Hope backed by hard work brings results

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So we have arrived in 2018, and the recent gatherings of family and friends were marked by reflections on 2017 and hopes for the new year. Some of us made resolutions. Others made promises to each other to stay more in touch or start some new journeys or take some new risks. Alfred Tennyson wrote, "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come whispering, 'It will be happier'. "

And don't we all wish it so? Whether you are reflecting on relationships or finances or losses or fears or challenges, we want to feel some sense of hope that the differences will be positive. And we often ask each other to name our hopes for the new year as if they then might become real.

The concept of hope is often linked with the promise of life in America: the possibilities of transformation and success, in spite of where we started from. Yet the past decade has surely taught us that there are deep challenges to those dreams. Poverty has increased for many, income disparities show greater divides, and the climate change realities have been thrown against our naiveté again and again. In Taos we have had domestic violence and serious drug abuse and now no snow to feed our winter economy.

So maybe hope isn't very helpful or maybe we misunderstand what it means. Just to state a hope and wait for its arrival flies in the face of the deep challenges we face. David Orr said, "Hope is a verb with its shirtsleeves rolled up." Frances Bacon commented, "Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad dinner."

In other words, get out there and make your hopes real. Or, as Nelson Mandela said, "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."

At Nonviolence Works we hear the requests of the community, and we roll up our sleeves to create programs that can make a difference. This winter break we developed a two-week day camp to serve youth who need a therapeutic environment and families who needed support for realistic family schedules.

We are working actively with Taos County to create a residential treatment center in the Taos County Juvenile Detention Center for adolescent boys in Northern New Mexico. The county commissioners have approved the program and the budget, and we hope that the contract is soon signed with the county to initiate the program. We are working with the state Department of Social Services to make certain we understand and can comply with all federal and state regulations for this service. And, we are reviewing curriculum and looking for potential employees who are ready to implement the programs we design. We are in contact with other counties and with organizations that would refer clients. We have our sleeves rolled up!

We hope that the 6,000 veterans in Northern New Mexico receive the behavioral health services they need as the Veterans Administration transitions some of its systems, but we are recruiting therapists with experience in veteran services, and we have placed ads at the Storyteller Cinema and in cooperating organizations to describe our availability and commitments.

We know that many individuals struggle with the effects of the holiday season--dashed expectations, loneliness and reminders of loss. We have made certain that we have clinicians available who can serve them, and we hope they will find their way to us.

"Hope can be a powerful force. When you know what you hope for most, hold it like a light within you and you can make things happen," said Laini Taylor. Tom Bodett is quoted in a frequently heard assessment, "A person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do and something to hope for." At Nonviolence Works we want to put the "doing" behind our hopes. We believe we thus make a difference in Taos.

Nonviolence Works has the largest behavioral health staff in northern New Mexico. Reach us at (575) 758-4297 or nonviolenceworks.us

Mary McPhail Gray is the board chair of NVW and can be reached at (575)779-3126 or mcphailconsulting@gmail.com

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