HHS - Outreach and Education
Outreach and Education
Community Outreach Overview
The Community Outreach Division was formally institutionalized by the Doña Ana County Board of County Commissioners in 2003. The Community Outreach Division provides the mechanism to reach the residents of rural communities or “colonias” in Doña Ana County.
The Community Outreach Division works as a liaison among community residents, county programs, and other health or human service providers. In order to build relationships and de-centralize services, the department utilizes seven Community Resource Centers (CRCs) located in rural communities. These CRCs are used by the county and other health and human service providers to deliver direct services. In addition, this division has traditionally been responsible for the AmeriCorps VISTA Program for the Health and Human Services Alliance & provides staff support.
The division is responsible for county-wide outreach activities through networking, planning and community organizing in neighborhoods and rural communities by forming community coalitions to identify and address unmet needs. The outreach process revolves around the monthly planning meeting, the “Convivio” from the word “Convivir” (to share). This session allows for communication between the county staff and the community residents to request educational classes and services. The division performs outreach and facilitates program services for the other HHS divisions in addition to other Doña Ana County departments.
Community Resource Centers
The CRCs service delivery focuses on the following topic areas: wellness and health promotion, job skills and employment, and youth and child development. In 2009 there were 1,056 classes offered at the CRCs, for a total of 23,978 adult and 8,572 child participant encounters. As of April 2010, 1,532 classes have been offered. Though the sign-in sheets, 11,712 adult and 8,522 child participant encounters have been documented for 2006.
The Community Outreach Division coordinates the delivery of services by developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships with a variety of local providers. By offering a location at the centers, facilitation by the VISTA members, and promotion through community meetings, the division is able to offer resources to the providers that offer the services. This is a true collaboration that benefits rural residents and accomplishes the mission of the department.
AmeriCorps VISTA Program
The programs at the CRCs are facilitated by 6 AmeriCorps VISTA members. The AmeriCorps is a domestic volunteer program and VISTA stands for Volunteers In Service To America. The VISTA members focus on encouraging citizen participation and community self-help. The county’s Health and Human Services Department is a program site sponsored by the non-profit SER (Service Education Redevelopment) de New Mexico, and under the leadership of the Corporation for National and Community Service.