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scpd coat drive rsSilver City Police Department (SCPD) officers and staff recently completed their annual winter coat drive, donating some 60 coats to local school children in Grant County. Pictured here on coat delivery day at Harrison Schmitt Elementary are: (back row, left to right) Leslie Ormand, principal; Lt. James Cruzan; Sgt. Arthur Rascon; and Cpl. Joseph Aguirre. Pictured front row, left to right: Johnavan Silvas; Bryce Carrillo; Kiara Aguirre; Maria Rivera; and Victor Roman. The Department also distributed Thanksgiving food baskets to six local families in need, a culmination of the annual community food drive. SCPD has provided these special holiday donations to Grant County children and families for more than 10 years.

clothe a child rsSeated, from left are Phillip Sands, His Lady Beverly, Jason Hamilton, David Fischer. Standing, from left are Robert Baker, Debbie Hamilton, Carmen Brahm and Val Brahm. Just a few of the workers assisting the Children with their Saturday morning shopping spree.Last Saturday, December 16, Grant County Masons from the four Lodges in the County, with the assistance of some of their wives and other helpers, invited 65 Grant County children to shop for the Holidays. $110.00 in funds were allocated for each child, chosen by the local Grant County School nurses as those in need.

photo 1 rsSpring Street Makeover – beforeThe Silver City MainStreet Project received a grant from the New Mexico Resiliency Alliance to beautify downtown Silver City. The funds were used to replant the medians at the intersection of Bullard and College Streets and to completely rehab a block of Spring Street between Bullard and Texas Streets.

vicki johnsonVicki Johnson (left), founder of FBP, conducts a home visit with a family in Grant CountyThe First Born® Program (FBP) has its roots in Michigan and was established in l997 in Grant County by Vicki Johnson, with the support of several community members. The first home visit was held in Silver City in November of 1997.

milken award rsMath teacher and Western New Mexico University alumna Melanie Alfaro (pictured center) accepts New Mexico's 2017-18 Milken Educator Award and listens to applause at the surprise awards assembly at Deming Intermediate School last month.Silver City, NM – Melanie Maynes Alfaro, who earned her master's in education from Western New Mexico University, recently won New Mexico's 2017-18 Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 cash prize.

a j sandovalA.J. SandovalSilver City, NM: After a short hiatus, the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) returns this month, now aligned with a new nonprofit and led by a new coordinator, A.J. Sandoval.

A Grant County native, Sandoval is a graduate of Cobre High School and Western New Mexico University. "I'm glad to be returning home," said Sandoval, who previously worked for the New Mexico Department of Health as the Health Promotion Specialist for Hidalgo and Luna Counties.

Sandoval studied Environmental Health Science at the University of Arizona, after receiving a Master's Degree in Public Health from New Mexico State University. He is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Previously, Sandoval volunteered as chair of the YSAPC subcommittee which reviews area schools' policies on substance abuse. YSAPCs other subcommittees focus on media and prescription drug education. In his new role as CHI program specialist, dedicated to coordinating the Coalition, Sandoval hopes to have an impact on the health and well-being of the community that reared him.

Sandoval is positive about the YSAPC's future, "The momentum is still there, and we plan to run with it by creating new strategies to address emerging issues."

Funded by a grant from the New Mexico Human Services Division Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP), the YSAPC focuses on prevention of underage drinking and youth prescription drug abuse through policy change in Grant County. The grant was recently transferred to Southwest Center of Health Innovation (CHI) from the Town of Silver City.

"CHI is no stranger to substance abuse prevention and we recognize the importance of continuing these efforts in Grant County," said Susan Wilger, CHI Associate Director.

"Our staff has been involved in the consortium coordinating a regional response to substance abuse and behavioral health needs, the Continuum of Care Coalition, since its inception in 2003. Currently, we oversee Doña Ana County's OSAP program, the Unified Prevention Coalition, and formally oversaw Catron County's OSAP program until funding was cut in 2016."

Wilger added, "We are thrilled to have A.J. join the CHI team, because he brings a wealth of experience in public health and substance abuse prevention. He is so well known in the Grant County community."

CHI hopes to continue the success of YSAPC programs like working with the schools, WNMU and law enforcement to deter substance use among students and young adults.

Previously, the YSAPC partnered with the Town of Silver City and Bayard Police Department to install MedReturn kiosks in both municipalities. The green kiosks offer free disposal for unused over-the-counter and prescription medications. Over 500 pounds of medications have been safely disposed of by Grant County residents since the program began two years ago.

Sandoval said the kiosks are an example of public health policy in action, "Getting the drugs out of people's homes when they aren't needed makes for safer community for everyone."

The Coalition invites the public to attend their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, December 19, 2018, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Hidalgo Medical Services Silver City Community Health Center's Community Meeting Rooms, located at 1007 N. Pope St. At the meeting, the public can learn more about YSAPC efforts while enjoying a complimentary lunch.

The YSAPC is composed of 25 service providers and invested community members dedicated to creating an environment that cultivates healthy productive lifestyles through policy and advocacy change that promotes resilient and empowered youth.

For more information on YSAPC contact (575) 534-0101 or email: asandoval@swchi.org.

About the Southwest Center for Health Innovation (GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION)
The Southwest Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is a nonprofit focused on bettering community health in underserved and underrepresented populations. CHI empowers groups and individuals at a local, state and national level to determine the future wellbeing of their communities through the development and implementation of innovative policies, strategies and evidence-based models. Founded in 2015, CHI is headquartered in Silver City, with additional offices located throughout New Mexico. For more information, visit www.swchi.org.

gnader rsSilver City—Jaime Embick, Silver City Community Development Director (left), trail advocate Bob Schiowitz (center), and new trails maintenance worker, Dustin Gnader, took a walk along a few of Silver City's hiking trails Wednesday to discuss trail maintenance needs. Gnader is a Silver City native and a 2000 graduate of Silver City High School. Here they are pictured at one of the newest trail heads, currently known as the Visitor's Center Riparian Trail, located on the west side of the Visitor's Center.

"I'm really excited to be part of this community and to help in any way that I can," Gnader said. "I love to be outside, so this is the perfect job for me. I'm looking forward to working with local trail advocates and volunteers to improve and maintain our local trail system."

Schiowitz, a long-time Silver City resident and trail advocate, said Gnader's hiring is the starting point for improving maintenance of local trails and trail heads, a job which until now has fallen largely to local volunteers. "It's great that the Town of Silver City has dedicated this position to our local trails and open space," he said. "It will make a tremendous difference in our ability to keep trails open and available for local residents to enjoy. But one person can't do the job alone. We still depend on local volunteers to help."

Embick emphasized that Gnader's sole responsibility is trail maintenance. All other trails related issues, questions and volunteer information should be directed to her at jembick@silvercitymail.com or (575) 534-6349.

single socks donation rsSean Ormand President of 1st New Mexico Bank and Kathleen Wigley from Single Socks.On December 13, 2017 First New Mexico Bank donated $1,000 on behalf of our customers to Single Socks, a Community Run Thrift Store to fight hunger in Grant. Some of the organizations that have applied for and received funds from Single Socks are Aldo Leopold High School, 1st Presbyterian Church, Grant County Food Pantry, Rio Mimbres Baptist Church, Silver City Gospel Mission, Volunteer Center of Grant County, Guadalupe Montessori School Community Garden, Silver City Farmer's Market, Bayard and Silver City Farmers Market, Bayard and Silver City Community Gardens and El Refugio Women's Shelter. Our goal is to help build long-term solutions for a hunger-free Grant County. Single Socks is located at 111 W. College, Silver City, 575-388-2488.

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