Above: Pueblo Outreach Project team (left ot right): RJ Martinez, Jovanna Archuleta and Anna Marie Garcia
LANL Foundation Works with Eight Northern Indian Pueblos to Strengthen Early Childhood Support Systems
The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation has begun a project, as a request by the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council (ENIPC) governing board, to help improve the health and early development of children in the eight northern Pueblo communities of Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos and Tesuque. The Pueblo Outreach Project is funded by a $1,066,240 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, MI.
The goal of the project is to understand the current family support network, including early childhood home visiting programs, offered in each community. Through a partnership with ENIPC and permission by tribal leadership, LANL Foundation will complete a community assessment identifying available resources and highlighting gaps in service and awareness.
The project is managed by Anna Marie Garcia, LANL Foundation early childhood program director, and new staff: Pueblo outreach coordinator Jovanna Archuleta and program associate RJ Martinez. An advisory committee of Pueblo and outside community members will offer strategic and culturally respectful guidance and support.
Drawing from her prior leadership experience as ENIPC deputy director, Archuleta of Nambe Pueblo is leading the community mapping efforts. Martinez of Santa Clara Pueblo assists with programmatic operations and goals. He offers organizational expertise from work in student affairs for colleges and universities and with Santa Clara Development Corporation in human resources and service as interim CEO.
“Understanding the importance of strong family support systems like voluntary home visiting, I look forward to learning from the members of the eight northern Pueblos,” said Garcia. “By conducting a community assessment in each Pueblo, we will respectfully work with members to learn about the resources and strengths, as well as what is needed to help build strong children, families and communities from their own cultural perspective.”
Garcia has worked collaboratively with First Born®, an early childhood home visiting model established in Silver City, NM, to replicate the program to serve 15 counties throughout the state. Most recently, she directed the development of the Northwest NM First Born Program that serves San Juan and McKinley Counties, including Zuni Pueblo and parts of the Navajo Nation. With initial LANL Foundation support, that program is now a self-sustaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit with funding capacity to provide services to 200 first-time families.
Garcia also worked with early childhood consultant Marisol Atkins, the University of New Mexico, Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to research and develop a statewide home visiting capacity map. This interactive, online tool displays available home visiting programs, the number of families each can accommodate, number of annual births, estimated service need and needs met within each NM county.
Gil Vigil, Executive Director of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and former Governor of Tesuque Pueblo, is advising on the project and will serve as committee chair.
“The Tribal Leadership of ENIPC has guided our collaboration with the LANL Foundation. Mutual commitment to our communities and concern for our children and families is what initiated this work,” said Vigil. “ENIPC looks forward to the future work and the potential outcomes from the Pueblo Outreach Project, which aligns with our mission to provide quality programs that meet the needs of our families and communities through prevention, training, education, health and support.”
From information in the community mapping phase of the Pueblo Outreach Project, community members will partner with LANL Foundation to develop a logic model and define a culturally relevant plan that each Pueblo can use to build capacity, better utilize current services or develop new programs in early childhood health and wellbeing. The project and grant funding will continue for three years into early 2020.