October 16, 2015 – Las Cruces, NM - On this edition of PUENTES, bridges to the community, host Emily Guerra meets with Jardin de los Niños Executive Director Audrey Hartley and Jardin Board President Tony Montenegro. In Spanish, Jardin de los Niños, means the children’s garden. It is a non-profit organization serving homeless and near homeless children in Las Cruces for over 20 years. They recently received the “New Mexico Educational Non-Profit of the year by the Albuquerque Business First publication. Hartley said she is excited about receiving the award. “It’s an honor just to have been nominated. We were the only Southern New Mexico agency nominated. Every one of the other agencies were from Northern New Mexico, and big organizations like the Ronald McDonald house and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and things like that.”
They received the award just one day before launching a six-month campaign to raise $300,000 to support the organization’s operating fund. The campaign is called, “What Did I Do Wrong?” it asks the question from a child’s point of view. Hartley said “the answer to the question what did I do wrong is of course nothing. No child ever wants to be homeless. But we have over 600 children right now who are homeless in Doña Ana County.” She asked her campaign marketing consultant, Rick Nezzer, “What is the best way they could get their message across? And he said tell them the truth. Tell them how frightened and scared these children are when they come to you. Tell them that they don’t have food in their stomachs. Tell them that don’t have clothes on their backs, and then invite them to the website and show them how happy the kids are.”
Hartley says that when you visit Jardin’s Facebook GoFundMe site, “What Did I Do Wrong?,” “You see the happiness of the children; but also the stories of the tragedies that these children experience, and why we are working to put a smile on their face.” Donations to Jardin can be made in person at 999 West Amador in Las Cruces; or visit their visit website www.jardinlc.org.