Participants: Andrew Baker, Barbara Webber, Joe Martinez, Loren Romero, Andrea N, Gabby Rivera
Andrea Nevarez: Assistant to Sherrif Ken Stewart. Ombudsman advocating on behalf of seniors in the community. Certified Intervention Specialist for Victims of Crime in the Las Cruces area.
Recap of Southern NM; education has been a problem because students are having trouble learning. Children are left with babysitters and elderly family members. Internet connection and senior citizens are also of interest. Grief of people who have missed personal milestones in quarantine. Graduation and school events are one of the unspoken difficulties of the pandemic.
AN: There is a big movement to help people laugh with their kids - there’s too much serious stuff going on and it’s important that we’re able to keep levity.
BW: We’re going to go back to school and forget what we’ve learned in the pandemic - emotional intuition and other experiences gained may be lost to the wayside. Make sure that we’re not just trying to cram two years into one year. These kids have been through a historic moment and we need to provide opportunities for them to share and process.
JM: Experience from other families - rediscovery of the outdoors - that’s something of high value!
AN: Letters to seniors! Seniors have been very lonely and there are definitely deaths due to struggles to survive. That’s a way to increase social contact! Ended up getting 2620 cards! Day cares, 7th grader who made over 100 bracelets. People came in to drop off blankets and socks. The time that people took to put messages into the cards was incredibly emotional. That’s something that we’re going to try to do for every year going forward!
BW: It’s important to foster an intergenerational connection!
JM: What can we do to move forward and be better prepared for this type of situation? What have you noticed about this experience re: strength of the community
AN: It’s shown that we’re really willing to engage with our community. We’re living in an age where we have to have that connection with the people around us. People in some communities are tight-knit. We need to get those networks started so that the community can stay resilient.
JM: What have you noticed about internet access in your area?
AN: Hasn’t come up much. Some victim advocates have been talking about difficulties with accessing technology for their kids. On the senior side, there are people who have trouble with any type of technology. Our youth need so much attention.
JM: What kind of discussion have you heard around the process of vaccines?
Rural Voices for COVID Recovery
AN: People are excited! They’re not questioning where it comes from, they’re just excited to be moving to the next phase. People are signing up to receive it through the DOH, lots of elders are checking where they’re at on the list. Handing out COVID fact sheets, but people are excited to get going.