Thank you for your commitment to New Mexico’s young people. NMCAN’s 2020-2021 annual report is ready, and we are pleased to share our impact from the past year. NMCAN continues to partner with young people who are impacted by foster care, juvenile justice, and/or homelessness to improve their transition to adulthood and positively transform our community. This past spring, we refined our programming to focus on youth organizing, which provides opportunities for young people to build healthy relationships and life/leadership skills. We know that young people’s leadership is the only way to ensure that systems of support are reimagined to promote community-based programs that keep families together and offer resources that young people and families truly need and deserve.
Based on data collected from young people engaged in our programs, NMCAN is making steady progress in supporting them to build leadership skills—25 young people participated in 96 community meetings and legislative activities to share their experiences and identify how programs can better support young people and families. Their engagement resulted in two important changes. Young people played a critical role in the 2021 Legislative Session House Bill 179, which waives fees to obtain a birth certificate for people experiencing homelessness and will help youth experiencing homelessness to access important documents. NMCAN also partnered with Together for Brothers, The Wilderness Society, and other community organizations to advocate for Zero Fares, a program removing fares for Albuquerque public transit to ensure young people have access to transportation. Additionally, 83 percent of Youth Leaders feel their voices are taken seriously by adults and are confident in their ability to partner with adults to lead positive change.
However, young people continue to face challenges from COVID-19. Fifty-one percent experienced financial hardships due to the pandemic. Many also shared a strong desire to safely reconnect in person. This prompted NMCAN to host a COVID-19 education and outreach drive over the summer. We provided factual information about the COVID-19 vaccine and offered incentives to young people who got vaccinated. As we identify how to return to safe programming in person, we are reminded that community is everything. Engagement with a safe and supportive community is foundational for young people’s sense of belonging, personal growth, and self-advocacy.
This year, NMCAN also celebrated the one-year anniversary of Transition Age Youth ECHO (TAY ECHO), which improves how youth service providers collaborate across organizations to streamline services. As the backbone organization for TAY ECHO, we collected insightful data from partners—100 percent surveyed stated they are improving how to collaborate with other organizations to better support young people, and 95 percent have learned information that has positively impacted the way that they do their work.
Please read the 2020-2021 Annual Report to learn more about our activities over the past year and know that our success is because of you. Thank you so much for partnering with NMCAN and for your belief in the power of young people.