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Roswell Nonprofit Helps Young Students Make Positive Choices

Several years ago, Jackie Deen’s first grader was struggling at his Roswell, N.M., elementary school. 

“He would get into these situations that usually led to him shoving or hitting someone, or sometimes getting hit,” Deen says. “It got to a point where I knew he needed additional support.”

After a neighbor told Deen about Wings for LIFE, she enrolled her son in the program and witnessed improvements immediately. “Expressing his emotions became easier, he stopped acting out and was able to spend more time in class,” she says.

Supporting children at risk

Studies show individuals who experience childhood adversity are at greater risk for poor health outcomes in adolescence and adulthood. Early childhood intervention programs like Wings for LIFE’s Building Assets program can help mitigate factors that put children at risk.

“Roswell has limited resources to support those experiencing poverty and other hardships,” says Lorrina Segovia, executive director of Wings for LIFE.  “The Building Assets program is something students and families can depend on.”

Helping students help themselves

Founded in 2007, Wings for LIFE programming is in all 13 of Roswell Independent School District’s elementary schools. The nonprofit enrolls more than 200 children per year in the no-cost, Building Assets program. 

[Related: Learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is making an impact in our communities]

Deen says her son enjoyed the fun and engaging lessons designed to build social and emotional skills. He learned about the importance of academic success and the power to make positive choices. He participated in the program until he graduated in fifth grade. 

Children sitting around a table create artwork

Young students in the Roswell Wings for LIFE Building Assets program participate in the Positive Choices/Positive Living-Safe Spaces activity. During the lessons, students learn why it’s important to make positive choices, as well as how to recognize what a safe space looks and feels like.

“Roswell Wings for LIFE helped him with his willingness to talk about hard things, and he learned a lot about identifying feelings and processing them,” she says. “The program really helped us as a family.”

Grant funding helps nonprofit thrive

Wings for LIFE recently received a $10,000 Blue Impact℠ grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico to help maintain salaries and purchase needed supplies and snacks for the program.

“Learning how to make positive choices at a young age is essential to growing into a healthy adult,” says Janice Torrez, BCBSNM President. “We’re proud to support the health and well-being of young students by investing in programs that teach social and emotional learning skills.”

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