Organizing Update for Young People

Dear Young People,

In 2020, NMCAN was interested in assessing our activities and identifying how to improve your experiences in our programs. We wanted to learn more about what our organization does well and how to ensure that New Mexico’s communities reflect your voices, needs, and values. We hired Pivot Evaluation to review our data and talk to staff, partners, and young people (some of you may remember Pivot’s employee Rose Matzkin). Pivot shared that NMCAN succeeds in developing authentic relationships with young people through genuine and personalized engagement, support, and warm hand-offs in the community. As a result, systems are changing to improve how they partner with young people, and you are building leadership skills and connecting to a supportive community.

This process with Pivot, which included feedback from young people, staff, board, and community partners, has prompted NMCAN to think about the next phase of our work to ensure that New Mexico is a place where young people continue to build those skills  have a sense of belonging, and know they are valued and loved. Moving forward, NMCAN will prioritize youth organizing. Our programming will look familiar, but we are refining it to emphasize what we do best—fostering healthy relationships and leadership skill development for young people. This is further reinforced by our belief that youth voice must be equitably represented to lead positive change in systems. We will achieve this by continuing to support young people in building individual leadership skills and giving them the platform to share new narratives, practices, and policies around how to best support New Mexico’s youth and families and create the communities they want and deserve to live in.

In the next few months, NMCAN will continue to share updates. In the meantime, thank you so much for your valuable feedback in the past year. We could not do this work without you, and we look forward to our future in which we continue to support you in advocating for healthy and connected communities across New Mexico.


Ezra Spitzer


What does this letter mean?

NMCAN is re-structuring our organization in order to spend more time doing youth organizing. We are hiring staff to focus on youth organizing and increasing the capacity of the policy and advocacy department.

What is youth organizing?

Youth organizing is a youth development and social justice strategy that trains young people in community organizing and advocacy, and assists them in employing these skills to create meaningful institutional and social change in their communities (definition from the Funders Collaborative for Youth Organizing). Through youth organizing, young people will increase their skills around healthy relationships/social connection, leadership, emotional intelligence, and job-readiness.

Will NMCAN programming change?

Sort of, our programming will continue to offer opportunities to build supportive networks and healthy relationships with peers and community partners. We will continue to host workshops to build leadership skills as well as offer support around employment and finances/budgeting. However, for other supports (like housing and education), we will link young people directly to the community partners and/or institutions.

Will I still have a staff coach?

All NMCAN staff will always be accessible to young people to coach them through challenges they may face, but support will look different because they will not be matched with a Youth Engagement Coordinator. However, our staff will continue to offer support around relationship skill building, leadership skills, emotional intelligence skills, and job-readiness skills.

Who do I talk to if I have more questions? 

Please contact Director of Engagement Kira Luna at 505-217-0220 ext. 1013,, or on Facebook (Kira Nmcan).