The State Known as Last- How the church can Lead the Charge to improve Child Well-Being

child.jpg

New Mexico is ranked dead last in overall child well-being, according to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation today, leaving our state once again known as the worst place to be a child. The foundation uses data to rank 50 states on 16 different indicators of child well-being. 

New Mexico was also last in education. What this means for our kids- 

80% of 8thgraders in our state are not proficient in math, 

75% of our 4thgraders are not proficient in reading. 

57% of our children do not receive early childhood education. 

 

These numbers are staggering, they should be alarming. I believe that New Mexico is at a crossroads. We are at a place where we can just surrender to being the state that is always at the bottom of the list or we can take action and do whatever we can to change the trajectory of our city’s future. 

In Jeremiah, God directs the people taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Other translations say “WORK for the welfare of the city.” Shine School Partnership cares about the welfare of our city. We work for it. We believe that the church has been uniquely gifted and resourced to care for the city. We are compelled with this data to do something about it. These are our kids, these are our schools. We have been directed to care for the poor and the oppressed and to love children. We pray for them, but we pray as we go. We must get to work!

My wise friend recently said, “Every time I pray for God to change our schools, he asks me what are you going to do about it? How are you going to love and serve the school?”

As disheartening as the news in this report is for our state, we know that there is so much that can be done to change the score. Our city is ripe with opportunity to serve the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant. Our school system needs the support, hope, and love that only the church can provide. With volunteers and resources provided to teachers and families, we have seen the impact that a local church can have on a local school. It is dramatic. 

We have an opportunity this year to work together as a community of faith to reach our school system and change the trajectory of our children. One day I believe the story in Albuquerque will be “Remember when we were last on that list? And then the local church stepped in the gap and now everything has changed.” 

As the church, we can no longer ignore these reports. We cannot become complacent in seeking the welfare of our city. We must lead the charge! Please join us as we work to create a heaven on earth kind of place in our schools and rewrite the story of Albuquerque. Shine is looking for churches to partner with local schools. Will your church get involved? Will you consider giving to our nonprofit so that we might be able to scale our capacity this year to reach 40 schools with the love and resources provided by 40 local churches. The impact will be unprecedented. 

New Mexico is at a crossroads. Will you be a part of the good news solution?