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Know Your Neighbor: Monica Griego de Irlando-Wildman

By Kathy Córdova
For The Taos News
Posted 10/19/18

It's heartwarming to spend time with a person who uses her talents to help others. Monica Griego de Irlando-Wiseman uses her grant writing and administrative …

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Column

Know Your Neighbor: Monica Griego de Irlando-Wildman

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It's heartwarming to spend time with a person who uses her talents to help others. Monica Griego de Irlando-Wildman uses her grant writing and administrative talents to do her part in combating the severe opioid problem in Northern New Mexico.

"I'm the development director of 'A New Normal.Life,' a campaign directed by husband Pablo. My job description includes raising the money, facilitating the groundwork, and building outreach," said Monica Griego de Irlando-Wildman.

"Opioids are a terrible problem, and we seek to provide information for those who need help," she said. "The grant to create the campaign was funded in 2014 to benefit behavioral health care in Rio Arriba and Taos Counties (including Taos Pueblo)."

"We use a multimedia approach to work with the public," she said. "The website deals with prevention, experimentation, connections, recovery and residential information as well as counseling. Addicts don't suffer by themselves. Their situation affects the family, too. We call some of the problems encountered within families and close relationships as [sic] trauma drama. It's real and needs addressing."

The website for A New Normal.Life is a multimedia presentation written, produced and directed by Griego de Irlando-Wildman's husband. The easy-to-navigate site features a section with one- to two- minute-long videos.

One segment features "The Lost Generation: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren."

Another video discusses the drug Naloxone/Narcan. Still another discussion in the film deals with a woman experiencing recovery and motherhood at the same time. The videos showcase the talents of local stars as well: the Robert Mirabal family, Joaquin Gonzales and the students of Arroyos del Norte Elementary School.

Besides the stories in the videos, the website includes many helpful tools for addicts, their families and loved ones. The closures of the detox center and Tri-County Community Services in the Taos area leave citizens wondering about available assistance in this county. The website lists resources in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos Counties.

Griego de Irlando-Wildman has worked in health care for over 18 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in international trade and finance from the International School of Foreign Service. Monica spent two years as a bank analyst on Wall Street. When her company downsized, she accepted a severance package. This occurred a few months prior to the fall of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

"Pablo's dad was an Assemblyman in California, and when we moved there, he helped me obtain work in a field I love: health care and policy issues," said Griego de Irlando-Wildman.

When the family moved to the Taos area, Griego de Irlando-Wildman used her skills to continue work in the health field. The family lived in Dixon, then Latir and now San Cristobal. For several years, she wrote grants and received funding for Holy Cross Hospital, Taos Pueblo and Taos County. She also worked for the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, where she explained the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," to citizens.

Griego de Irlando-Wildman enjoys a rich, full life with four people in the busy house. She met her husband at school when she was 12, and they wed in later years. They have two sons, Amadeo Irlando-Wildman, 12, who attends seventh grade at Taos School for Integrated Arts. Neftali Irlando-Wildman, 9, attends fourth grade at TISA.

When possible, Griego de Irlando-Wildman and her husband participate in health fairs and events that publicize and assist with the opioid problem. An example is Rio Arriba County's health fair Aug. 17.

The active family's free time follows the children's interests in which everyone attends soccer, hockey and baseball games that the children participate in. Family outings include walks around the beautiful mountains near their home. Everyone also enjoys brief trips to the river.

Griego de Irlando-Wildman devotes some of her time and energy to exploring cultural heritage. Part of culture includes food. To that end, she loves chile on everything, she said. Green was her favorite, but now she favors red chile. The family also likes to travel and visit Mexico and California.

"I have the freedom to work at home on important issues. Here' I'm living, working and raising my family. It takes many to help work on the opioid problem. We should all help in any way possible, and Pablo and I are trying to do our part. I sincerely hope that the campaign changes the hearts and minds of people," concluded Monica Griego de Irlando-Wildman.

The project, in its third year, relies on collaboration. Griego de Irlando-Wildman mentioned the following partners: Taos County (Leandro Cordova); Taos County Emergency Services; Town of Taos (Dan Barrone); Taos Municipal Schools ( Lillian Torres); Holy Cross Hospital (Anna Romero); and Rio Arriba County. Some of the Taos organizations that assist with the opioid problem include Alchemy Integrated Medicine, Taos Medical Clinic, Butterfly Healing Center, Vista Taos Renewal Center, Taos Medical Group and Questa Health Center. Further information is available by phone at (855) 662-7476.

For more, visit their website anewnormal.life.

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