Relationships are the cornerstone to all systems. They are at the heart of our existence as human beings. How we show up will greatly affect our ability to connect with ourselves and those around us. We rely on these important connections to navigate our ecosystems that may include our friends, coworkers, organizations, and community, to name a few. Relationships take time and commitment so that they remain authentic and sustainable. Relationships can also be messy.

During the past 12 years, Aprendamos Intervention Team (Aprendamos) continues to evolve and connect with one family, child and organization at a time.  It has been through these intentional and meaningful connections that we continue to add to the fabric of our community. A community passionate about children and families. Like a quilt, every piece of fabric is what adds to the diversity, uniqueness and beauty of the overall piece. But, there is a common thread that connects us all. At the center are meaningful relationships.

The Doña Ana County SUCCESS Partnership has been one of those important partnerships that has helped our team at Aprendamos continue to grow and meet the needs of the children and families we serve. We have met individuals and organizations from other sectors who also want to plant seeds of growth for our future generations. Seeds that we hope will continue to provide a strong and stable early care and education foundation for the children of southern New Mexico. I see ourselves like farmers of the Mesilla Valley.  Farmers working the land, planting seeds with the hope of producing an abundant and fruitful crop. A crop that will have a long-term impact on so many systems.

Like planting a crop or sewing a quilt, the SUCCESS Partnership has provided a framework for putting all the pieces together. The Doña Ana County Early Childhood plan has been a piece of that framework.  It is has allowed us to reflect on the gaps and opportunities for our community. Through rich and courageous dialogues, we are learning to put our funding sources aside, and work together for the benefit of our community. At times creating an environment of vulnerability, vulnerabilities that put relationships and families at the center of our conversations and decisions. We continue to work on establishing a common language around early care and education for our community. By providing clarity, we will align many systems.  This includes aligning our own individual core values or an organization’s vision and mission to the Doña Ana County Early Childhood plan. Together we can become a strong voice for children.

Today, the Doña Ana County Early Childhood Education coordinator, Cecia Otero, along with other community partners are working on piloting a new employee on-boarding training for staff in the early care and education sector. The goal is to reinforce a common language for this sector while building meaningful and intentional relationships. Early care and education staff joining this community would begin building relationships while obtaining resources that exist outside of their perspective agencies. The vision is to link families intentionally to other agencies who can meet the needs of the family and/or child. It is an opportunity to leverage the strengths and resources of the different organizations to improve the outcomes of families and children in southern New Mexico. It will take one person, one organization at a time along with the support of the SUCCESS Partnership to achieve this vision.

As human beings, we are a work in progress, taking one opportunity at a time to reflect on how we show-up while embracing the messiness of relationships and partnerships. The goal is to enjoy the process and become intentional as we work to plant seeds of success for our future generation. A generation that will become our next set of teachers, administrators, physicians, lawyers and community leaders. At Aprendamos we value building relationships. The relationships we’ve built with other community members with the help of the SUCCESS Partnership have been invaluable to us. Therefore, let us continue to cultivate those partnerships by finding that common thread that connects us as a community.

Abel Covarrubias is the chief executive officer of Aprendamos Intervention Team, a therapist-run organization which serves the needs of children and families throughout Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico. Programs include Aprendamos Intervention Team, Esperanza Children’s Therapy, Alegria Family Counseling, Mariposa Autism Service Center, Cariño Home Visiting Program, Conscious Fathering Program of Southern New Mexico, and Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Program. To learn more about the services Aprendamos programs provide visit