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Inspiration from Gadsden Independent School District

Every so often we want to share a good story coming from one of our school or agency partners. This month’s comes from Gadsden Independent School District (GISD), the sponsoring school for Las Cruces Project SEARCH. In the spring of 2017, GISD wasn’t sure how its Project SEARCH interns would commute from their rural homes in Santa Teresa and Chaparral to the Project SEARCH worksite in Las Cruces. South Central Regional Transit (SCRT) had routes nearby, but not near enough to service these interns.

In response, teachers from GISD met with their County Commissioner and proposed the addition of another route. With the County Commissioner’s backing, SCRT agreed to try. The interns rode the bus to Las Cruces not only for work, but for recreation. They brought more paying riders with them: their families, their classmates. And GISD was able to use the added route for increased transportation training with their transition students.

The experience was an eye-opener on how much reliable public transportation is key to students’ vocational growth and independence. Most public transportation, however, relies on tax dollars to keep it going. With both facts in mind, GISD teacher Ivonne Perez wrote a letter to the editor this week, picked up by three New Mexico papers: the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Las Cruces Sun-Times, and the Albuquerque Journal

“My students are extremely capable and possess the ability to learn new skills, hold jobs and ultimately become independent, tax-paying members of the community. However, they cannot do so without the availability of public transit,” Ivonne writes.

We’re inspired by Ivonne’s advocacy and the small but significant win it gained for GISD students and their communities. It’s a glimpse into the system change that’s within our local reach.

Do you have a small but significant win from your school, agency, or community that you’d like to share? We’d like to feature it in an upcoming PFE/School-to-Work newsletter. Write us at CDD-PFEinfo@salud.unm.edu.

FDIC Money Smart Curricula: Increasing Financial Literacy

We'd like to share some valuable resources from the FDIC Money Smart train the trainer session we hosted here at the UNM Center for Development and Disability in July.

Money Smart is a comprehensive financial education curriculum designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals outside the financial mainstream, including individuals with disabilities, enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships.

Different Money Smart curricula have been developed for specific age groups, including a series for young people (grades K-12) and another one for adults.  Each module comes with a ready-made PowerPoint, exercises, and presenter guide and covers topics like budgeting, setting up a bank account, and understanding credit.

Anyone interested in learning more can access all Money Smart materials on this website, and can download them for free.