Proudly serving New Mexico since 1965

CAASNM empowers and uplifts New Mexicans through programs that build individual and family strength and resilience.

Our Mission & Vision

Our board-approved mission is to partner with New Mexicans to overcome adversity by connecting communities, encouraging family wellness, empowering families, and bridging resources—CAASNM’s four pillars of service in the community.  The overall vision of CAASNM is to see New Mexicans live in thriving, equitable communities.

Our Values

CAASNM has long maintained a system of values that speak to its cultural, economic, and wellness, sensitive to the needs of families and children in its five-county service region. These values were restated by both CAASNM staff and board during the 2018 strategic planning process.

CAASNM is an adaptive organization that believes:

  • People want to thrive

  • People can guide their own lives and overcome poverty and adversity

  • People we serve will be treated with compassion and respect

  • Everyone should have equitable access to healthy food; safe, sanitary and affordable housing; educational opportunities; gainful employment; and quality healthcare

  • In being morally and ethically accountable

  • Collaboration and teamwork will strengthen those we serve

  • Families thrive when connected to their communities in meaningful ways

  • Innovation is necessary to foster our vision and mission

Annie is a participant in CAASNM’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) from Truth or Consequences.  She is a grandmother helping raise grandchildren and she also cares for her sick mother. Annie is very thankful for this program because it allows her to care for her mom and grandchildren. She has three grandchildren who live with her and she takes care of four grandchildren that don’t. The program reimburses her for nutritious food for all seven children in addition to her disabled mom.

Annie is a very special lady and has gone through a lot. She has been doing childcare for a long time. She cared for her sick father and then her husband before they passed away and now she is caring for her mom. She took a part time job at night with Walmart in-order to buy Christmas presents for of all her grandchildren, her brother and 18 year old grandson who stays to look after the children and Annie’s mom while she is working. She is a true success because she perseveres with all of her hardships, but with a little help from CAASNM.

Annie’s Story, Nutritious food for the family

Within the classroom with Kids Can Youth Entrepreneur Program, I have seen tremendous results in my school population. My classroom consists of students with disabilities, mainly Autism, as our school is an Autism Satellite School. Students with disabilities are often overlooked and Kids Can is constructed in such a way that all students can gain life skills for their future. Our school is also considered a Title I school, with more than 70% of our population economically disadvantaged. These skills are the steppingstones to giving students the background of budgeting and business needed to overcome poverty. I give high regard to Kids Can and the amazing things it is doing for this community.

Kaitlin's story

Arabella developed “Shrinky Chains” as her business building project with Kids Can Youth Entrepreneur program, starting in 6th grade. She was recently a community spotlight on local radio stations. She makes keychains and wine glass charms, from symbols of the Southwest to sports teams. She learned marketing and public speaking, as well as marketing, financial management, and logistics.

Her experiences with Kids Can have also given her confidence and independence, which she says have made her more ready to succeed in college.

Arabella's story

Rosa was living Deming, Luna County in a very abusive home with her aunt and uncle. 73; she had to leave but found herself homeless and was living in a motel. She came to the attention of Cece, a housing navigator with CAASNM’s housing stability program, at the local senior center who helped her apply for HUD and other programs. She was assisted with her HRSA application and was awarded three months of rent. She was also helped apply for a receive New Mexico stimulus and WIC benefits. Now, she is living in a new senior apartment with caring landlords and is ready to start her new life, even receiving a box of fruits and vegetables from WIC.

“The Community Action Agency has truly been a Godsend in my life. I was about to turn 73, in dire need, sick, homeless, without resources, depressed, unable to think or prioritize and terribly afraid. Once I contacted CAASNM, they never gave up on me. Because of CAASNM’s incredible humanity, dogged persistence and follow through, I now have an apartment, a home of my own, a sanctuary. I am no longer living in terror, anxiety, crying everyday with invading thoughts of suicide. Today my depression and ulcerative colitis are under control because I can keep medical appointments. My thinking is clearer now. CAASNM has restored my sense of self-worth and given me hope for a future where I might find purpose in service to others in need as I once was. How else can I ever express my thanks and gratitude for the quiet noble work CAASNM does every day?”

Rosa's story

Muhammad came from Pakistan and found the culture challenging as well as financially, caring for older parents and raising his children. CAASNM’s family financial empowerment program helped him save for college with an IDA and also learn about finances and saving so he could buy a home and pay for his board exams. He is now a 4th year medical student with one semester left. “CAASNM staff were very helpful and like family to me. They helped me get through their program very easily.”

Muhammad's Story

A single mother of 3-year-old twins became a client of Thriving Families in 2019, referred by her physician. She was triaged to several community programs, including Aprendamos Early Intervention and HeadStart. She participated in an IDA program at CAASNM to save for education and which also improved her credit score. Her family became COVID-affected and was provided emergency assistance for utilities when she fell behind. Thriving Families continued its whole family approach to assist Bernice manage her family and also achieve her educational goals; she graduated with a degree in physiology from NMSU and will continue to her Master’s Degree.

Bernice’s Story

Jessica came to the first day of Kids Can Business Builders determined to do it alone. Our instructors could see no smile or willingness to join a group. As a group we shared what our hobbies are and what we do when we get home. Jessica loves to play video games all by herself after-school. Her favorite video game has a Llama character and is very popular with her peers. She felt like products with a llama would sell well at a Kids Can pop-up market. Then another young lady talked about how much she likes pink flamingos. They grouped their ideas together and created hand-woven “Flamas” and the “Flamaverse” (flamingos and llama together).  A new friendship formed and Jessica’s perspective of group work has changed. She is happier and more willing to contribute her ideas in class discussion on business topics and we can see these two girls talking and laughing, eating after-school snack together.

Jessica's Story

I’ve really enjoyed all of Kids Can, as it has taught me so many valuable skills, from marketing to public speaking and online sales. I always enjoy talking with customers and learning how to read people to find a product they would like. The program has helped me understand people in other aspects of my life, too, and I feel confident. My business has always been a way for me to be creative and try new things

Arabella is now matriculating to Caltech as a chemical engineering student

Thank you so much for empowering our family through the Individual Development Account award. We have increased our credit score, paid off our car and bought a home with an office for our business. Thank you for taking a chance on us and we look forward to updating you on our business ventures.

Melissa's Story

Alana is a 24-year old single mother of a 4-year old also caring for a disabled mother. She lives in Deming, Luna County, but is facing eviction due to the high cost of her housing. Worse, her family feels unsafe due to continual verbal abuse and harassment.

Alana contacted the CAASNM offices where she was referred to the housing stability team. One of the CAASNM housing navigators started to explore alternate options in Deming,
which is a tight housing market. She interviewed previous landlords that she had worked with on the program, until finding one with a 2+ bedroom lower-rent apartment. She also worked to reassure the landlord about Alana and facilitated their meeting.

Finally, Alana was able to sign a lease and move in, with help finding furnishings.

Alana's story

Service Areas

Bridging Resources

Connecting families to community resources and benefits that can increase financial and family stability.

Bridging Resources Programs

  • Thriving Families
  • Total Benefits Services

Community Connections

Collaboration between CAASNM and other independent organizations and programs in the community.

Community Connections Programs

  • Children’s Reading Alliance
  • Coats for Kids

Family Empowerment

Opportunities for families to become more self-reliant by providing programs and services that allow them to improve their economic quality of life.

Family Empowerment Programs

  • Business Development
  • Fan, AC, Evaporative Cooler or Heater Assistance
  • Financial Literacy
  • Free Computer Literacy Training
  • Individual Development Account (IDA) Program

Family Wellness

Helping to improve overall family wellness and children's nutrition, exercise, safety and development.

Family Wellness Programs

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • Thriving Kids Home Visiting
  • Healthy Kids Healthy Preschool

Our History

Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico (CAASNM) was established as an outcome of the community action movement under the War on Poverty, through the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA). CAASNM is one of approximately 1,000 community action agencies in the United States receiving core support by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program. (Most every county in the nation receives vital support services from one of these community action agencies). The original charter of the CSBG program is “the reduction of poverty, the revitalization of communities, and the empowerment of low income families and individuals to become fully self-sufficient.”

CAASNM advocates for low-income individuals and families in the effort to reduce the incidence of poverty and assist them towards sustained health and self-sufficiency. As a result, communities are revitalized, families are strengthened, and the health of communities is improved. Over its 59-year history, CAASNM has served hundreds of thousands of southern New Mexicans and has contributed the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars to the local economy. In 2023, CAASNM supported 12,000 families across all New Mexico counties.