LANL Foundation Early Childhood Program staff, from left, RJ Martinez, Early Childhood coordinator, Evelyn Juarez, Early Childhood Program associate, Jovanna Archuleta, Early Childhood Pueblo Outreach coordinator and Anna Marie Garcia, vice president, Early Childhood Program. Photo Courtesy LANL Foundation
Jovanna Archuleta, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Pueblo Outreach coordinator, discusses the LANL Foundation’s Pueblo Outreach Program with National Home Visiting Conference Poster Session attendees. Photo Courtesy LANL Foundation
Attending the National Home Visiting Conference in Washington, DC, are, from left, Evelyn Juarez, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Program associate; Monica Vigil, Nambe Pueblo; Anna Marie Garcia, LANL Foundation vice president, Early Childhood Program; Dolly Narang, San Ildefonso Pueblo; Jovanna Archuleta, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Pueblo Outreach coordinator; Jennifer Romero, Democratic staff director and chief council, Committee on Indian Affairs; RJ Martinez, LANL Foundation Early Childhood coordinator and Katherine Chavez, Taos Pueblo. Photo Courtesy LANL Foundation
LANL FOUNDATION NEWS
LANL Foundation’s Early Childhood staff and representatives of the Pueblo Outreach Advisory Committee recently participated in the 2020 National Home Visiting Summit.
The 2nd annual summit, held January 29 – 31 in Washington, D.C., was hosted by the Ounce of Prevention Fund, an organization dedicated to assuring that children living in America—particularly those born into poverty—have quality early childhood experiences in the crucial first five years of life.
More than 100 presenters shared their research and insights on home visiting with nearly 700 attendees.
“This conference was very informative and eye opening,” said Dolly Narang, an advisory committee member from the Pueblo of San Ildefonso. “It gave me lots of ideas to design and implement our program at San Ildefonso Pueblo.”
As the hosting organization’s name implies, early childhood programs such as home visiting are preventative models, leading to healthier families and children. Home visitors support parents from all backgrounds, answer questions and provide guidance on issues such as maternal and child health, positive parenting, child development and growth, safe home environments and school readiness. Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D., one of the leading researchers on early childhood issues, called home visiting a positive mental health practice and early relational health promotion activity.
“We can’t do this work alone and the Summit provided good information and resources,” said Katherine Chavez, Taos Pueblo’s Tiwa Babies program coordinator/home visitor. “Alicia Lieberman’s presentation was the highlight of the Summit and I look forward to sharing her information with my staff and community.”
Lieberman’s presentation inspired several New Mexico participants. She began her career as a home visitor and has continued working with families throughout her professional life.
Lieberman addressed the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) but contends that adversity is not destiny. She observed that “Trauma hurts, but also contains the seeds of healing within the family, within the community and within society.” Lieberman focused on Benevolent Childhood Experiences (BCEs), which give children the capacity to build resiliency and achieve balance.
“Alicia Lieberman’s message inspired me greatly,” said Anna Marie Garcia, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Program vice president. “I was especially touched by two things. I liked hearing about BCEs. We hear so much about the negative effects of ACEs that we sometimes forget the power and strength that ‘benevolent childhood experiences’ bring to people and how those positive experiences mold our developing brain as well. I also loved hearing her say. ‘Don’t just do something, sit there!’ It reminded me of the importance of waiting and listening.”
LANL Foundation shared the success of the Pueblo Outreach Project at this year’s summit. A poster highlighting the purpose, methods, results and impact of the project sparked considerable attention among summit attendees. The presentation’s theme, the Power of Storytelling, generated particular interest.
The poster reads, “Stories represent a community’s power, demonstrating not only history but resilience of native people through the voices of storytelling. The results and understanding that were gained through the Pueblo Outreach Project initiative came through the Pueblos and their stories.”
The Pueblo Outreach Project, initiated in 2016, developed through a partnership between the LANL Foundation and the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council (ENIPC), supported by funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Storytelling was essential to building trusting relationships with the Pueblos of Nambé, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos and Tesuque. After mapping existing resources and gaps in those resources, each Pueblo developed an Early Childhood Plan that defined their mission, vision, values, community priorities and a path toward achieving their goals for early childhood education.
“Because it was their voice, there’s a lot of engagement in the Pueblos,” Gonzales said. “Each Pueblo now has a planning committee that is working on the implementation of that plan.”
The group also met with representatives from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Follow up has already commenced with a committee staff member assigned to work with the Pueblo Outreach Project to assist in finding resources to advance these initiatives.
Presenters highlighted the need to move away from competition between various home visiting models to a paradigm that looks at which curriculum is most relevant to an individual family. This approach is called Precision Home Visiting. A family with their first child might benefit from a First Born program while a family welcoming their third child might be better suited to a Parents as Teachers model.
“With that comes the idea of training a workforce of home visitors that are effective across models, across cultures, across communities, so that they can be effective with any family that they work with,” Garcia said.
The key concepts put forward at the summit reinforced directions already being pursued by the LANL Foundation Early Childhood staff and the Eight Northern Pueblos. Four Pueblos are partnering to initiate a precision home visiting program. Foundation staff are working with the Rio Arriba County Early Childhood Collaborative (RACECC) to bring parents, educational, non-profit, health care and philanthropic stakeholders together to support equal access to home visiting and family support services for all New Mexico families. Currently only five to seven percent of families take advantage of these home visiting programs.
“All families should have equal access to programs that help support them and build on their strengths,” said Monica Vigil, a committee member from Nambe Pueblo. “This will happen when all parties (government, agencies, and hospitals/clinics) come together and collaborate to do for the families they serve. The result: happy resilient families who feel empowered.”
About the LANL Foundation (www.lanlfoundation.org)
Since 1997, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has worked to inspire excellence in education and learning in Northern New Mexico through innovative programming, collaboration and advocacy. By investing in human potential, the Foundation’s vision is that all New Mexicans have the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities. Programs in early childhood, K-12 teacher and student programs, inquiry STEM education, scholarships and small grants serve Northern New Mexico communities primarily in Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Taos counties.
About the Pueblo Outreach Advisory Committee: The Pueblo Outreach Advisory Committee receives guidance and input from members of the communities involved in the Pueblo Outreach Project to ensure the project is meeting the goals and outcomes outlined in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant in a culturally respectful manner. The committee uses that input to provide advice and guidance to the Pueblo Outreach Coordinator concerning the direction of the project.