Staff with the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department has spent their summer between several Doña Ana County Community Resource Centers giving kids fun activities to participate in, field trips to explore nearby natural wonders, and a healthy lunch.
Centers in the Doña Ana County communities of Rincon, Doña Ana, Radium Springs, Organ, Chaparral and Del Cerro have offered the Summer Lunch Program since June, with the added Youth Initiative in Radium Springs, Chaparral and Del Cerro centers. The program has been a great opportunity to give kids something to do during the summer, said Christina Mendivil, who heads the Youth Initiative at the Radium Springs Community Resource Center.
“The kids have really enjoyed the field trips,” said Mendivil. “We went to White Sands National Monument, and we have a trip planned to Carlsbad Caverns, too.”
About a dozen kids participate in the Youth Initiative in Radium Springs. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., kids can enjoy foosball, pool, air hockey, outside sports, educational activities and a free lunch Monday through Thursday.
“If I wasn’t here, I would just be bored at home,” said Andres Linarez, an 11-year-old Youth Initiative participant who will be in sixth grade next year. “I like seeing my friends, and playing sports with them.”
The Youth Initiative is free for middle school-aged youth and open to the public. The program ends the day before school starts. Last year, more than 6,100 free lunches were distributed through the Doña Ana County Summer Lunch Program in coordination with Hatch Valley School District, Families and Youth Incorporated, and the Gadsden Independent School District.
For more information, contact Eric Bransford with the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department, (575) 525-5852.