High-Quality Afterschool Programs in New Mexico
Afterschool programs help keep youth out of trouble in New Mexico
The more than 5,000 law enforcement leaders around the nation who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, have long known that the hours immediately after school lets out, when parents are likely not available to supervise, are the prime-time for juvenile crime. Over the past 20 years, law enforcement leaders across the country have relied on high-quality afterschool programs to provide supportive, stable, and enriching environments with caring adults that keep children and youth out of trouble and safe, while supporting their academic success, and social and emotional development.
Program Highlight: Farmington Public Library, San Juan County
The Farmington Public Library in San Juan County, New Mexico supports local 21st Century Community Learning Centers—afterschool and summer learning programs that serve high-needs communities and receive federal support through the 21st CCLC initiative—through their partnerships in schools and their out-of-school-time programs that they offer at the library. Working in this capacity, they recognized the ways that youth face an increased risk of juvenile crime and victimization in the out-of-school-time hours. In response to their discovery, the program took intentional measures to help combat those risks. For example, the program has developed a partnership with the Farmington Police Department. Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe and many of his officers regularly engage with programming offered at the library, in particular working to build students’ literacy skills. Police officers attend the library’s weekly story time, reading a story to kids and emphasizing the importance of reading. They also disseminate the library’s summer reading brochures at “Free Library” stations that are positioned throughout the community. This work has helped to increase registration for the library’s reading program throughout the entirety of San Juan County. According to Chief Steve Hebbe, “[The] Farmington Police Department values opportunities for kids in our community to learn and have meaningful things to do outside of school. We are glad to be partnering with the Farmington Public Library to inspire our kids to read at a young age.”
Farmington Police Department values opportunities for kids in our community to learn and have meaningful things to do outside of school.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Steve Hebbe, Farmington Chief of Police
Promoting youth voice and agency, and fostering a stronger connection to the community is another facet of the library. Once a month, as part of the afterschool programming offered at the Farmington Public Library, a group of youth from across San Juan County gather for the Mayor’s Teen Advisory Council (MTAC) to discuss and solve issues facing teens in the community, including drug use, safety, and gang violence. Officers join in these important conversations to show support and answer questions as these young people strive to make their community safer. Youth that participate in the program gain experience in public speaking, collaboration, critical thinking, and mutual respect in working toward a future in which they want to live.
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