United Way’s Live United Interns Making An Impact

Chris Perez/Courtesy photo

Natalia Maestas/Courtesy photo

Executive Director
United Way of Northern New Mexico

Natalia Maestas, a student attending UNM-LA, and Chris Perez, a student attending Northern New Mexico College, are the first two of five Live United Interns to be hired to further the United Way’s work to improve the lives of children and families through service collaboration.  

In their first two weeks, Maestas and Perez presented the new 40-page printed 2-1-1 Resource Directory to a coalition of nonprofit and government first responder agencies at the Rio Arriba Community Health Council.  In the months ahead, the Interns will provide educational trainings to nonprofits and government agencies about the 2-1-1 non-emergency hotline, printed directory, and the nonprofit agencies it provides consumer referrals to. Whether someone needs access to help in fulfilling basic needs, mental health, senior services, or family crises, 2-1-1 is there to help. The free United Way hotline provides connections to local services and resources. Currently, United Way’s 2-1-1 call center techs provide free referrals to local health and human services, government agencies, and community-based organizations. 

2- 1-1 is to non-emergency assistance what 911 is to emergency response: a quick and easy way for people to access needed help by phone any hour of the day or night. 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember free dialing code. Like 911, 2-1-1 is answered by call center techs trained to assess callers’ needs quickly and refer them to the most appropriate assistance by using comprehensive computerized database of more than 200 services from over 400 public and non-profit health and human service organizations in northern New Mexico (Rio Arriba, Taos, and Los Alamos Counties, Mora, San Miguel).  

“For the past several months, we have collaborated with the LANL Foundation’s Rio Arriba County Early Childhood Collaborative, and other community partners to create a pocket-sized resource directory for law enforcement and first responders to provide families who are experiencing crisis or trauma,” says the United Way of Northern New Mexico’s Executive Director Monica Griego. “With generous support from Triad National Security, we are getting printed information about vital services to communities across Northern New Mexico that need it the most.  These resources are vetted so that people reaching out for resources can be connected with a real person who can help and respond immediately. We are creating a rapid response for help for people who are looking for resources in their immediate communities.”

The Live United Interns are delivering 250 directories this week to various organizations that have requested the printed booklets. Among one of the first requests for a directory was Police Chief Mizel Garcia of the Espanola Police Department who shared the information with a family who recently experienced a tragedy. 

Interns Maestas and Perez have ensured that the City of Espanola Police Department received their first shipment of 100 directories for the officers to use as a leave-behind resource for families in need of local resources. As an extension of the UNITE! Expo work, the United Way of Northern New Mexico continues to elevate community awareness regarding the United Way Grantees and other government and nonprofit programs striving to create healthier communities by providing a wider array of support services to residents of Rio Arriba County.  

For information regarding the 2-1-1 Directory visit www.UnitedWayNNM.org/news