What would it take for 100 percent of Socorro County residents to have access to the vital services needed to survive and thrive?

Services like food security, housing, medical and dental care, behavioral health care and transportation to get to these services? What would it take to ensure that all families had access to early childhood education, parent supports and youth mentoring?

What would it look like if all schools were community schools with personnel who could connect students and their families to the services they needed? And for job training programs to be available and accessible to everyone who needed them?

What would Socorro County look like if this were our reality? Pause for a minute and imagine that. Beautiful, isn’t it?

100% Socorro is a county-wide initiative with this very goal. It is part of the 100% New Mexico initiative orchestrated by the Anna, Age Eight Institute, and driven locally by community members who will work toward this vision until we get there, and who will make sure we stay there. These include the entire membership of the SCOPE health council, educational partners including New Mexico Tech and the Socorro Consolidated School District, government partners, non-profits and local businesses working together toward this common goal.

So, what does this process look like?

It starts with knowing where we are right now.

How far away are we from 100% Socorro being our reality? For the answer to that question, we ask the people who live here.

What is your experience? Have you ever needed medical care? Mental health care? Have you had difficulties getting these services? What were the difficulties? Did you know where to find them, or were they too expensive? Could you find a provider, but not transportation to get there?

Understanding the barriers to these services is the first step toward finding solutions to remove them. The second step is working together to find solutions.

In 2019 — before the pandemic — Socorro conducted one of the first 100% New Mexico surveys in the state. Over 500 residents from across the county responded.

At the time, 88 percent reported needing medical care. Of those, 30 percent reported difficulty accessing it, with the primary difficulties including too long of a wait list, too high cost, and not meeting qualifications to see a provider.

The same barriers were reported for the 38 percent of people who reported difficulty accessing mental health care (out of 35 percent who reported needing it).

It is now 2022, post-pandemic, and the needs for these services have undoubtedly changed. To identify our present needs, Socorro will be re-administering the 100% New Mexico county-wide survey from mid-October through mid-December.

We are hoping for at least twice the number of respondents, including members from all towns across the county, and New Mexico Tech students.

Understanding common and unique challenges across all populations will provide opportunities to share resources and strategies that will amplify the impact of the actions aimed to reduce barriers to these vital services.

We encourage all Socorro County residents (over 18) to participate in the survey. In return, we commit to working together to reduce the barriers to the vital services needed for 100 percent of Socorro County residents to survive and thrive.

What the work of 100% Socorro means, in the real world, is that a child like the 8-year-old called Anna, from the book “Anna, Age Eight,” won’t have to endure hunger, housing instability and lack of medical care.

More information and data will be presented during the 100% Socorro Summit on Nov. 18. The survey and information about the summit can be found at100nm.org/Socorro/survey and 100nm.org/Socorro/summit.

You may download a free copy of “Anna, Age Eight”: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment, one of the books guiding the 100% Socorro initiative, here: 100nm.org/anna-book/.