New Mexico Kids Matter received a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) initiative to fund the STAR (Successful Transition and Adult Readiness) program. New Mexico Kids Matter’s commitment to training advocates to be the voice for children in the foster care system and beyond aligns with the vision of the HKHF grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
Volunteers advocate for children who have been abused or neglected within the foster care system. These children are in an overburdened system and can feel voiceless or even invisible. New Mexico Kids Matter are not just advocates but problem-solvers who work with children in foster care to ensure their needs are being met and their voices are being heard. New Mexico Kids Matter and the STAR program work to provide detailed advocacy to youth ages 12 and older. Volunteers work with these youth to help navigate the transitions that arise as the young person approaches aging out of foster care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been felt through every part of New Mexico Kids Matter. The pandemic impacted its ability to visit and interact in person with the children it represents. However, New Mexico Kids Matter advocates persevered and found ways to build and maintain those relationships through digital mediums. The organization looks forward to being back in person and visiting the kids it represents face-to-face.
“We are excited to be part of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant program,” said Nancy Marsh, New Mexico Kids Matter development manager. “The grant awarded to us by BCBSNM will help us to best serve the kids we advocate for by allowing us to develop trainings and curriculum and recruit new volunteers to best help youth transition out of the foster care system.”
“We’re proud to give our support to New Mexico Kids Matter and the STAR program,” said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM president. “Their continued commitment to be a voice for children in the foster care system and those transitioning out of the foster care system makes a profound impact on the lives of the children they serve.”
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, New Mexico Kids Matter and the STAR program advocate for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering community volunteers to speak up for them in the foster care system and ensure that every child grows up in a safe, nurturing and permanent home.