Water Their Spirits and Watch Them Grow
By: Felicia Juarez
When we plant a garden, we are careful to ensure that our garden is given the necessary “ingredients” to thrive. We make sure seeds are planted in the right place with good soil, have appropriate sunlight, fertilizer, water, etc. and the same should be true for our children.
Children need a safe, nurturing environment that has food, water, education, positive recognition, and encouragement to learn and become successful. Other “supplements” that may be necessary are special education, therapy, and educational supplies. Most people naturally assume that all those things are automatically provided, but in reality, some or all are missing in a child’s life. Currently, New Mexico ranks 50th in the Nation for Child Poverty and 1st in the Nation for Child Hunger (2019 Center for American Progress). Those rankings translate to our kids not having the clothes, shoes, or even diapers that are essential for everyday life. Sadly, this also means that most kids do not know where or when their next meal will be. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE! New Mexico was ranked as the worst state to be a child according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation based out of Baltimore. This foundation was established in 1948 and is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.
Tobosa’s Children Services Department is taking as many steps as possible to notch away at this problem in our community. Little Steps is not a place where we only watch over children; it is a childcare center where we do exactly that, provide care to children. We take our time and put forth the effort to promote an educational and safe environment for all our “littles” Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Little Steps ensures the children receive five daily meals: breakfast, morning & noon snack, lunch, and late afternoon snack. We do not want our littles to go home hungry, and we know children learn better when their tummies are full and can concentrate on what is being taught instead of those growling stomachs! All snacks that we serve follow Federal Nutritional Guidelines to ensure healthy food intake.
Another area that Little Steps is passionate about is ensuring that our children leave the center having learned something that helps them with everyday routines or accentuates what they have been learning at Head Start, Pre-K or Elementary school. We know that children learn best through experiential play and class lessons that are interactive and fun and that is what we aim to do. Our After School Program makes it a priority to set aside time for children to complete homework and read every day.
Little Steps is always exploring different ways to continue to be helpful to the families we support. We are the only center in the Roswell area, that provides pick up services from seven elementary schools as well as pick up AND drop off (mornings) to both Head Starts. Transportation is a significant challenge among working families, especially for single parents who are the sole provider and lack the flexibility to leave work to pick up their children. Families who are unable to work might not be able to provide for their children adequately, and Little Steps is here to assist in any way possible.
Our center supports between 65-75 children at any given moment. We are continuously striving to increase those numbers and the quality of services provided in ways that will benefit our community. Our kids enjoy participating and volunteering in community events and programs that help to feed the homeless and needy families and bring smiles and friendships to the elderly who reside in nursing homes. We are a non-profit agency doing what we can to keep our community great while we nurture children into healthy, caring, educated, and empowered young girls and boys!
Little Steps welcomes the community to come by and see what we do firsthand, and we are always grateful for volunteers and donations such as educational items, toys, books, jackets, etc. Please visit littlestepscenter.org or trytobosa.org for more information or to make a monetary contribution to help us continue our mission.
If you would like to speak with a Director, please contact Michelle Pruitt (575) 623-6402, firstname.lastname@example.org or Felicia Juarez (575) 624-1025, email@example.com. Our CEO, Rosy RubioShe welcomes any inquiries you may have. You can reach her at (575) 624-1025, firstname.lastname@example.org.