16. Arriving at Thriving
Hello, and welcome to a brand new series of the Rural Impact. I'm Michelle Rathman, and it's really a privilege to be with you here today. Now, if you can believe it in the very first days of 2024, a year where I think discussions about policies are critically important. Perhaps more so than any other time in our recent history.
This is a big year. We're starting out 2024 for that reason, with a series we're calling arriving at thriving the role of local and state government in removing barriers to vital services and joining me today for this conversation, you are going to hear from two of the most determined and brilliant researchers, either thought leaders, visionaries, and change makers I've personally ever met and they happen to be the authors of several books, including one called "Anna Age Eight", which coincidentally is also the name of the Institute they co-founded housed within New Mexico State University. And they're also authors of a book that people know me, know, I cannot stop talking about.
In fact, I won't stop talking about, and I give one to people wherever I can. And that's called 100% Community: Ensuring 10 Vital Services for Surviving and Thriving." I cannot wait for you to hear my conversation with Dr. Catherine Ortega Courtney. She is a psychologist, facilitator, life coach, and speaker.
And she specializes in child welfare advocacy and has instilled change in data driven trauma prevention in states literally across the country. You're also going to hear from Dominic Capello, we call him Dom. He is a New York Times bestselling author and a TEDx conference curator with decades of experience advocating for health, safety, And education. I'm going to make a promise to you, okay?
By the end of this conversation, you are going to have the keys you need to drive change in your rural county. And with that, how to compel civic leaders who serve you to get in the car and get moving. These are some really. Important pivotal issues of our time. And so I just am so glad to have you here for this conversation.
And I invite you to sit back, take your walk, whatever you do with your podcast routine, and let's listen to a brand new series, a new episode of the rural impact. Let's go.
Michelle Rathman: Katherine Ortega Courtney, Dominic, Dom, as everyone calls you. Capello, welcome to The Rural Impact. I mean it when I say I have been so eager to have this conversation. We are no strangers. We've had similar conversations many times over, and I want to let you know that I teed up for our audience this.
I said, "By the end of this episode, they'll come away with the keys to drive change in their own county, the inspiration, we hope, certainly the strategies to get their civic leaders to get in and start moving." I think that's a fair statement. It's impossible to talk with you and not have ideas about, not just the why, but where to get started.
And I also want to just say one quick housekeeping note. Listen to the very end of this episode, because we are going to be sharing with you information about how you can join Dom and Katherine and myself for a very special 100% Community Power Hour designed specifically for county and city leaders in the rural space.
And so that's gonna be a little bit later on in the first quarter. This is the very first episode kicking off our new season, our new series, and we're calling it "Arriving at Thriving." So again, welcome Dom, welcome Katherine. Very grateful for your time today. Thanks for being here.
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: Thank you so much for having us. We've been looking forward to it too.
Michelle Rathman: Wonderful your fellow podcasters as well. Katherine, I'm going to kick us off because, our podcast is about connecting the dots between policy and absolutely rural everything. And we say often, the road to quality of life is paved by policy. People need to understand the connection between your earliest work and, how this ties in this conversation.
So can you just start us off, Katherine? Give us a backstory of "Anna Age Eight," and talk about that first, and then we'll move on from there.
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: Sure. So "Anna, Age Eight," started in child welfare in New Mexico's child welfare system. That's where Dominic and I met. We were both working for child welfare in New Mexico. And what we saw, I think, which is very common throughout the nation is a system that was really, really struggling to protect our most vulnerable children.
That was the mission of the organization. But what we saw was a lot of attempts to maybe refer families to services that maybe weren't there, or were difficult to access. And eventually, things got to the point where we felt we needed to do something differently and the system wasn't working.
And, what really sparked us into action was this one particular case, which Anna is based on. "Anna Age Eight" is the name of our first book. It is based on a fictional character, who was in and out of foster care her entire life until she was returned home to live with her mother at the age of eight years old, where she was kicked to death by her mother.
This is based on real things we saw while we were at child welfare. Obviously that case was very disturbing. There was a big public outcry. There was a lot of calls for change in the system, but what we saw were the changes being made to the child welfare system were not necessarily going to help prevent something like this from happening. What we really saw was a need for systems to work together differently, for communities to come together with a different vision of how to protect our most vulnerable children and families by ensuring that they have access to the services they need.
So, what we saw was a need for, for the system to really work together differently, multiple systems coming together to address sort of the root causes of why families were struggling. What we saw was the families coming into child welfare often we're struggling to access stable housing, food and behavioral health and medical services.
All of these things that child welfare wasn't responsible for, but helped lead to child welfare involvement. So we landed on this idea that if families could access ten vital services when they needed them. So, from the get go, prenatally, that would make a huge difference in the child welfare system, but also in addressing this underlying root cause of adverse childhood experiences, which the research was showing all of our families in child welfare were obviously struggling with, but so many other families in New Mexico were struggling with these adverse childhood experiences, which led to so many consequences that were not being addressed or even looked at, at the time.
Michelle Rathman: And I think it's safe to say are still in so many places. And I'll jump over to you, Dom, because I first came to know your work during a time where honestly, everyone's world was turned upside down right at the start of COVID. And I learned about, backstory is Matt Probst, who wrote a forward for your book, who is in New Mexico doing the work.
He was in a documentary film called, "The Providers", I came to know him, and then I came to know your work. And this was at a time when I was so, right or wrong, so deeply concerned about how rural communities were going to fare during COVID, all the what ifs ran through my head and people would say to me, "Michelle, you know, you can't worry about it. There's nothing you can do about it." And I'm like, 'to hell you can't do something about it.' And then I read your book and I said, 'oh, my gosh.' So, Dom, take us to where we enter this wonderful book, "100% Community," which is right over my shoulder, "Ensuring 10 Vital Services for Surviving and Thriving."
Talk to us about the premise of it, and explain what it is and what it accomplishes.
Dominic Cappello: Yes. Well, as Katherine said, our first book was "Anna Age Eight". And in that book, chapter seven, we talk about, 'why your zip code should not determine your destiny.' And this means where you live, whether you're in rural or urban or suburban environments, it shouldn't matter. You should have access to all the services for surviving and thriving.
And so we wrote a little bit about those 10 services. We didn't go into detail on how you create them, but the readers of "Anna Age Eight" really liked that chapter and said, 'well, we agree with you. We, we have to find a way. We need a framework so that we can work county by county and make sure those 10 vital services exist.'
So that led to the book, "100% Community: Ensuring 10 Vital Services For Surviving and Thriving" And that became the blueprint for the 100% New Mexico initiative. And it's been a pretty wild ride since then. That book came out and we started forming county initiatives. We thought we would have three as pilot sites over the next few years.
That didn't happen. We have 18 with more counties coming on. The need is there, and people see the framework. And I should tell our listeners might be wondering, 'wait, you're saying, 10 vital services. What services are you talking about?'
Michelle Rathman: walk through those.
Dominic Cappello: We'll walk through if you we use our hands here if you have, put up your first hand and we're going to talk about the five services for surviving:
Michelle Rathman: mm-Hmm.
Dominic Cappello: Medical, dental, behavioral health care, food security, housing security, and transportation to vital services.
If a family, if a household does not have access to these services, they may not make it through the month. We would like to focus on thriving. Now the thriving services would be, parent supports, early childhood learning programs, fully resourced community schools with health centers, also as service hubs, youth mentorship programs, and job training.
So with these 10 services in place, accessible within a county, families do better. And if we were to use the language of public health, they would say, 'Oh, you're talking about the social determinants of health.' These services, these 10 services, determine our children's health, our parent's health, our grandparent's health, and not just health, safety, education, quality of life.
So we have about half a century of research on the social determinants of health. And Katherine had mentioned adverse childhood experiences, 10 forms of abuse and neglect. We have two decades of research there. So anyone who's in a leadership position in the United States is aware of this.
The research is here. It's not, 'Oh, what do we do? We don't know what to do.' We know exactly what to do. We need the political will to do it, and people need a framework. So that's the book. That's the initiative. And that's the revolution.
Michelle Rathman: You know, I, in the circles I travel, I hear so much about social determinants, and then they're calling them drivers. And a term that I heard earlier this year that really strikes me. I've heard it a few times before is the political drivers of health. And on this podcast, I really work hard to make sure that we're framing things that when we're talking about political drivers of health, we're talking about policy. And policy is driven by individuals with some compelling motivation, one way or the other. And before we move on to that, I do want to talk a little bit about the research because we're also really fast to say data informed, data informed, you have data.
And New Mexico doesn't look much different than many other parts of the country when it comes to health equity, racial equity social ecological models and things like that. So, when you talk about the research that you have, can you give our listeners, Katherine, maybe you could chime in on this.
Just talk about the depths of the research that you do. And with that, what I think is so fascinating about 100% Community and model initiative, it's just brilliant, is that, we're spending a lot of money in this country. Health systems are, on what we call community health needs assessment, and I see community health assessments.
Obviously, they're a box to check for the IRS. At the same time, you can capture a tremendous amount of data to tell you what's already obvious, right? We've got higher rates of diabetes, higher incidence of hypertension, higher incidence of malnutrition, and so forth. But your surveys, your committee's surveys that are fueled by the research that you've done, tell a very different story.
So piece those two together for us, Katherine, if you will.
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: Yeah, you're exactly right. So there's a lot of data on problems, right? We, this is the mortality rate. This is the overdose rate. All of those things. There is also a lot of data on services, like, we funded this much in services. We have enough money to find this many pre-case lots, things like that.
We heard a lot of those types of things when we were starting. What we didn't hear was any data on what are the actual barriers to the services that people need. And we heard, over and over, kind of anecdotally, a lot of the same barriers. So we developed the 100% Community Survey to meet that need and really get down on the ground in the community to find out why can't people access services.
It's not necessarily always a funding issue. It might be something like the hours don't work, or they can't get transportation, things like that. So, our entire model is based on the continuous quality improvement process, which is really just 4 steps of: assess, plan, act, evaluate. It's really a startlingly simple process that's used in business all the time. Government doesn't usually use it.
And that's one of the things we saw in child welfare was, if we could really adopt this continuous quality improvement process and look at, what are the actual barriers, come up with a plan to address those barriers, implement it, and then actually evaluate if those barriers are getting reduced, we could do this. This is a doable model. We just need to start with a clear, clear data on what are the actual barriers? Why can't people access the services they need in a community?
So we started with that. And in several of our counties, we had amazing community partners who would go out and find people where they are. So they would go to high school football games or grocery stores, laundromats, places where people who need the services might be and just ask them, have you ever needed medical care? If so, were you able to access it? If not, why not? So we come out with these reports that really show very clearly what the barriers are.
Michelle Rathman: I think the analogy that you used earlier is interesting because businesses do it. Businesses, within a business, there's this shared goal, shared mission, vision. They have this project to look at. And I think what, and we're going to take a quick break in a moment, but when we come back, I want to talk about, I've been, people who know me know that I've been talking about 100% Community a lot.
I have, thanks to you, I have sent out books to many people and higher places where they could make decisions. And the number one thing they have a challenge to wrap their brain around is, how do we start? How is it funded and so forth? And I think what's so difficult for people to understand is that it starts where every community is based on the survey, but there has to be a collective commitment to saying, we recognize that this is not just one agency. It's not the hospitals alone. It's not the schools to tackle this alone. It's not for public health to tackle alone. It's that if we, you know, we're all kind of running around doing our own thing is if we come together instead of colliding with each other. So we're going to talk a little bit about the systems improvement that has to happen and maybe share with us some stories to help us identify how you were able to create something where not only one community is buying in. But multiple, so stay with us.
We are going to be right back to continue this amazing Rural Impact conversation.
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Michelle Rathman: Okay. We are back. And before our break, we were talking about, what are some of the challenges and that you hear, that I hear about, how do you even begin? And I know, and I'll share, I know it begins with the number one thing that Dominic and Katherine will say is read the book and start a book club. But there's something before that.
There's something before that. So talk a little bit about the process that needs to happen for those who are in a community and are in positions of making change happen. What needs to happen? What's the first step? You know, once people have the research in their hands, and they understand the data, how can we compel people to go that next step?
And then that next step after that?
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: It's really interesting. I think our experience has been, it has to be, someone who's just intrinsically motivated to do things differently in their community. That's the biggest, I think, common factor we've seen in these initiatives getting started, is people who, very similarly to us are working in a system that they see is not working.
I think what's so interesting about our initiative is. I don't think we've ever gotten anybody on board. People get on board themselves. So I think it's almost like a hero's call to action in some ways. People who are already thinking about doing things differently. We've been told so many times, 'oh, I knew all this. This is just putting it all together in a framework that now I can go forward with.' So it's kind of packaging a vision in a different way than people have thought of.
It really boils down to really, and we call them heroes all the time, heroes in our community who are working on the ground who see a need and want to do things differently. And it has, I think in every single county that we've worked with has started with just one person reading the book, understanding it, really just feeling moved by it and then getting other people on board.
Michelle Rathman: Dominic, you talked about what the 10 services are, and if you could, because I think for those, and we're going to make the book available on the website for people to just click, buy it, read it, and then see what they think. But Dominic, you talked about the services, but there's a structure, you know, and Katherine mentioned earlier, business, you know, kind of comparing to business, there is a structure. There's I guess an organizational chart that most people can identify with. Talk about that, Dominic, and to make sure that everyone understands that this is not just an individual kind of trying to do it on their own. There is a foundation here that's required.
Dominic Cappello: Yeah, there there is, but I really want to reinforce what Katherine has said. You have to have a visionary champion to make this happen. You know, we could talk about all the models and frameworks and data and research till we're blue in the face. But at the end of the day, it's the champion, and the relationships that that person has.
If you have that, then you have a shared vision. And if you have a shared vision, then you can use what's called the collective impact model, which means, a group comes together and agrees to have a shared vision. Our vision is 100% of families having access to 10 vital services. We have our goals. We have our steps. We have a shared understanding of how we'll use data, how we'll use communication.
So, from vision to the collective impact framework, and this is all described in the book, "100 % Community." But I do want to back it up to "Anna Age Eight," because that's such a powerful story. It's a simple read, it's a short read, but no county that has had an "Anna Age Eight" book club has not moved into the initiative phase.
So, I can't stress that enough. If a county can't organize seven people in an "Anna Age Eight" book club, they're not ready for this initiative. People have said to us, not actually not in this state in other states. 'Well, that sounds good, but we don't we don't have time for a book club.' If you don't have time for four lunch hour meetings, you're not don't take this initiative on yet.
You got to start building relationships. Then you'll be ready. Maybe in a few months, maybe in a few years. But, but with the shared vision and an agreement to use the philosophy of collective impact, then you can move forward. And we do have seven steps that guide the initiative again all laid out in all of our books and moving from step one, you know after the book club and the buy in, then you're looking at, well do we have representatives from these 10 service areas? Can we put them all on a Zoom call? Can we bring them all into the same room?
Now our listeners may be thinking, 'well, for gosh sakes, in a city, can't you just get those people together?' The truth is this, often it's the first time people have ever gotten together. Healthcare says, well, I'm here, but why am I in a room with someone from transportation? I would say, 'well, they can't get to you without transportation.'
So these 10 services are all interconnected. So from the agreement to come together, the agreement to have a shared vision, then you do the survey. And our counties have done a great job of doing a county wide survey. I want to stress that this is a county model. You know, our listeners need to understand you're not saving the world.
You're not saving the nation. You're not even saving your state. You're saving your county because that's doable. You know, you pull stakeholders together. If you work that way, we can measure success. So from step one with your assessment, step two, analyzing the data, looking at the barriers.
And again, you're in a room with 10 other people, right? I mean, there are 10 people. All from different sectors, talking to one another, how do we collaborate? And then from there, you're talking to providers, from there you're doing a web based service directory. Then you're moving into research, and we do not lack research of how to make services available.
And our keystone project, maybe we'll talk more about it later would be the 100% Family Center, one stop service hub, that can be in the community or be part of a school that brings all 10 services into one building. From there, you move into making the ask and we're talking policy now policy...
Michelle Rathman: I want to, I want to pause there for a second, Dominic, because this is, I know the chart. I know how it works. The five and the five and then over on this side, you know, is really the incredibly critical step of making sure that you have buy in from your civic leaders and we are. This is 2024. This is a pivotal year for all things when it comes to, we have a lot of office seekers and a lot of office holders who are out here telling us the things that they're going to do. And what I compel, I invite, encourage, beg, I guess, plead our listeners to understand is that we need to be asking different questions.
What is your position on, addressing our housing insecurity in our rural county? What is your position? What are your plans to address food insecurity? We just did a whole research study for a project I was working on childhood nutrition and food insecurity in rural counties. It's mind blowing for people who don't understand it.
And so I want to go back there, Dominic and Katherine, because as we talked about, even before we started recording today, 100% Community and the work that you're doing would not be possible in the state of New Mexico today. You'd still be doing the work as we said, it wouldn't be funded. So, if you could talk to us about that very important piece, because the community stakeholder piece is one thing, but it's the other part to get the buy in that this is not just worthy, but necessary to support with resources and by resources, we mean you fill in the blank.
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: It's a, it's an interesting question. Yes, because You're right. Our initiative is funded by the legislature of New Mexico. All of our funding has been provided by the state legislature, which I think when we started this work, we did not expect. We thought maybe a foundation would jump in or something like that. What happened is really, I think.
We've seen the conversation shift in our state capital, and we were just talking about this other day. We're seeing, a bunch of legislators come in and talking about surviving and thriving, and how do we address trauma when we started this work, we were lucky to have one champion in the legislature who was willing to have those conversations.
What we hope to see, and we're seeing also trickle down into the local governments to is a lot of our 100 percent champions at the local level in our counties are now running for office, which is really, really exciting. And I think that is one of our best hopes for really transforming what government does and the role of local governments because it really does necessitate all of these entities with that shared vision, right? We believe that 100% of community members should have access to these very basic things. And that's not really a conversation that had ever been held before.
Michelle Rathman: What a great platform. I'm running on a platform to ensure every member of my county has the services they need to survive and thrive. And you don't hear that very often. That is so exciting to me to hear.
Dominic Cappello: Yeah, and if you were in Taos County, you would hear that from the person running for mayor, people running for county commissioner, people running for city hall, city hall Cat Simp to be a counselor, and they all won. They all won on that platform. So, this is a platform that is resonating with the public.
Because the public, like people like us, we know how bad it is. You know, and it's not just the working poor middle class people know services are not available to us. Waiting lists go on for three months to see a medical doctor. So people are aware that things aren't working, and I think the old PR that politicians used to use, it's not working anymore.
So if you're listening to this, and you believe you believe that everyone should have the right to these services. And public and private sector partnerships can work to make this available. Run for free in office and you will find that you're going to get a lot of parents nodding their heads, but you're going to get a lot of students, college students nodding their heads.
You're going to get everyone going, 'finally, a real thing to talk about.' And though 10 services sound like a lot. And when we started, people said, 'you can't, you can't advocate for 10. No advocate for one.'
Michelle Rathman: would you leave out?
Dominic Cappello: But what would we leave out? And that's why I think educating people about the social determinants of health.
That's the umbrella. It's all of it. And it's not complicated. If we can do this in 18 counties in New Mexico, we can do it in all 3000 counties in the United States.
Michelle Rathman: Because let's look at it. Where we at now in 2024, we have, in my view, we have done such a backslide because we have some huge challenges before us that really, it's a head scratcher. We have childcare deserts, we have long-term care deserts. We've got hospitals closing all over this country.
We've got schools in particular, in rural communities being defunded. Meaning children are in, some states are going to school four days a week. It flies in the face of everything we're talking about what's required for us to not just survive, but thrive. And so with that I think, for the time we have, I would like for us to have you paint a picture about some examples about how 100% Community Initiatives have really taken flight and communities to address, and I want to share with people that when I met you, 100% Community in New Mexico was already, had footing. And you had, I think, Matt's initiative in Las Vegas. Correct? He was going strong. And at the end of the day, when COVID hit, they had a level of preparedness that other places across this country simply did not have.
Is that fair to say? So talk to us a little bit about the model and how it's, it's, I tell people. It's impossible to be resilient if you're not prepared.
Dominic Cappello: Right. You know, I, we have a really good example. We just had a big training last week. And one of our counties is San Juan County up north of us. And they, they followed the model. They did the book club, they organized, they got together, they talked about the family center, one stop hub.
And what they did was made sure they invited private sector people in, medical community, so on and so forth. And by having those conversations, they were able to go to an established medical clinic with a building that already offered five of the 10 services. But they got in conversation and said, well, we could expand to the 10 and we could, we could address the barriers.
So they now have a memo of understanding. They've got a shared building. They're going to be talking about. And I think that's how this happens, right? Started with a book club, started with invitations, and of course in Farmington, they have good relationships, and it's not private sector versus public sector, it's problem solvers together.
So I believe that we'll be seeing the first 100% Family Center in Farmington, but all our other counties, and by the way, they all just met again, each other. So there's a wonderful process called diffusion of innovation. There's all this sharing, right? From county to county, county, everyone's going, 'well, how did, how did San Juan County do this? Like, how did they, how?' And we're sharing how, we have something called the World Wide Web. You know, we could share stories immediately. Why don't we use the web to solve problems rather than binge watch a science fiction show? Or maybe we could do both. But I think you might want to prioritize Yeah.
Yeah. Use the web for problem solving and relationship building because everything we're talking about is not only possible, it's happening right now. So if a listener is thinking, well, could I really do it? And who would I need? It starts with you. Get the book, read "Anna Age Eight," invite four other friends to have a book club, and you will start this process.
Michelle Rathman: Mm hmm. I think so much of this is just facing the facts that these challenges will not resolve on their own. They're growing. The gaps to services are widening. And, if we are talking about ensuring that children, in this country, we take a look what's happening around the world and there are so many children in this country in your research in so many others' research just shows us that early childhood trauma sets the stage for a lifetime of challenges. And if we can't agree on just that one thing. Just that one thing, and they have no control over it. And so we have to be responsible for that. All right. So before we close out, again, we are so thrilled our next episode in this three- part series, we are going to have Senator Soules who was very much responsible for ushering this through your state legislation. And we're going to talk about his book and his work, The Sausage Factory. But, let's just say, and we hope, and we're going to promote this that we've got some people who are out there thinking, I am ready to go cast my ballot for someone in my county, my city, my state.
What are some of the questions that you think that they need to be asking and researching, instead of just making decisions based on an emotional or what they've heard or headline or what have you, what are some of the things that tangible things that you think that our listeners should be thinking about as they decide who will, as we said earlier, kind of take the keys and help to drive their communities? Whether into the ground or to make sure that they have the services they need.
What are the things that, if you could give us some good strategic talking points, what would those be?
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: That's a good question. One thing I do want to emphasize, is that this is absolutely been a bipartisan initiative in our state. We've had support from both sides. And I think people can really come together with this idea that, 100% of kids should have access to the services they need, and Senator Soules likes to throw out the question, what percentage of kids should go hungry tonight?
Which ones, how are we going to pick? And I think we, we've asked that question to a lot of lawmakers too and it really does make you think which is why we landed on that, our favorite percentage, 100%, we cannot go for anything less. I think to ask politicians is it's a tricky thing because no one has ever said.
No, I think it shouldn't be 100%. But how can communities come together? And again, we're not saying that it's completely government's responsibility to ensure these 10 vital services. So the question is, how can you envision this working together, Mr. Senator or Mr. Mayor, or whatever it is?
And why is this important? And, do you think it is important to address childhood trauma? Do you think it is important that your zip code should not determine your access to opportunities, your access to what your outcomes in life are going to be? And, if the answer is, 'no, your subcode should not determine that.'
Then what are we going to do about it?
Michelle Rathman: Dominic, I would imagine that we, we'd be easy for some people in the community. I was in a community not too long ago. I won't say who to protect, but we were talking about I asked a little bit about I was meeting with some folks in the emergency department and I said, what is, just give me a lay the land of homelessness and food insecurity. And one person said, 'we don't have any homelessness here.' And the other person looked at it and said, 'are you kidding me?' So I think that there's a disconnect people don't understand people say, oh, I didn't know there was a maternal mortality morbidity crisis because they were not paying attention to it.
So I, I think it's important for us to say if you don't even have to look that hard, right? That you there. You're very hard pressed to find a single county in this country, in rural, in particular from my travels, would that be a fair statement, Dominic, that it's everywhere?
Dominic Cappello: It's everywhere. And if you're listening, all you have to do is go to the World Wide Web, type in public health data, put in your state or put in your county. Every state has the data. We don't need to debate. Is there a crisis or not? We're in crisis and all the numbers that have to do with substance use disorders, fatalities, hunger.
You know, the list is long and it's old. It's an old list. Your child welfare data completely available. So that's, to be honest with you, almost a boring conversation because the conversation is we can, if you want to see how bad it is, that's easy to find with a few clicks.
Michelle Rathman: Mm hmm.
Dominic Cappello: If you want to fix it, that's where the work is, right?
And as we keep saying, it's all about relationships. You know, and also it's about you're, if you're listening and you're thinking, 'I kind of like what they're saying, but could I do it?' That's a really important question. Do you have the capacity to be a champion? And if you don't, do you know someone who might?
So this is about some soul searching, looking at your own capacity, reaching out to other people. And that's, what's so great about the book club. Get together seven people. I guarantee you one of them is going to go. We have to do this thing. We just have to and from that, then the circle grows bigger and bigger and bigger.
Michelle Rathman: My last question is, you've seen thriving. So, we talk about challenges a lot. We obsess over them. What does thriving look like in New Mexico counties today?
Dominic Cappello: That's another good question, Michelle. Well, you know, yeah, I mean, you know, we talk about our thriving services. I mean, middle class people and people in upper income areas, they they take for granted that they can have these services. In general, the middle class is learning your health care isn't really guaranteed.
It's certainly not guaranteed that you're going to get to it within a few months. I think thriving, though, is. In this country, you know, we do have a large population that, that has resources, they have good jobs, at least today, they have a good job with benefits, they can afford the services that we're talking about.
So we know what thriving looks like, as you drive through well resourced communities, it looks like that. Of course, in America, if you just drive four blocks in another direction where they don't have the services and they don't have the jobs with living wages, you. So we know what it looks like when it's bleak and it feels hopeless, but we all know what it's like to go to a well resourced community.
And, you know, luckily in the United States, those do exist. Although I would say. The middle class is on shaky ground these days but we know what it takes to thrive. And in New Mexico, we're lucky to have communities like that. But you drive one mile through the county, you're in another zone.
You might as well be in another country where the services are not available, the jobs are not available, and there's no plan. Unless they have a 100% Community Model, then there is a plan.
Michelle Rathman: Well, I'm a believer. I've been a believer since day one because it just makes the most perfect sense to me. And you know, if you do have the will, most certainly folks, there is a way to do this. And I hear people say, 'well, we've got this, or the that the other thing.' I said, 'but do you have it all?'
Because you have to be able to round it out at the end. Not just one thing. Once you do an auto correct, if you will, on food insecurity, for example, you still got transportation and so forth. So I want to remind everyone, we say this and I'm going to repeat it this year. These are not light subjects.
We are not here to solve all the world's problems, but we do hope that this conversation and many more like these are going to enlighten you. And that you're going to have some time to reflect and take a look at the resources we're going to put up about 100% Community and "Anna Age Eight" and Anna Age Eight Institute on the website.
And again, stay tuned to the end, because we are going to be releasing some news about a 100% Community Power Hour designed for those who are civic leaders and in business leaders, if you're, if you are a leader in one of the 10 surviving and thriving, we want you to join us as well. So, Katherine and Dom, I mean, honestly, thank you for joining.
Thank you for your work and your dedication. You two are rock stars in my book, and I hope people will get curious enough to check out what you've done. And I know that you've got some other things coming up next. Thank you so much.
Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney: Thank you.
Michelle Rathman: Happy new year. Can we say that still better new year? All right. Thanks for joining us.
And we're going to see you again on a new episode of The Rural Impact.