Nearly 100 people from Socorro County and around the state gathered to participate in the first 100% Socorro Summit in November. What was the purpose of the summit, and what were the outcomes?
The purpose of the 100% Socorro County Summit was to bring people together to learn more about the 100% New Mexico initiative, and to work together to 1) understand the data that guides the initiative, 2) identify existing assets in our community, 3) think about strategies to close gaps in access to services needed to survive and thrive, and 4) to contribute to a shared community vision of what 100% Socorro actually looks like. Participant activities were embedded between presentations that highlighted the importance of this initiative in Socorro and across New Mexico, starting with impassioned support of the state initiative by New Mexico Tech President Stephen Wells and New Mexico Senator Crystal Diamond.
What is the 100% New Mexico initiative? This is a statewide effort coordinated at the county level to ensure 100 percent of county residents have access to the services needed to survive and thrive. These services include food, housing, medical care, behavioral healthcare, transportation, early childhood education, parent supports, youth mentoring, community schools and job training. This is accomplished through collaborations across all sectors of the community to coordinate resources and projects that close gaps in access to these services.
The gaps in services as well as the reasons for these gaps are identified through a county-wide survey. For example, are families experiencing difficulty receiving medical care because of a shortage in medical professionals in the community, or because they lack transportation to get to appointments?
Participants reviewed the data from the first 100% Community survey that was conducted in Socorro County in 2019. After reviewing the data, participants created a “brick-by-brick wall of protection” that identified the existing assets in Socorro County. This was beautifully exhibited with each asset written on a colored card (brick) and posted on the wall. The visual of what is already happening in our community both inspired and surprised many participants. For example, Community Schools had 35 “bricks” representing existing programs. The “brick-by-brick” wall also identified areas where the community needs more support, such as housing, but recognized significant progress in these areas.
Participants also reflected on possible projects that could help close these gaps. For example, across all sectors, many people who require services don’t know where to find them if they exist. Creating a comprehensive directory would be a significant accomplishment. The “brick-by-brick” wall of resources was a fantastic opportunity to engage summit participants in helping to identify existing resources for this directory. More ambitious ideas from our city and county leaders included finding a physical location where county residents could go to access all 10 of these services.
The final engagement activity invited participants to visualize what it would look like if 100 percent of Socorro County residents had access to all 10 vital services to thrive. Among many of these ideas, they envisioned direct connections between those who need services and the providers, preventative and educational programs, and housing for all residents. Many groups echoed the need to meet people where they are, and support for parents in our community. The resulting vision also included economic and population growth for Socorro.
The Summit served as inspiration and ignition for expanding the collaboration and action to realize the vision of 100% Socorro. An important next step is to gather data regarding our current access to these vital services. Socorro County residents are invited to participate in this survey which can be accessed at 100nm.org/Socorro/survey.