Summit works to improve Portales’ youth life

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Portales community members specializing in the quality of living for local youth met on Wednesday to work on one common goal — to develop a plan to improve the youth’s literacy.

The meeting took place in the Zia room of the Campus Union Building on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University.

“There is some networking here, but there’s not any connections between groups,” said Annemarie McCracken, of the School and Main Institute.

McCracken, facilitator for the two-day event which ends today, said other established goals were creating more activities and further training for the youth. She said she has worked with community members in Cheyenne, Wyo. and in Fort Stockton, Texas. According to McCracken, Fort Stockton community members came away with their idea on creating a mentoring program for their youth.

“This is a very involved community,” McCracken said of Portales. “They are aggressive in wanting to help the youth. You can accomplish a lot if you can get the community to work together on one common goal.”

Sue Bracksieck, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) director, said there were approximately 20 people who participated in the event. Roosevelt County Commissioner Dennis Lopez along with members from GEAR-UP, Youth Opportunities Center, Job Corps and Title V Coop were present at the meeting.

Members discussed their organization’s purpose, goals, activities and expected outcomes.

“We are looking at developing a more articulate program, especially with junior high, high school and college instructors,” said Vicky Medley of Title V Coop, which along with GEAR-UP are connected with ENMU. “That way by the time they get to us, they’re at the (literacy) level we expect them. Public schools may not realize what we expect from the students.”

Medley said Title V Coop works with ENMU and Clovis Community College students with duties such as English tutoring and grant writing.

McCracken said today from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. the participants will work on creating a strategic plan to be able to accomplish the goal of helping increase the literacy rate in Portales.