By Jennifer Johnson
The New Mexico Christian Children’s Home (NMCCH) in Portales, NM, has cared for thousands of children since building its first dormitory on 80 acres of farmland in 1954. Today the children’s home is breaking new ground—in every sense—by constructing duplex homes and offering help to struggling single parents.
“We recognized the need more than 30 years ago, and began then to acquire homes and provide assistance to single parents and their kids,” says Tom Pittmon, director of public relations. “We already have 12 homes for single parents, but the need just continues to grow. Twenty-four to 34 percent of families in America are single-parent families, 17 million kids are being raised without both parents in the home, and many of them live in poverty. We launched our Hope Haven program to offer hope to more families.”
Hope Haven will feature 17 duplexes—34 new homes—on NMCCH’s property, and every single parent who receives one will participate in either a four-year education or two-year professional track.
“Eastern New Mexico University is close by, so we help the parents enroll and find grant and scholarship money,” Pittmon says. “If they’re completing a degree, they can live in one of our homes rent-free and utility-free; we even provide Internet access and groceries. The idea is for them to focus on their studies and their kids so when they graduate they have the tools to provide for their family.”
The professional track also offers free housing, utilities, and food; participants focus their efforts on either finding a job or advancing in their current position. Both programs are completely funded by donors with no government oversight or regulations.
“The other, most important, part of the program is the spiritual aspect,” Pittmon says. “The men and women who live in Hope Haven are not required to be believers, but they do agree to attend church services at Southside Church of Christ, where NMCCH’s children and staff members worship.
“They don’t have to believe, but I can tell you that being there every week, hearing the Word preached, and experiencing the love of the people changes people’s hearts,” he says. “We do a lot of baptisms! So they leave our program with the skills to live in society but also a foundation of spiritual strength.”