Non-Violence Works celebrates year of success


Nonviolence Works faced challenges, opportunities and success in 2017.

We want to reach out to Taoseños and celebrate our success. This year CEO Simon Torrez and lead clinician Sadie Quintanilla have led the staff through successful changes that have enhanced clinical expertise, added staff, strengthened programs and created exciting new plans for additional services.

We welcomed three new clinicians, and all our clinicians enhanced and focused their therapeutic skills. You may not know that we have an expert in infant mental health, several clinicians who respond with skill in crisis situations, and a clinician who is skilled in vocational rehabilitation and several who regularly intervene to prevent suicides. Our clinicians all have master's degrees and are able to deal with grief and loss, trauma, anger management and custody and foster child issues.

One great strength of the NVW clinical staff is its ability to incorporate different skills into the therapeutic process. One clinician uses a trained service dog in her clinical practice. Several incorporate yoga, dance and art, and several are skilled in the use of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

Our clinicians have worked in inpatient treatment settings, with homeless individuals, in wilderness therapy, and treatment centers for handicapped individuals. They can approach their work at NVW with creativity and depth of compassion and skills.

During 2017, we provided these skills to youth, families and individuals for a total of 1,702 clients. These individuals are self-referred or referred from the school system, the legal system and a variety of agencies with whom we cooperate. Our programs currently served the following people in 2017:

• Gang Resistance is Powerful (GRIP) in elementary and middle schools reached 745 students;

• Familia y Mundo, our therapeutic after-school program and summer camp, served 62 youth;

• In- school therapeutic and group services reached 212 students;

• Families served through couples counseling or supervised visitation numbered 23;

• Nonviolence Awareness Class for men served 18;

• Questa Truancy and Mentoring programs served 52.

These programs have benefited from skilled leadership under Torrez and Quintanilla. They have also increased staff specialization and are participating in challenging new planning for a residential treatment program for adolescent boys and special new programs for veterans. Working with Taos County, plans have been approved, and we are waiting to sign the final contract to collaborate with the juvenile detention facility for the introduction of a residential program that will benefit from the special therapeutic skills at NVW.

Our youth programs have benefited from community cooperation, such as visits to the Harwood Museum, movement guidance from Defend U Academy staff, exploring pottery at the Fire Playce and swimming at Higher Altitude Health and Fitness. Celebrations for the end-of-program seasons brought Familia y Mundo students and families to the Storyteller Cinema for a special afternoon showing, a bowling outing and a visit to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Combined with their community service at the gardens of Not Forgotten Outreach (for veterans) and plenty of hiking to explore petroglyphs and new vistas, our youth were introduced to the area's resources and opportunities.

Our new clinical director, Karen House, returned to NVW after a three-year absence in September, and she is leading the planning process for the residential treatment program and new veterans' offerings. We have emphasized the veterans' services in our new ad at the Storyteller Cinema and on our website. Descriptions of staff skills and all of our program offerings are shown in detail on our website:

We look forward to an exciting year in 2018!

Nonviolence Works has the largest behavioral health staff in Northern New Mexico and can be accessed at (575) 758-4297 or Our offices are located at 1137 suite E Gusdorf Road in Taos.

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