Wellness is an important part of NACA’s holistic and integrated curriculum. It is implemented with meticulous attention to provide the balance necessary for a child to truly succeed as a student – and more importantly – as a human being. In Native cultures children are honored, and each child is recognized for his or her special purpose. Given the many barriers facing Native children today, NACA has put into place multiple collaborative programs that to help ensure that no child slips through the cracks and that all receive the physical, emotional, and nutritional support they need. Personal Wellness classes are also incorporated into the school day for each student.
Within the Wellness Program NACA offers several areas of support:
- Wellness Wheel
- Student Support Services / Behavioral Health
- Food & Nutrition
- Personal Wellness Class
NACA uses a Wellness Wheel as a tool for students, staff and community to articulate their perceptions, goals and assessments of surrounding their health. A person is able to use the Wellness Wheel to visually record their Intellectual, Physical, Community and Social/Emotional health. This is a holistic approach and is centered in a respect for indigenous knowledge. Download NACA’s Wellness Wheel>>
Student Support and Behavioral Health Services
Student Support Services address the social and emotional needs of the NACA student body and their families. Our mission is to provide comprehensive, culturally-sensitive school-based mental health and support services for students and their families.
Our services include:
- Consultation/Case Management/Referral“”generally a one-time meeting to discuss unmet needs with the student and their family. Staff provides referrals and assistance to obtain the resources or services.
- Education Groups“”including student groups and in-classroom presentations focusing on health and wellness topics such as life skills and healthy relationships
- Crisis Intervention“”includes brief safety assessment and crisis counseling
- Eagle Room – a peaceful, culturally-based meditation space provided for all NACA students, families and staff for self-reflection, meditation and prayer honoring our Native traditions. Students who are dealing with worry, stress, trauma, or any emotional hurt may utilize this peaceful room anytime during or after school. The Eagle Room is our most widely utilized program.
- Individual and Family Counseling – solution-focused counseling by masters’ level clinicians or masters’ level interns.
- Group Therapy“”topic specific-groups to address deeper levels of healing for students and their families. Topics include grief & loss, substance abuse, self-harm, depression and anxiety
- Staff Wellness“”training and consultation focusing on social, emotional, behavioral and developmental issues for faculty and staff.
- Community Outreach“”participation in Parent Nights and other Wellness/Community events on and off campus.
We have also compiled a list of resources for youth that offer confidential support services.
In order to better serve our student and their families NACA has developed partnerships with several key organizations and universities in the state:
- University of New Mexico, Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, School Based Health Center
- Central New Mexico Community College, Center for Working Families
- University of New Mexico, Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health
- La Familia and Cloud Dancers Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.
- New Mexico Highlands University, School of Social Work Field Placement Site
- New Mexico State University, School of Social Work Field Placement Site
- First Nations Community Health Source
Our services are strength-based, drawing from the resiliency of students and families, grounded in honoring their traditions and centering our work together on healthy relationships.
Key elements of our program include Indigenous wellness promotion and mental health service provision by and for our community. The majority of our staff are Native American who have trained under Native American mentors/clinical supervisors in Native American service agencies, either tribal, Indian Health Service or traditional/cultural/spiritual leaders. Our most significant contribution to our community is easily accessed, high quality comprehensive mental health services free of charge to hundreds of Native American youth and families in Albuquerque.
Annually, we serve approximately 150 students and families; on average 80 students receive some type of direct service (crisis intervention, assessment, treatment, and/or case management) and 125 students participate in individual, family or group therapy services.
Student Support Services serves all NACA students, families and staff FREE of charge.
Student Support Services Staff:
- Albino Garcia Jr.(Apache/Mexican), Cultural Advisor/Lakota Language and Culture Teacher
- Devon Herndon, School Counselor
Food and Nutrition Policy
In an effort to improve nutrition and enhance the learning performance of our students, NACA has adopted a Food and Nutrition Policy. Through the policy, NACA students and staff have agreed to accept the responsibility to improve awareness and knowledge of nutrition and health issues; maintain physical health and proper nutrition as a way of honoring self, family, and community; and promote personal wellness. The focus is to improve the physical well-being of the NACA community. Learn more about our nutritious lunch program and community garden>>