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New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

New Mexico Kids! family magazine is a bimonthly tabloid filled with detailed listings of activities for children, teens and their parents, grandparents and teachers, along with comprehensive directories of public and private schools, summer camps, afterschool programs and other vital resources.

About 30,000 copies of New Mexico Kids! are distributed to more than 350 locations in Albuquerque, the East Mountains, Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Eldorado and Española.

Each issue features a full-color reproduction of a New Mexico child's painting on the cover, and contains articles filled with practical tips and ideas for raising New Mexico children. In New Mexico Kids! family magazine, you won't find the generic parenting articles you can find elsewhere. We offer local help to local families.

New Mexico Kids! is a must-read for anyone who has or works with children or teens, birth through college.

New Mexico's Leading Family Publication Since 1992

Volunteer Kids -- Ideas For Helping Others This Summer!

For many young people, the long, warm days of summer signal a welcome break from classrooms and schoolwork, but for parents it can be a stressful time marked by a daily struggle to find ways to keep their kids’ minds and bodies active. Not all parents can afford expensive summer camps, private tutors and personal coaches, but there are plenty of volunteer opportunities out there to keep kids engaged in civic, educational and physical endeavors. 
In addition to keeping kids busy and enriching communities, volunteering has additional benefits for a young person. It can aid in resume building, help improve mood, grow personal networks and expand skill sets. Finding volunteering prospects that are an appropriate match for an individual child can seem daunting at first, so it helps to break down the options. The first stage in the process should be a frank assessment of the child’s interests, skills, maturity level and availability. It is important to keep in mind that most non-profit organizations and local businesses welcome volunteers even if they don’t actively advertise openings. Age restrictions and logistics also matter, so consider how your child will get to and from his or her volunteer gig and whether a parent or guardian must be present. Here are a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing on your journey to turn your child into a young altruist. The following organizations welcome volunteers under the age of 18 in the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas throughout the summer months.

For the Animal Lover
Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding, Inc. in Corrales helps children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities learn to ride a horse. The program also serves veterans, physically and mentally challenged people, as well as foster children. Interacting with horses helps riders alleviate symptoms of PTSD, increases mobility, boosts confidence and improves overall health. Volunteers as young as 14 years old can help as barn assistants, making sure the stalls stay maintained and clean. Young adults older than 16 can become sidewalkers -- assistants who walk beside the horse and rider to ensure that riders follow proper equestrian techniques and observe safety precautions. Volunteers should be able to walk at least 30 minutes, commit to weekly attendance, and be comfortable around horses. Parental supervision is required for younger volunteers. To learn more, visit lovingthunder.com or call 505-554-9493.
Sunflower Dog Sanctuary is located in Tijeras. The sprawling farm provides hospice services for elderly dogs. The facility also helps train youth about proper pet care through field trips and workshops in schools throughout the state. Volunteers can be as young as 14 years old and they can expect to help with cleaning and simple maintenance, as well as bathing the dogs and playing with them. To sign up, call Cynthia Dares at 505-286-6302.  
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter houses dogs, cats and other types of critters, including rabbits, guinea pigs and lizards. Volunteers between the ages of 12 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult or legal guardian. Some job duties at the no-kill shelter can include pet grooming, dog walking, facility cleanup or teaching humane principles to younger children. To sign up, fill out an application at sfhumanesociety.org or call 505-983-4309, ext. 1128.
Nature Abounds is looking for “Watch the Wild” volunteers. Parents and kids of any age can monitor wildlife at a location of their choice, such as a park or backyard, and report wildlife activity on natureabounds.org to help scientists monitor changes in ecosystems.

For the Activist
Strong Families New Mexico, a program of Forward Together, brings together organizations and activists statewide to build strong communities and create policies that work for families. Youth as young as 14 years old can volunteer in various regions of New Mexico, including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Española, Anthony and Gallup. Typical tasks include event planning, canvassing, phone banking, research, data entry and project management. To sign-up or receive more information, contact Kelly Francisco at kelly@forwardtogether.org
Habitat for Humanity builds homes for low-income families. They also operate ReStore outlets throughout the country. These shops sell recycled and repurposed materials to help people buy the resources needed to build or repair homes. Teens from 14 to 16 years old can volunteer at the store with a parent present. Tasks include sorting, cleaning and customer service. Sixteen- to 18-year-olds can volunteer on construction sites with a parent present. Tasks on construction sites include painting, nailing, and landscaping. Each Habitat for Humanity affiliate’s rules and requirements for volunteering can differ. There are branches in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Española, Taos and Las Cruces. To find your local branch, visit habitat.org.

For the Artist
The Outpost is a performance space in Albuquerque showcasing local and international musicians. They are seeking volunteers over the age of 16 to help with set-up, teardown, ticket scanning, and CD sales during concerts. Volunteers can watch the show for free. For more information, call 505-268-0044. Generally, all local playhouse theaters welcome young volunteers to assist with community theater productions. In Albuquerque, a good place to start is the Albuquerque Theatre Guild website (abqtheatre.com), which lists all member organizations and their upcoming shows. In Santa Fe, theatresantafe.org is an excellent source for information on upcoming shows. 
The Santa Fe Children’s Museum accepts volunteers as young as 15 years old to help on the exhibit floor and facilitate playful experiences. For more information, call 505-989-8359, ext.132 or visit SantaFeChildrensMuseum.org.
Explora describes itself as “part science center, part children’s museum, part free-choice school, part grandma’s attic, part grandpa’s garage, part laboratory, part neighborhood full of interesting people and part of many people’s lives.” It accepts volunteers as young as 14 years old to help encourage exhibit exploration, assist in exhibit preparation, guide visitors and help with special events. To register as a volunteer, visit explora.us or call 505-224-8362. 

For the Outdoors Enthusiast
The Albuquerque Open Space Division has opportunities for volunteers of all ages to work on trail maintenance, path signage, and graffiti removal on Open Space lands near and around Albuquerque. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, call 505-452-5200.
The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has similar volunteer programs, except that volunteers can work throughout New Mexico. Parents must accompany children during trail maintenance sessions. For more information call 505-843-8696 for the Albuquerque office or 505-216-9719 for the Santa Fe office.

For the Gardener
NewLife Homes, Inc. provides environmentally friendly housing to low income people suffering from mental illness. They are seeking volunteers over the age of 14 to assist with the community garden or teach a special skill (e.g. music). Volunteers also can work to facilitate activities during social hour. If under the age of 16, a parent must be present. Call 505-266-7000 for more information.
Farmers’ markets operate across the state and many, such as the Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market, frequently use youngsters to assist with operations. Volunteers are encouraged to bring ideas on activities that could help improve the market-goer experience. Past volunteer activities have included yoga training, teaching cooking classes, and leading hoola-hooping sessions. To find a growers’ market near you, visit the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association website at farmersmarketsnm.org. 
 
For the Social Butterfly
TEDxABQ is currently planning the third annual TEDxYouth@ABQ event, organized by and for New Mexico’s youth, which will be held on July 28. Volunteers of all ages, especially those older than 10, are welcome to join a team. Youth Event volunteers may help with planning, speaker selection, marketing and public relations. There are also plenty of other events throughout the year that young volunteers are welcome to join. To sign-up, visit tedxabq.com/volunteer or send an email to: info@tedxabq.com.
Spread Love ABQ is an organization that provides fun, science-based activities for children in Albuquerque’s parks during the summer. Volunteers as young as 13 years old can help with set-up and break down. For more information, contact Van Overton Jr. at 505-750-0390.
 Elan Santa Monica senior living community in Albuquerque seeks volunteers over the age of 15 years old to assist with Wednesday Bingo Nights. Volunteers do not have to be familiar with the rules, but they must be willing to brighten up someone’s day. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have a parent present. For more information, call 505-445-9200. 
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe/Del Norte are open to having volunteers over the age of 14 years old use their skills to improve or lead programming at the facilities. Examples include teaching computer skills, leading play activities or performing administrative tasks. Parents must be present for some activities. For more information in Albuquerque, call 505-881-0777 for the Seligman Branch or 505-892-3191 for the Schumann Branch. In Santa Fe, call 505-474-0385.
 

5 Tips when traveling with Kids ages 1-12

As the weather gets warmer, and the end of the school year is near, this means starting to plan some travel time. Traveling in a plane or on long car trips can seem intimidating, especially when you have small children. Here are 5 tips that may help put your mind at ease:

 

  1. Kids of all ages need to feel comfort in knowing what will happen next. If you have been planning a trip, talk to your kids about it. Get them excited about where you’re going by showing them pictures or videos of where your adventure will take you. Kids need to feel in control just as much as parents do. Letting them be a part of the conversation helps them feel like they are a part of the planning process. If you’re going on a plane, explain what will happen when you get to the airport, when you get on the plane and while you’re flying. Remind them of the pictures you looked at together and the fun you’re going to have.

 

  1. Kids love surprises and sometimes giving them something to look forward to will help them follow directions -- knowing they will be rewarded in the long run. When you’re out buying things for your trip, stop at a dollar store for a few items for the car, train or plane. If you have toddlers, keep a most of the items in your bag and bring out only a few things at a time so they will continue to wonder what surprises you have in there. Introduce something new when they start to get fussy. With older kids, you can pack their very own backpacks for the trip, but don’t let them see what’s inside until you are traveling.

 

  1. We can’t exclude the media devices. Many planes now have free TV on board, which is nice. You don’t have to pay for Wi-Fi unless you want to use the Internet and you can rent movies now with out paying for Wi-Fi as well.  If you want to make sure you are set, rent or buy movies on Amazon or iTunes and download them onto your devices before you go. Then you don’t need Wi-Fi. You can do the same with games. If you download them before you start your journey, you kids will be set. But don’t forget a charger!

 

  1. Here’s a list of cool things to buy for your kids!

 

  • A new coloring book with fresh crayons
  • A new exciting sippy cup or water bottle
  • A small soft stuffed animal
  • A new book you’ve never read
  • A small new toy that’s unopened
  • Candy or snacks you don’t give them very often.  A ring pop will keep older kids occupied for hours.
  • New markers and a fresh new pad of paper

 

5.   For traveling with small children who still breast feed or take bottles or pacifiers: Try to wait to feed your baby until you get on the plane. It will comfort them after the hustle and bustle of waiting to board. Try to introduce a new snack (yogurt bites or teething crackers) if they get fussy. With toddlers, bringing out that new sippy cup with their favorite character on it will help about now. Also, letting them choose a new juice, just for the plane ride, will make them feel in control and may settle them down. Then you can put the drink in the new cup and they can help too. Toddlers love control. Working with them is always helpful. Take out a new toy, book or snack each time they get upset. Waiting, and not letting them see what else is in your bag also helps with anticipation. It really works!

 

Remember, nothing will ever go exactly the way you think it will. But if you’re prepared for the worst, things should go your way. Having extra hand wipes and diapers is a MUST. Trial and error is part of life so remember to enjoy yourself and have a great trip! Happy Traveling!