair. We are requesting funds to cover a portion of salary for our part-time maintenance person who oversees the structural and systems needs of the shelter.    

The average cost to transition one person from our shelter to stable housing was approx. $1310/person last fiscal year. The cost to our community of one homeless person per year to remain unhoused is $14,728 (UNM Institute for Social Research, May 2016). Barrett spent $314,000 to stably house 240 women and children. It cost the community over $3.5 million to leave 240 homeless on the streets. Supporting efforts to assist homeless women and children obtain and sustain housing results in long term benefits for individuals, families and overall sustainability and growth of our community.

Grant Amount: $6,400
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Basic Literacy

(Funded under Financial Stability)

The Read "Write" Adult Literacy Program offers free individualized tutoring for adults in Basic Literacy, English as a Second Language, US Citizenship,  and Computer Literacy to individuals in Torrance County and the surrounding communities. We have provided services for individuals from 13 different countries.

Read Write provides one-on-one tutoring in Basic Literacy (6th grade and below), Pre-GED (7th & 8th grade levels), English as a Second Language, and US Citizenship. We are the only literacy program in Torrance County and all our services are free.

Program of:
Education | Bernalillo County, Sandoval County
Grant Amount: $14,000
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Building Independence through Education: Preparing Central New Mexico's Students for Success in Adulthood

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Are you in that job now, or has your career path had multiple twists and turns along the way?

As adults, we know that it’s not unusual to hold multiple jobs throughout one’s lifetime, sometimes in multiple industries, yet we still ask our children what they want to be when they grow up, as if there’s only one career in their futures. Not only will they be likely to change jobs multiple times; but they will be required to demonstrate great adaptability and resourcefulness to thrive in an economy that is being rapidly transformed by technology and globalization.

Students and parents agree that we are not doing enough to prepare our future workforce. According to the 2017 Strada-Gallup College Student Survey, only a third of students believe they will graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the job market (34%) and in the workplace (36%). Additionally, a 2017 Junior Achievement USA survey shows that 77 percent of teens – and the same percentage of parents – are concerned about their ability to have a successful career as adults in light of global competition and automation.

To prepare students well for these challenges, we need to be doing more across our community to expose students to a broad range of jobs and careers and to help them develop the critical foundational skills that will prepare them for success beyond high school and college.

Additionally, only two in five of American adults use a household budget (JA USA, 2017). One in three American adults have no retirement savings (JA USA, 2017). And the average household credit card debt in 2017 was $10,955 (Survey of Consumer Finances, U.S. Federal Reserve, 2017). Based on these statistics and the significant lack of financial education in high schools, our young people will not be ready for their financial futures. Their role models are struggling with their own finances.

Through the Building Independence through Education Program, JA of NM's volunteer tutors partner with high school educators to bring in-class financial education, entrepreneurship and/or work readiness programs to students. Additionally, JA of NM's volunteer business partners will welcome high school students into their work sites for career exploration and readiness opportunities.

Through the Building Independence through Education Program, 880 high school students that attend Rio Grande High School, Cleveland High School, Bernalillo High School or NACA will participate in the JA Job Shadow or JA Career Success Program (35 to 40 classrooms). Those same 880 high students that attend Rio Grande High School, Cleveland High School, Bernalillo High School or NACA will also participate in the JA Be Entrepreneurial, JA Personal Finance or JA Exploring Economics Program (35 to 40 classrooms). Thus, each of the 880 students will be taught one career readiness class and one financial literacy class, for a total of two separate classes.

Based on the high schools that JA of NM has chosen to work with for this program, the majority of students benefitting from the program will be economically disadvantaged.  These schools' Free and Reduced Lunch Classification range from 35% to 85%.  This indicates that 35% to 85% -- or an average 60% -- of students reside in households with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level. 

The expected impact of the Building Independence through Education Program is that students will complete the two classes and show an increase in skills and concepts related to work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Additionally, students will show an increase in positive attitudes toward school, graduation, post-secondary planning, etc. These outcomes are measured through pre- and post-program student surveys.

Education | Bernalillo County
Grant Amount: $38,500
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: CASA Program
The vulnerable population our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program serves are abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care in Bernalillo County. In addition to physical injuries that may be the result of the abuse, child abuse victims often suffer emotional, developmental, and social effects. Research has found a strong relationship between adverse childhood experiences like child abuse and negative health and well-being outcomes throughout the course of an individual’s life. Negative outcomes include disrupted neurodevelopment, social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, and adoption of risky health behaviors. These negative outcomes of child abuse can lead to disease, disability, social problems, and even death if they are not recognized and adequately addressed. Unfortunately, children in Bernalillo County experience higher levels of abuse and neglect than the country at large. The child abuse rate nationwide was 9.2 victims per 1000 children in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available). Compare this to a substantiated child abuse rate in Bernalillo County of 21.2 victims per 1000 children in fiscal year 2015 and an increase in the number of children in foster care in Bernalillo County of 17% from FY2016 to FY2017. There are typically approximately 1100 children in foster care in Bernalillo County at any time! Our CASA program is part of a complex system created to protect abused and neglected children and address the negative effects of the abuse. We are the only volunteer advocacy group working in the court system on behalf of the victims of child abuse and we provide a caring, consistent adult - the CASA advocate – focused solely on the well-being of a single child. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations to the court about what is in the child's best interest. Our program recruits, trains, and supports all of the CASA volunteers in Bernalillo County. Volunteers complete 45 hours of intensive training before being sworn-in by the judge. CASAs are given a court order which allows them to gather information, review documents and records, and interview the child and other people in the child’s life. CASAs seek and advocate for cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the child's lives and ensure that the child and their family are receiving appropriate services. They also bring concerns about the child’s physical and mental health and education to the attention of the court and appropriate professionals. CASAs monitor case plans and court orders to see that plans are being followed and keep the court informed of developments with agencies and family members. They provide written reports to the judge at court hearings and provide testimony when necessary to ensure that the needs of the child are being met and that a solution is found for a safe and permanent home for the child. Our program impacts the community in multiple ways. Independent research has demonstrated the benefits and effectiveness of CASA advocacy for children in foster care. Children with CASA volunteers do better in school (are more likely to pass all courses, less likely to have poor conduct in school, and less like to be expelled) and score better on multiple protective factors (neighborhood resources, interested adults, sense of acceptance, controls against deviant behavior, positive attitude towards the future, valuing achievement, ability to work with others, and ability to work out conflicts) that address and mitigate the impact of the abuse they have suffered. Children with CASAs also get more help and services while in the system, spend less time in foster care, are more likely to find safe, permanent homes, and are half as likely to reenter the foster care system.

Grant Amount: $76,000
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Childhood Hunger Initiative (CHI)

(Funded under Basic Needs)

According to Feeding America’s 2017 Map the Meal Gap assessment, New Mexico ranks second highest among the states for food insecurity in children. Given this grim statistic, Roadrunner Food Bank considers our food distribution at schools a moral imperative. To address this need, we launched the Childhood Hunger Initiative (CHI) in the 2014-15 school year. Through this program, we provide food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, directly to children and their families at 85 elementary, middle and high schools throughout our 16 county direct service area, including 48 schools in central New Mexico. Over the past three years, CHI allowed us to increase the amount of food we deliver to schools from approximately 400,000 pounds per year to 2 million pounds with little to no cost increase.

With the Childhood Hunger Initiative (CHI), schools choose the distribution model(s) and delivery method(s) that work best for them. Options include:
• Mobile Food Pantry – A once-a-month farmers-market style distribution
• Fixed Pantry – An onsite school pantry with weekly hours of distribution
• Summer Mobile Food Pantry – A farmers-market style distribution during the summer
• Weekend Backpack – A backpack containing 3-5 pounds of food to last over the weekend for children whose families cannot or will not pick up food at the school

Roadrunner staff members work one-on-one with partner schools to determine how we can best serve them, given their capacity and needs.

Aside from the nutritional impact of food insecurity, the American Youth Policy Forum cites research showing that food insecure children are less likely to perform well in school, more likely to experience behavior issues and more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system. After three years of successful implementation of the Childhood Hunger  Initiative, our client surveying indicates that access to the CHI program has a positive impact on food security among children  and results in better grades and fewer behavior problems.

Health | Bernalillo County, Sandoval County
Grant Amount: $14,000
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Children's Grief Center--Bereavement Support Groups

CGC's bereavement peer support groups offer an age appropriate venue for young people and their caregivers to share feelings and experiences with those in similar situations. Feeling alone, confused and angry are common emotions after the death of a loved one. Groups work to mitigate the risk that painful feelings transform into lifelong struggles.

Program of:
Education | Bernalillo County
Grant Amount: $28,000
Grant Term: 2018 - 2019
Program Website: Early Childhood Development Preschool Program

CLNKids’ preschool program is targeted to young children experiencing homelessness ages 3 to 5. The Center on Family Homelessness ranked New Mexico 44th among all states in child homelessness in 2014. Albuquerque Public Schools Title I project estimates 800–1,000 children under the age of six were homeless in the Albuquerque metro area in 2016. The primary factors contributing to family homelessness are poverty, lack of affordable housing, and domestic violence. CLNKids’ parents are single-mothers under 30 years old, who lack high school diplomas or GEDs, and are predominantly minorities (Hispanic and Native American). Many are fleeing domestic violence. They are forced to raise their children in vulnerable, at-risk environments, including homeless shelters, cheap motels, and the street. Some even live in their cars with their children. Many of CLNKids’ children are socially and developmentally disadvantaged. Homeless children experience three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared to non-homeless children; are four times more likely to show delayed development; and have twice the rate of learning disabilities as non-homeless children. They also experience high rates of chronic and acute health problems while homeless. Through parent reporting CLNKids has learned that 75% of children in our program have observed and/or experienced family violence. CLNKids preschool uses a high quality, trauma-informed, strengths-based curriculum to meet the special needs of the vulnerable children in our program. We provide developmentally appropriate instruction in Kindergarten readiness skills that include literacy to bridge language gaps, STEM, and handwriting. Our Reggio Emilia approach-inspired curriculum and environment engages children based on their interests through extended provocations and hands-on exploration. Students, teachers and parents travel to Explora monthly to engage in a multitude of STEM hands-on activities. We partner with the Nature Center to hold two, eight-week sessions that immerse children in the natural world. We also conduct regular field trips to local sites (Bio Park, Zoo, Botanical Gardens, etc.). Essential is providing health and wellness activities and ongoing development screenings (physical, dental, socio-emotional, language and intellectual delays) that ensure readiness for success in Kindergarten. Children have access to mental health and therapeutic services, art therapy and play therapy to address socio-emotional needs, a wellness coordinator, and the KidFit program, in which instructors work one-on-one with children around physical fitness activities emphasizing strength, coordination and endurance. The physical activities we plan for children are designed to enhance and support our trauma-informed curriculum. Our wellness coordinator builds on the KidFit physical activities and incorporates these activities into the teachers’ lesson plans so that appropriate, daily exercise activities are included. Children play in a developmentally appropriate outdoor playground that is fully enclosed. Healthy nutrition is an important part of our preschool program. Children are served a hot breakfast, hot lunch, and a snack every day they attend school, and are sent home on weekends with a backpack filled with food. CLNKids strives to place our most educated teachers in the preschool classroom. Given that many children come to our program significantly behind academically, having highly educated and trained teachers offers these children the best chance for success in Kindergarten. Our preschool has a low student-teacher ratio at 1:8 that allows for individual attention to help children catch up quickly. CLNKids staff are trained in adverse childhood experiences and to recognize behaviors associated with trauma, which enables them to fully support each child. We provide a daily bus service to our program that operates year-round, Monday to Friday, 7:00am–5:30pm. No fees are charged to parents.