Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Mobile children’s museum gets boost from federal funds

LAS CRUCES – Ngage New Mexico and the SUCCESS Partnership’s Early Childhood Education Coalition are excited to announce that $148,000 in federal funding has been awarded for Vamos Niños! – Play to Learn, Doña Ana County’s first mobile children’s museum. Championed by Senator Heinrich, this Congressionally Directed Funding will be used primarily for exhibit design and manufacturing, putting Vamos Niños on the fast track to completion. Vamos Niños will travel across Doña Ana County, bringing play-based learning and community resources to children and families where they are, emphasizing communities where transportation and access to early learning opportunities are limited.

“This federal funding is a significant investment in the Vamos Niños traveling children’s museum project. We’d like to thank Senator Heinrich for his support of Vamos Niños, and we look forward to getting the museum on the road across all of Doña Ana County,” said Lori Martinez, executive director of Ngage NM.

The initial planning and design of Vamos Niños is completed. Once all funding is secured, it will move on to building out and installing the exhibits.

“While there is still a need for additional financial support to complete the project, this significant funding will move us even closer to our mobile museum getting into the community,” said Kimmi Cravens, museum development coordinator with Ngage NM,

The importance of early learning is finally getting the recognition it deserves being identified as a high priority area for funding, emphasizing brain development and high-quality education. The fastest rate of brain development in a human happens from birth to age three. Out of the 8,022 children 0-2 years old living in Doña Ana County, only 1,154 (14%) are funded for free or subsidized, evidence-based early childhood education, according to NMSU’s Center For Community Analysis.

These numbers point to the reality that access to equitable education opportunities continues to be a problem in our community. The SUCCESS Partnership is committed to transforming education outcomes in Doña Ana County so that all children have a foundation for thriving in school and life. Investing in education from pregnancy and early childhood until the child enters the workforce is key to empowering and uplifting the person and our community.

Vamos Niños would not be possible without the support of this community. If you would like to be involved in the Museum Committee or make a gift, please visit http://vamosninos.org/ or contact Kimmi Cravens, at [email protected]

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