Con Alma Supports Healthy Options For Teens

EYTC teens take a field trip to the State Fair. Courtesy photo

EYTC take a high seat preparing to plant seedlings last spring. Courtesy photo

EYTC News:

Española – Con Alma’s Northern New Mexico Health Grant Group has awarded a $15,000 grant to “a special place, filled with love,” according to one teen’s reflective writing piece in reference to the Española YMCA Teen Center.

Y Executive Director Linda Daly said NNMHGG has shown a commitment to improving health outcomes for youth in northern New Mexico.

“Partnering within communities is proving to be one of the most effective means of improving educational outcomes for youth, and thus positively affecting their health outcomes,” Daly said.

Teen Center Director Ben Sandoval said this funding will support education, intervention, prevention, and health outreach programs for at-risk youth in the Espanola valley through positive relationships and staff-driven mentoring.

These services are delivered through facilitated and guided skill-building educational programs, he said, including tutoring, discussions, and connections to health services, and through delivery of community service activities based at the Center. The Teen Center is a located in a 3,100 square foot facility and has a technology wing including 20 computers, a classroom/lesson wing, a recreational/game area, and an outdoor recreation court. The Center is open 12-8 pm, Monday to Friday.

Center programming is developed with the intent of fostering a sense of accomplishment and hope in the teens, to help them understand their relevance, and the positive impact they have in a community–to enhance their self-efficacy. This is one way to increase the health and overall social well-being of area youth.

In 2013 (2014 data is still being compiled), the Teen Center served 644 youth (55 percent male and 44 percent female) primarily in 6th-10th grade. Since opening in 2007, the Center has directly intervened and helped 34 youth graduate who were on the verge of dropping out, and supported the educational goals of 137 youth who self-reported that it was the Teen Center that helped them reach grade levels or re-engage in school.

ABOUT THE TEEN CENTER: The Center is open Monday through Friday from 12 pm-8 pm and is available to all area teenagers. It has a recreational wing, classroom section and computer center. Staff members use mentoring to build supportive relationships with youth. They also use skill building classes to engage youth, and programming and discussions to address teen pregnancy, substance abuse, alcoholism, and mental health issues. Additionally, staff tutor youth for current classes, help youth who have quit school en-engage, and also support students to study for and obtain their GED. The Center is partly funded by the City of Espanola, Rio Arriba County, Santa Fe County and United Way of Northern New Mexico/Los Alamos. In 2013, the Center served 644 unique youth.

About The Family YMCA:

The Y was founded in 1955 in Los Alamos and is dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. The Y is a charity whose mission is the build individual, family, and community health, and we fundraise to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. In 2013, the Y provided $120,000 in financial assistance to 212 individuals.

The Y’s mission is to engage in partnerships in our communities to promote healthy life choices and to support community well-being and pressing social issues – from childhood obesity to graduation rates. For more information on the programs provided by the Y, please visit:

About Con Alma and NNMHGG:

Con Alma Health Foundation is organized to be aware of and respond to the health rights and needs of the culturally and demographically diverse peoples and communities of New Mexico. Con Alma seeks to improve the health status and access to health care services for all New Mexicans and advocates for a health policy that addresses the health needs of all New Mexicans. The Foundation makes grants, contributions, and program-related investments to fulfill its Mission.

The Northern New Mexico Health Grant Group (NNMHGG), is a joint initiative of Con Alma Health Foundation and the Los Alamos Medical Center Auxiliary. In May 2002, the Los Alamos Medical Center was sold by Banner Health Systems, a non-profit corporation, to Province HealthCare, a for-profit corporation. Some proceeds from the sale of Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) were preserved to serve the unmet healthcare needs of the people of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and northern Santa Fe counties. Con Alma Health Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary for LAMC, working as the Northern New Mexico Health Grant Group (NNMHGG) distribute the investment income from those proceeds for grants that target the populations traditionally served by LAMC.

EYTC teens take a summer hike. Courtesy photo

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