Close to 100% of the students with whom Communities In Schools of New Mexico (CIS) works live at or below poverty. Poverty remains one of New Mexico’s greatest challenges and is a leading factor contributing to a young person’s inability to stay in school and succeed. The recently published Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Report reinforces this fact, painting a grim and sobering picture for children and families in New Mexico and across the nation. “Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to child development – impeding a child’s cognitive and social/emotional development,” states the Report – highlighting that today, 22% of children in the United States live in poverty (Annie E. Casey Kids Count Report, 2015).
According to the Kids Count Report, in New Mexico three of the four economic indicators remain unchanged from previous years – ranking 49th for child well-being, 49th for education, 48th for economic well-being and 48th for health. New Mexico’s overall ranking for children remains 49th in the nation. 31% of New Mexico children live in poverty (2015 Kids Count Report), and 33.7% of Santa Fe children live in poverty (City of Santa Fe, 2013).
At CIS, we know that kids bring the burdens of poverty to school every day. Thankfully, our staff provide a powerful means by which to redress poverty’s affect. Our multi-tiered and evidence-based approach attacks the ravages of poverty head-on. Mobilizing critical resources like food, clothing and access to housing and connecting them to our students ensures their basic needs are met. To be successful in school, young people need to be able to show up rested, nourished and ready to learn. By meeting students’ needs, we create a culture that says: We care about you. We want you to be successful. We will do whatever it takes to make sure you stay in school. By keeping kids in school and preventing them from dropping out, CIS is working to end the revolving door of poverty. Identified as the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, Communities In Schools’ research demonstrates that by keeping kids in school – fewer kids will end up living in poverty in the future.