We provide free preventive home visiting services to families from the prenatal period until the child turns three- with an ultimate goal of up to age five. Avenues Early Childhood Services was founded by Regina I. Huffman (a mental health counselor) and Priya Sudarsanam (a speech and language pathologist) with a shared passion for helping children. We are a non-profit organization and are currently funded by the state of New Mexico. Our services span McKinley County, New Mexico which is one of the most impoverished counties in the entire USA. Our organization is a philanthropic and humanitarian in nature as we seek to end the cycles of poverty and generational trauma that have existed in our area for years. Our vision is that with our program and services, we will be able to give each child in this county a better future and opportunity to thrive. We are comprised of a team of six highly qualified professionals who provide these services. We address parent-child interaction, home safety, and health to name a few areas. Our ultimate goal when a family enters our program is for them to gain the necessary skills toward self-sustainability once they leave our program.
Our vision includes being the premier early childhood center for McKinley County where all families can come for services such as mental health counseling, other therapy services (speech, physical therapy etc), nutritional/holistic counseling, health and fitness. We also want to offer developmental playgroups and after-school services to families as many travel far distances from their home on the reservation to their local school. We are hoping to fill the gap that exists in education with the children in this area due to poverty.
One of the main things that plagues this area is access to clean water due to years of uranium mining. Many of our families have to travel more than 60 miles one way just to get potable water or they rely on bottled water from the grocery store. Due to the difficulty which families face in acquiring clean water, many give their children sugary drinks from an early age (even before 1 year) as this is easier to access. We are hoping to purchase high quality water filters for all our families as well as for our partner organizations. At this time we are pursuing Berkey Water Filter Systems which are used by the Red Cross in disaster relief. Each system roughly costs about $500-$700 a system depending on the number of filters and size of the system.
Our organization is also the affiliate for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library for McKinley County. We have a slow grow strategic plan which at the end of 5 years, we will be able to enroll at least 50% of the children in McKinley County ages birth-five years. It costs $25 child for a year for the child to receive a book a month.
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