DEMING – The Family Resource Center rolled out the red carpet for Elizabeth Groginsky, the new New Mexico Early Childhood and Care Department Secretary. Groginsky is currently on a state-wide tour that landed her in Deming on Tuesday, meeting with early childhood educators, child care providers, home visiting professionals, parents, elected officials, and other community members.
Tricia Gutierrez, is the center manager at the Family Resource Center located at 500 E. Oak St. Gutierrez and her staff met with Groginsky and provided a tour of the facility that has an enrollment of 46 children, ranging from infants (six weeks) to Pre-K. The center is at full capacity as far as enrollment and maintains a full enrollment year after year, according to Gutierrez.
Gutierrez oversees the center’s development and growth. Home Education Livelihood Program (HELP-NM) has served communities for over 50 years and was founded by the New Mexico Council of Churches, and now served by the New Mexico Conference of Churches and Church Women United.
The three branches of HELP-NM empowerment include:
• Providing a foundation for economic growth per families,
• Learning and educational opportunities per families and
• Finance and administrative powers that allow the HELP-NM programs to grow.
“New Mexico is a diverse state, and local early childhood needs and strengths are going to be equally diverse,” Groginsky said in an earlier interview. “That’s why we believe it is so important that we show up in these communities, learn from people’s lived experiences, and use that knowledge to build programs and policies that help all New Mexican children and families thrive.”
Gutierrez said HELP-NM provides Kindergarten Readiness, classrooms for infants, toddlers, Head Start and Pre-K. “It’s based on income,” she told the Headlight.
There is a full curriculum available for the children at the FRC. “From six weeks to Pre-K, we have a lot to offer and our teachers look for different objectives they can use for each infant and student. Developmental skills are vital for infants and toddlers and we provide science, math, and social studies to prepare them for kindergarten.
The students are currently attending classrooms in person and family involvement is kept virtual. “Family involvement is vital in our school,” Gutierrez said. “During enrollment, we talk to the parents and ask them what their needs are. We also provide Parent Educational Café’s. If a parent comes to us and says they need help with a particular parenting skill, HELP-NM will refer a specialist in that particular skill.”
The Family Resource Center employs 12 teachers and one cook. The center is currently preparing for next year’s enrollment period.
During the community visits, Groginsky and members of the ECECD leadership team will host roundtable discussions to learn how the agency can further support the diverse educational, developmental, health, and nutritional needs of young children in every region of the state.
Since ECECD’s inception in July 2020, the state has made significant investments across the early childhood system in New Mexico, specifically boosting PreK enrollment, broadening home visiting services, expanding childcare assistance, increasing enrollment in the wage supplement and scholarship programs for early childhood professionals, and connecting with families through its award-winning Moments Together public education campaign.
The center provides a detailed calendar that includes two scheduled home visits per year, three home-cooked meals daily, family fun days and parent meetings are held once a month, parent education meetings are held once a month and members of the community and civic leaders are invited to the center once a month for a show-n-tell.
HELP-NM in Luna County has nine locations and contacts:
• Deming Area Office, 310 E. Olive St. Call 546-7414
• Rainbow Head Start, 1800 S. Copper St. Call 544-3821
• Columbus, 500 Taft St. Call 575-531-2599
• Family Resource Center, 500 E. Oak St. Call 544-8312
• Deming, 306 S. Copper St. Call 546-4229
• McPherson, 720 S. Nickel St. Call 544-2992
• TLC-Deming, 2150 E. Pine St. Call 546-9490.
The Milo Center, 600 E. Fourth St. 323-2101; and the Deming Cesar Chavez Charter High School facility at 315. E. First St. are coming in the near future.
HELP-NM schools are also part of the Deming Public Schools at My Little School and Ruben S. Torres Elementary School.
Visit helpnm.com, the school readiness program for children and families includes:
• Screenings and follow-up for health, development and behavior
• Health and safety
• Social and emotional health
• Family goal setting
• Family engagement/advocacy and decision-making
• Social services
• Transition services
• Services for children with disabilities.
Comprehensive services are delivered in a learning environment that is individualized to support children’s growth in the essential domains of the New Mexico Early Learning Guidelines.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (leave a message) or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Deming Headlight: New Mexico Early Childhood Education Secretary visits Deming