The Programs of HGNMF are changing the lives of youths.

The programs of HGNMF are changing the lives of youths, ages 18 to 21, who have aged out of foster care.
View these videos to see details regarding programs offered to these youths.

Heart Gallery Presentation from Heart Gallery NM Foundation on Vimeo.

2013 Holiday Party from Heart Gallery NM Foundation on Vimeo.

Independent Living Youth

Do you know what happens to youth who, at 18, age out of the foster care system without a family? Almost 50% experience homelessness and/or unemployment. Approx. 42% have no positive support in their lives. They are 2½ times more likely to become pregnant. Due to their many moves, 23% do not have their high school diploma or GED.

Life Skills

HGNMF provides life skills classes to youth ages 16 to 21 to help transition into successful adults.
Many foster children are not given examples of living a healthy productive lifestyle. Without seeing a parent cook a good meal or go to work and come home with a paycheck, they often have no skills to bring with them to adulthood. Life skills provided by HGNMF are healthy cooking, nutrition and exercise classes as well as financial literacy and job skills.

Personal Grants

Youth can also apply for personal grants for necessities such as computers, musical instruments, first month’s rent (many are homeless while waiting on funding), bicycles, even a prom dress.

HOPE Chest

HGNMF has partnered with the community and A1 Storage on Coors to provide a HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) Chest. Those youth lucky enough to move into an apartment have little to nothing in them. A1 Storage donates storage space and people donate furniture, household items and toiletries. The HOPE Chest provides a “hand-up” in setting up these homes.

LUVYANM (Leaders Uniting Voices Youth Advocates New Mexico)

LUVYANM is a youth group, guided by CYFD and supported by HGNMF, of foster youth ages 16 to 21 that have or most likely will, age out of the foster care system without a family. Their mission is to be advocates for foster children. They come from all of New Mexico and meet on a monthly basis. For most youth, this group becomes a “family”. Each legislative session, they go to New Mexico’s Round House and speak with Legislators regarding the needs of foster children. They also host an annual 3 day independent living conference for 75 youth. The conference offers workshops that deal with specific needs of foster youth and provides life skills classes as well as emotional support. They also have some good clean fun with activities like swimming, dancing or roller skating.

LUVYANM monthly meetings - HGNMF provides a healthy lunch for the youth at their monthly meetings. HGNMF also brings in community partners, like the head of human relations at Enterprise Rental Car, to speak with the youth regarding job skills and how to interview for a job. Exercise and nutrition professionals come to give healthy living skills. Hands on cooking classes are held each month. The youth cook and eat a “family style” meal together.

Holiday Party – HGNMF hosts an annual Holiday Party for independent living youth. The youth cook and share a traditional holiday meal. They do holiday crafts and make ornaments that they use to decorate a tree at the Road Runner Food Bank in appreciation of Road Runner donating a meeting room each month for meetings. HGNMF asks the community to donate gifts of new household and personal items that are wrapped and given out at this party. It is the best holiday most of these kids have ever had.

Forever Families

The Heart Gallery focuses on hard to place special needs, sibling group and older children. Many of these children require extra care from their forever families. The Heart Gallery of New Mexico Foundation recognizes this need. Families may apply for grants to support their adopted children’s needs such as, helping with transportation costs from rural New Mexico areas into Albuquerque for medical care, education and art programs.