Tag Archives: new mexico

The Great Risk to the Navajo Nation

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham raised concerns in the past weeks about the “incredible spikes” in coronavirus cases in the Navajo Nation, which she feels could be detrimental to some tribal nations that are already living in vulnerable situations. According to NPR, after New York and New Jersey, the Navajo Nation has the highest coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. 

Today, we want to shed some light on the harsh realities that families living in the Navajo Nation experience — and how our sponsorship program, volunteer coordinators, and special COVID-19 Fund are helping children and families in need in these unprecedented times.

Today, we want to shed some light on the harsh realities that families living in the Navajo Nation experience.

Understanding the Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation is an American Indian territory that covers a large amount of land — over 17 million acres — and encompasses portions of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah.

It also holds the famous Four Corners Monument, where one can stand on a quadripoint and be in four U.S. states — Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado — at the same time. The adjacent Utah land is part of the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Reservations.

The largest portion of the Navajo Nation lies within Arizona, where the Hopi Reservation is located and surrounded on all sides by the Navajo Reservation.

The Navajo Nation land in New Mexico is nicknamed the “Checkerboard” area because the federal government attempted to diversify Navajo lands with non-native lands. Thus, the Navajo lands in New Mexico are intermingled with fee lands, owned by both Navajo and non-Navajo, and federal and state areas under various jurisdictions. Additionally, there are three recognized groups of Navajos living in New Mexico outside of the regular reservation boundaries: the Ramah Navajo, the Alamo Navajo, and the Tohajiilee Navajo Reservations.

Abhorrent Poverty in the U.S.

The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian tribe in the United States. While it makes up just 1.7% of the total U.S. population, it makes up 10.6% of the New Mexico population.

In New Mexico, 27% of Navajo households are headed by single mothers, and  8.4% of Navajo children are being raised by a grandparent. About 16% live in multi-generational households.

In January 2018, a reporter for the Navajo Times researched the well-being of women and children on the Navajo Nation and found that New Mexico children were at the top of the national list for poverty and food insecurity, and at the bottom for education and overall well-being. Per the report: “This financial insecurity within families leads to fewer opportunities for young people as well as a variety of health, cognitive, and emotional risk factors for children.”

We are grateful to be able to support children and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The report also mentioned that “[c]hildren who grow up in poverty are also more likely to be food insecure, to suffer from adverse childhood experiences, like abuse and homelessness, and to live in poverty as adults.” It cited a National Institute of Justice study that found nearly half of Native American women reported domestic violence in the home. The research confirmed what many social scientists already knew — poverty, abuse, and insecurity drastically affect the well-being of children.

While infrastructure and utility services are improving slowly in the Navajo Nation, there is still a long way to go. Many roads are unpaved and are instead small dirt paths that contribute to isolation and lack of access to services. Access to the power grid is almost essential, yet there are still many families without it.

A May 2019 investigative report by NPR stated about 10% of Navajos on the reservation live without electricity, and almost 40% have to haul their water and use outhouses. More than a quarter of Navajos have experienced problems with electricity, the Internet, and the safety of their drinking water.

For many, finally getting access to the power grid can be life-changing. In the NPR report, families shared their gratefulness for being able to use nebulizers, and for their children having bright, clear lighting to study at night — as well as having the Internet. Families were also able to charge their phones and store food safely through refrigeration. One reporter shared seeing a group of teenagers in battered old cars in a hotel parking lot. They were clustered as close to the hotel as they could get so they could use the hotel’s Internet to complete some of their homework assignments.

While it is impossible to talk about the Navajo Nation without addressing poverty, it is important to stress there are many strengths of the native culture.

The strengths of children and their families

While it is impossible to talk about the Navajo Nation without addressing poverty, it is important to stress there are many strengths of the native culture. For example, many Navajo children can speak both their native language as well as English, and research shows that bi-lingual children can have better problem-solving skills than children who can speak just one language.

Another strength is their tie to their lands. While many other native peoples were moved from their ancestral lands, most of the Navajo people were able to maintain this vital connection.

Our Work to Help

We work with twelve affiliated projects in Arizona and nine in New Mexico to support children and their families in need. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing support to our volunteer coordinators — thanks to donations from our sponsors and donors — who are providing meals to children who are out of school. Many of our coordinators are personally dropping off bags of food that include fruit, juice, sandwiches and other simple items that children eat for lunch and dinner.

We are incredibly grateful for these partnerships, and to our sponsors and donors who are providing crucial support at this time — and all year long.

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How can I donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund?

We have created a COVID-19 Response Fund so that we can support children in crisis in the upcoming months. Donations will be used to provide food and emergency supplies to the children in our program who are in immediate need.

DONATE TODAY

Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

Companies choose to partner with charitable organizations for a variety of reasons, and a successful corporate partnership benefits both the nonprofit and its sponsor. When you make the decision to partner with Children Incorporated, you are choosing to make a lasting impact not only on impoverished children, but also on their families, and entire communities as well.

About Children Incorporated

Founded by Jeanne Clarke Wood in 1964, Children Incorporated is an international nonprofit organization with a steadfast vision: to provide children living in poverty with the basic needs and education that they would otherwise go without – the tools that they need to break the cycle of poverty.

When you make the decision to partner with Children Incorporated, you are choosing to make a lasting impact not only on impoverished children, but also on their families, and entire communities as well.

Children Incorporated passionately believes that children everywhere deserve education, hope, and opportunity. We provide sustainable solutions that enable children around the world to receive such necessities as food, clothing, health care, and an education. These essentials, so often taken for granted, are vital to a child’s growth – both as an individual and as a contributing member of their local community.

Our Work

Children Incorporated partners with already-established schools, orphanages, homes, and childcare centers to address the specific needs of the children they serve. Each of our approximately 300 projects has its own local staff member who administers our program on a volunteer basis. We also maintain many special funds, such as our U.S. and International Feeding Programs Funds; we provide assistance for income-generating projects, health care and educational assistance programs; and we support critical projects, like school expansions, medical clinic repairs, housing improvements, and more.

Read more about our special funds:

U.S. Feeding Programs Fund

Mosquito Net Fund

International Feeding Programs Fund

Warm Clothing Fund

Skills Training Programs Fund

How to get involved

Most often, companies choose to sponsor a whole project rather than individual children. This type of approach allows a company to have an even greater impact in the lives of many children, as well as in a community as a whole. It is our aim to work with you as a team to bring basic needs assistance and programs that teach self-sustainability to children and communities in need.

Read about our special projects around the world:

Building Homes in Bolivia

Providing Dorms and Beds in India

Feeding Programs in the Philippines

Hearing Aids for Children in Lebanon

Gardens for Schools in Arizona

Computers for Students in Kentucky

By partnering with us, you help meet the needs of the children that we serve, so that they may grow, learn, and have the opportunities in life that they deserve.

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Blankets for the Cold Southwestern Nights

Every year, Children Incorporated provides thousands of coats, gloves, boots, hats, and mittens to children in need in Kentucky, Arizona, New Mexico, and Michigan during the winter months, thanks to our Warm Clothing Fund. Without this special fund, many children would go without the warm clothes that they need in order to attend school properly dressed when the weather is very cold. This is essential in keeping them healthy, and from missing class and falling behind.

Our donors are helping keep kids warm during the winter months!

This past winter, Children Incorporated was able to go above and beyond just providing warm clothes to our sponsored and unsponsored children at the Hanaadli Community School/Huerfano Dormitory in New Mexico – we were also able to allocate funds for extra warm blankets for the children there. Homes in the Huerfano community are very small, but the zone serves a population that is spread out across a very wide area. The distance is so great that some families who enroll their children in the Hanaadli Community School also enroll them at the Huerfano Dormitory on the school’s campus. These children go home on weekends and on holiday breaks from school.

Cozy all winter long

Every year, Children Incorporated provides thousands of coats, gloves, boots, hats, and mittens to children in need.

In October, during a visit to the school by our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, our Volunteer Coordinator Elsie asked Renée if we would provide the children in her care with warm blankets so that they could be comfortable sleeping in the dorms at night. Since Huerfano is at an elevation of 6,194 feet above sea level, and is located in the high desert country, the winter temperatures there plummet much below freezing. Renée gladly sent funds to Elsie, thanks to our sponsors and donors who have contributed to our Warm Clothing Fund – and now the children stay warm and cozy all winter long!

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HOW DO I DONATE TO THE WARM CLOTHING FUND?

You can contribute to our Warm Clothing Fund in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Warm Clothing Fund.

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The History of Our U.S. Programs

We are very proud of our U.S. Programs, which support children not only in rural areas of the United States, but in urban areas as well. Just as all organizations do, we started out small, with only a few affiliated projects; and we gradually added more over time.

Our U.S. Division has grown quickly over the years thanks to our great partnerships.

When Children Incorporated began in 1964, our focus was on one country in particular: Guatemala. Soon, we started to offer assistance in the United States, too. By the late 1960s, our U.S. Programs Division consisted of one site in Menifee, Kentucky, one site in Rutledge, Tennessee, and a few sites near Farmington, New Mexico. Just twenty years later, we encompassed two divisions in four states: an Appalachian Division in North Carolina; and a Native American Division in Arizona, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The organization lost its connections with sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Dakota after a while. By the late 1980s, we had expanded to 32 projects total in North Carolina, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Growing fast

During the mid to late 1990s, our U.S. Programs Division experienced its greatest growth period. Appalachian affiliations were initiated in West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. The organization began to focus on the state of Kentucky again, and we developed a partnership with Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSC). By partnering with these centers, Children Incorporated was able to expand our program throughout many counties in Eastern Kentucky. Our Native American Division simultaneously began making affiliations in South Dakota and Utah.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day.

Addressing urban and rural poverty

By the early 2000s, the need for our program in urban areas became apparent; so Children Incorporated decided to tackle the issue head-on. After focusing on rural poverty during much of our history, we felt the need to address and respond to urban poverty. By partnering with Communities In Schools (CIS), a school dropout prevention program that works in public school systems in the United States, we were able to expand our outreach even further, and assist children in Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Richmond, Virginia; and New Orleans.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day, by providing them with basic needs so they can attend school, obtain an education, and have the opportunities they deserve and need to succeed in life.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES?

You can sponsor a child in the United States in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in the United States who is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Following the Harvest

While spending a few weeks visiting our affiliated projects in New Mexico last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, and U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, heard over and over that because there were so few job opportunities in the communities in and around the Navajo Nation, the parents of our sponsored and unsponsored children there often have no choice but to travel outside of town – and sometimes even to other states as far away as Colorado — to find work on farms during the harvest season.

It is not easy for parents to be away from their children; they are forced to rely on other family members, like grandparents, to help out, and to ensure that their kids get to school and are cared for. In many cases, when parents must leave town for work, their kids’ school year is interrupted by the need for them to switch to a school that has a dormitory in which they can stay during the school week. While meeting with our volunteer coordinators at two of the schools that our sponsored children attend, the Ojo Encino Day School and the Pueblo Pintado Boarding School, Renée found that they were no exception.

While visiting the school, our Volunteer Coordinator Nora told Renée that there are hardly any jobs in the community, aside from very few school administrator and school staff positions.

The Ojo Encino Day School

The Ojo Encino Day School is located in a remote area of north central New Mexico; even the nearest post office in Cuba, New Mexico is almost forty miles away. Though situated outside of the Navajo Nation’s boundaries, this area is still very much considered to be “Navajo Country.” While visiting the school, our Volunteer Coordinator, Nora, told Renée that there are hardly any jobs in the community, aside from very few school administrator and school staff positions. Many parents travel a few hours away, either to Farmington or Bloomington, for temporary work – or even farther away, to Durango, Colorado, if it’s the only option.

After they met one-on-one, Nora introduced Renée to two sponsored children in our program. First, Renée met Eleanor*, who loves having a sponsor. She is a hard-working student in the fourth grade, and Nora said that Eleanor is responsible and polite. Eleanor lives with her parents and five siblings; both parents are unemployed, and struggle to provide for their family on a limited amount of assistance. Eleanor loves school, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

Next, Renée met Rachel*, who is also in the fourth grade. She is a little shy, but Nora said that she pushes herself to be a good leader and peer motivator for the other students. Rachel lives with her parents and little brother; her father has a low-paying job, and her mother is a homemaker. Their small house has no electricity or running water. Nora told Renée that both girls, like all of our sponsored children at the school, are very appreciative of their sponsors. The clothing and school supplies they receive mean so much to their health and education.

The Pueblo Pintado Boarding School

Our Volunteer Coordinator Cindra with two of our sponsored children at Pueblo Pintado

After visiting the Ojo Encino Day School, Renée traveled to the Pueblo Pintado Boarding School, which is 55 miles from Cuba. The school is one of Children Incorporated’s larger affiliated projects in New Mexico, with 263 children in attendance. While at the school, our Volunteer Coordinator Cindra told Renée that the harvest season affects the number of students enrolled in the school. It increases in the fall, during the potato season, when parents are away at work, because the students can stay in the dorm there during the week.

Cindra told Renée that one of her favorite aspects of our program is seeing the joy on the kids’ faces. She mentioned a little girl named Isabel*, who is in the second grade, and who loves shoes. Every time Isabel gets a new pair, thanks to her sponsor, she is overwhelmed with happiness.

Like all the children in our program, sponsored and unsponsored kids living in New Mexico face a great deal of adversity living in poverty; and it is even more challenging when parents have to travel for work during the harvest season, which creates a whole new set of obstacles for families. Thankfully, these children have their sponsors and our volunteer coordinators to offer them support throughout the year.

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW MEXICO?

You can sponsor a child in New Mexico in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD

The Mesa that Turns

Dzilth Community Grant School is located in Bloomfield, New Mexico near one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo Nation. The school was built in the late 1960s by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and then it was converted to community grant status in 2005. The Navajo name of the school, Dzilth-Na-O-Hle, translates to “The Mesa that Turns” in English; it refers to a nearby mesa – an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides — which seems to turn as the observer walks around it. The campus has a dormitory for the kids who live too far away to go home every afternoon. About half of the students who attend the school, which serves grades kindergarten through eighth, board there each week.

Dzilth Community Grant School is one of our most successful projects in New Mexico, and has been for quite some time now. Dzilth is blessed with two outstanding coordinators, Phyllis and Karen.

Unlike many of the areas in New Mexico in which our affiliated schools are located, this region of the state has more work opportunities for parents who have an education, certain skills, and transportation to get to and from jobs. Some commute to work in farms around Bloomfield, or at an oil field project in nearby Bisti. Other parents make and sell beaded jewelry during the summer tourist season, and then pick potatoes in Durango, Colorado during the harvest season.

Although there are job opportunities, many of our sponsored and unsponsored children’s parents lack the education or skills needed to successfully compete in the job market. There are also many older grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. For these reasons, many of the families of children enrolled in our program are living in poverty, and struggle every day to make ends meet — so support from the Children Incorporated program means so much to them.

A successful project

Dzilth Community Grant School is one of our most successful projects in New Mexico, and has been for quite some time now. Dzilth is blessed with two outstanding coordinators, Phyllis and Karen. They are managing 87 children in our sponsorship program, and the school comprises one of our largest projects in the state. When our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, and U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, arrived at the school, Phyllis and Karen told them that the principal had said that they could meet with all the children enrolled in the Children Incorporated program in the library. A rare occurrence at projects in our U.S. Division, due to strict rules in school systems, Renée and Shelley were very grateful for the principal’s permission to pull the students out of class for a brief gathering.

Children at Dzilth Community Grant School are fortunate to have two wonderful volunteer coordinators to support them.

Renée addressed the group of children by thanking them for cooperating with their coordinators for updated pictures and progress reports, and especially for writing letters to their sponsors. She stressed how much the letters mean to sponsors, and asked the children to keep up their good work.

After meeting with the kids, Renée and Shelley had a meeting with Phyllis and Karen. Phyllis is an administrative assistant, and Karen is a data technician. They told Renée and Shelley that sponsorship funds are primarily utilized for the purchase of shoes and clothing, and then school supplies and hygiene items. They are also used to purchase food, when needed.

Phyllis and Karen also expressed a need for eyeglasses for children at the school. Dzilth Community Grant School used to have a partnership with the Helen Keller Foundation, which provided occasional mini grants for eyeglasses; but that partnership is no longer what it used to be. Renée said that she would look into seeing if our Hope In Action Fund could provide some assistance for this special need.

High hopes for Michelle

After the school visit, Phyllis and Karen took Renée and Shelley to the home of one of Children Incorporated’s sponsored children. They traveled quite a few miles away from the school, until they arrived at a muddy lane on which Michelle* lives, in a small neat and tidy house with her mother and grandmother. The mom works as an office assistant; the grandmother was once employed, but is now older and retired. Both women expressed their appreciation for Children Incorporated and Michelle’s sponsor.

While they chatted in the kitchen, Michelle’s mother and grandmother talked about how proud they are of her. She is an excellent student whose favorite subject is math. Michelle is also athletic; she loves basketball, and is very good at playing it.

They have high hopes for Michelle and her future. They dream that she will graduate from high school, and go on to college. Michelle has a special fondness for animals, and says she wants to be a veterinarian. Her mother and grandmother believe this dream can come true; and here at Children Incorporated, we believe it can, too.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN New Mexico?

You can sponsor a child in New Mexico in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD