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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Extension Homemakers Clubs Focus on Family Projects

LAS CRUCES - Strengthening families means more than a motto for Extension Homemakers club members in Dona Ana County.

Each month, volunteers from seven county clubs roll up their sleeves and put their values to work as they sort and address hundreds of newsletters for parents of newborns. Thanks to their efforts, "Baby's First Wish" mailings reach parents each month as their infant grows, bringing information on child development and coping with the demands of parenthood.

"Baby's First Wish" was developed by Cooperative Extension Service specialists Diana DelCampo and Wendy Hamilton of New Mexico State University. The newsletter project is funded by the Children's Trust Fund of New Mexico. Now in its second year and available in both English and Spanish, the mailing list continues to grow.

Dona Ana County has one of the state's largest mailing lists with about 500 "Baby's First Wish" subscriptions. The county's Homemakers club volunteers provide a vital community link for Extension, the public education arm of New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences .

"We're proud to be part of an effort that has strong community support," said Pamela Henry-Pollat, Extension home economist for Dona Ana County. "These newsletters have been endorsed by the county Maternal-Child Health Council and Memorial Medical Center's Pediatric Department."

During the project, the Homemakers club volunteers have discovered others interested in working to strengthen families through education, leadership, fellowship and action. They hope to gain new members or add new clubs while providing a needed resource for parents.

"We're especially interested in forming new clubs for parents with young children," said Shal Lyle, president of Extension Homemakers' county council.

Currently, Homemakers clubs meet in Hatch, Chaparral, Sunland Park, Dona Ana and Las Cruces.

Some of their educational and service projects have included community clean ups, fundraising for needy children, donating to the battered women's shelter, organizing community education conferences on dealing with violence and drugs. They have lent a hand to efforts to establish libraries and community centers and assisted with the Pecan Conference's Food Fantasy contest to raise scholarship money for a homemaker returning to school.