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With Christmas just around the corner and the New Year approaching, we reflect back on the year passing and remember those who are less fortunate and appreciate the blessings we are gifted with receiving. Working for a non-profit organization really makes us appreciate blessings so much greater knowing that we can help our consumers through these cold winter months. The season of giving has come a long way for The Ability Center and their Consumers, thanks to other entities that make it possible to provide our services. Generosity and Charity go a long way in achieving and maintaining Social change for the Marginalized in our Society. Only through this assistance will the Marginalized come into a role of power, thus perpetuating sustained social change. From the bottom of the hearts of the staff of theAbility Center, thank you!!!

In this month’s edition, this article will cover:

·        Recap of the Month’s Activities

·        Our grant award from Carl C. Anderson Sr. & Marie Jo Anderson Foundation.

·        Our experience at Volar’s Disability Conference.

·        Great Qualities for Successful Relationships

·        A Christmas Receipt

·        Christmas Home Safety

·        Thank you to our dedicated Collaborators



·        We continued our Outreach and networking efforts, participating in Volar’s, El Paso’s Center for Independent Living, Disability Conference. The speakers proved inspiring as well as the information provided improved our capacity as an organization.

·        We continue our efforts to add additional services. Currently, we’re pursuing additional funding to increase our community-building activities.

·        We participated in the New Mexico State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) public hearing held in the Las Cruces DVR office. The meeting proved productive as many pending questions were answered as well as comments were made to modify the new language for the SPIL. Once the amendments are approved, the Ability Center will receive stimulus money to enhance it’s capacity.

·        Disability Rights New Mexico provided TACIL staff with ADA and Rehabilitation Act Training. We want to thank Bernadine Chavez  and Minnie Montoya for her time and instruction.

·        Our three programs continue doing well this month of December. Our Independent Living Program continues providing quality service. The loan equipment and food bank services have been assisted by the generosity and charity of our communities and foundations. The Traumatic Brain Injury Life Skills Program is doing great, providing service to qualifying individuals in Southwestern New Mexico. Finally, our Social Security Payee Program continues to manage finances for its participants while teaching budgeting and self-control.  We’re very proud of our staff who do a great job with unparalleled dedication.



Helping our consumers is made possible by foundations that assist in providing the means to meet their basic needs. The Ability Center would like to extend our appreciation to the Board and Grant Manager of The Carl C. Anderson, Sr. and Marie Jo Anderson Charitable Foundation for their generosity in awarding us a 10,000.00 grant for our Project Food Security.
TACIL was awarded the grant to provide monthly supplementary food rations to 24 low-income elderly persons with disabilities for 11 months. TACIL will procure all the items and supplies necessary for the grant through this funding. In addition to providing supplementary monthly rations, TACIL will conduct Community Education seminars into Senior Centers and other venues to provide information on food assistance programs in the community to reduce the food insecurity rate in Southwestern NM in the elderly population.




Due to many requests for help creating healthy relationships, we’re providing this guide to follow:

You are in a healthy relationship when:

  • you are each other's best friend;
  • you always treat each other with respect;
  • you never abuse drugs or alcohol;
  • you never try to control or manipulate each other;
  • you feel secure and comfortable with each other;
  • you never cheat on each other;
  • you are never violent with each other - no pushing, shoving, grabbing, hitting or punching;
  • you don't scream at each other - you can resolve conflict respectfully;
  • you have fun together;
  • you enjoy a lot of the same activities;
  • neither of you is possessive;
  • you have equal power in the relationship;
  • you don't put each other down;
  • you never embarrass each other publicly;
  • you are proud of each other;
  • your life is better because this person is in your life;
  • you never feel scared around each other;
  • you have privacy in the relationship - your letters, diaries, personal phone calls are your own;
  • you are both allowed to have good friends outside of the relationship;
    most of the people in your life are happy about this relationship and like your partner;
  • you never feel like you are being pressured for sex;
  • there are many more good times in the relationship than bad ones;
  • most of the time you feel happy together;
  • fighting and unhappiness are very rare in the relationship;
  • your relationship is seen as being very special by both of you;
  • you trust each other;
  • you can talk to each other; and
  • you share many of the same basic values.

You are in an unhealthy relationship when:

  • your partner tries to control or manipulate you;
  • your partner is very possessive;
  • your partner gets jealous when you talk to a friend who is viewed as a threat;
  • your partner drinks or uses drugs around you;
  • your partner makes you feel bad about yourself;
  • your partner calls you names;
  • your partner yells at you;
  • your partner tells you how to dress;
  • your partner criticizes your friends;
  • your partner is physically abusive - he/she grabs you, pushes you, hits you, throws objects at you or near you;
  • your partner denies or minimizes his or her inappropriate or abusive behavior;
  • your partner doesn't like you to be close to other people, including your family;
  • your partner tries to physically stop you from going where you want to go;
  • your partner cheats on you even one time;
  • your partner pressures you to be sexual with him or her;
  • your partner's friends are always more important than you;
  • your partner doesn't make time for you;
  • your partner doesn't really listen when you talk to him/her;
  • your partner looks at others when he/she's with you;
  • your partner flirts with others;
  • your partner has negative attitudes about your gender, in general;
  • your partner uses negative put-down words when he/she talks about your gender;
  • your partner has so many problems that his/her life is not really working;
  • your partner has trouble getting along with people, in general;
  • people close to you dislike and distrust your partner;
  • you can't trust your partner - you wonder what your partner is doing when he/she is not with you;
  • you feel scared or uncomfortable around your partner;
  • you are afraid of your partner's temper; and
  • you are unhappy a lot of the time.

What you should do if you are in an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • tell yourself that you deserve better than this and get out of the relationship;
  • get support for yourself from friends, family, your R.A., a counselor;
  • get counseling at the Counseling Center (633-2038).

How to Help a Friend who is in an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • tell your friend directly that you believe that she/he is in an unhealthy relationship;
  • give specific and concrete examples of why you believe the relationship is unhealthy;
  • tell your friend that she/he deserves better than to be in this relationship;
  • tell your friend you will support her/him in getting out of this relationship ;
  • suggest counseling.


Borrowed from: 





The holidays are a time for family and unity, thus we’re providing a fun activity to share this holiday season.


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lard
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and set aside.

2.    In a large bowl, cream together the lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Mix in the anise seed, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the sifted ingredients and brandy, and stir until well blended.

3.    On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 or 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. The traditional is fleur-de-lis. Place cookies onto baking sheets. Mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tops of the cookies.

4.    Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.




Home safety is a critical part of any Christmas Season.

The holidays should be a magical time for children. Yet each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 8700 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.

In addition, Christmas trees are involved in about 400 fires annually, resulting in 20 deaths, 70 injuries and an average of more than $15 million in property loss and damage. Young children are particularly at risk for injury from sharp objects, such as glass ornaments, or from well-intentioned gifts of toys that are not appropriate to their age.

Keep the season merry with this list of safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Safer Trees and Decorations
When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

Use only noncombustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use nonflammable holders and place candles out of children's reach.

Take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food, which may tempt a child to eat them.

Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial-snow sprays.

Bright Ideas for Lights
Indoors or outside, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory that indicates conformance with safety standards.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.

Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.

Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

Friendlier Fireplaces
Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.


Read More Tips

Trouble-Free Toys
Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. If the toy is appropriate for your child, show him how to use it properly.

Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Toys that are too advanced could pose a safety hazard for younger children.

To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.

Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.

Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.

Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Outdoor Play
Make sure your child's gloves and shoes stay dry. If either becomes wet, change your child into a dry pair.

Sledding on or into the roadway should be prohibited. Look for shallow slopes that are free of obstacles, such as trees and fences.

Most skiing and skating injuries involve twists, sprains and strains. Prevent injuries by providing your child with competent instruction, proper equipment and appropriate supervision.

Happy Visiting
Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.

Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.

Keep a laminated list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222.

Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

Food Safety
Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.

Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child's exploring hands.

Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.

Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.

Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when preparing them.

Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.

Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics





The Ability Center wants to take the time to thank the following individuals and (or) organizations for the great contributions they have made to the Center helping to fulfill our mission:

·        Aging and Long Term Services: Traumatic Brain Injury Program

·        Blas Rel

·        Brain Injury Association of New Mexico

·        Carl C. Anderson Sr. & Marie Jo Anderson Foundation

·        Casa De Oro Care Center

·        Chris Van Horn

·        Christina Little of the United Way of Southwestern New Mexico

·        Deming Luna County Commission on Aging

·        Disability Rights New Mexico

·        Heriberto Valentin

·        Hidalgo County Senior Center

·        Independent Living Resource Center of Albuquerque

·        Munson Center

·        Our Dedicated Board of Directors

·        Our Dedicated Staff

·        Rehabilitation Services Administration

·        San Juan Center for Independence

·        Sandra Williams

·        Social Security Administration

·        The Catron County Health Council

·        The New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Area 3 Office

·        The New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability

Most importantly, our Consumers for having faith in us and coming back to us for assistance to live a high quality of life in their communities free of exploitation and institutionalization.



715 E. Idaho Ave. Ste 3E Las Cruces NM USA
Phone: 575-526-5016  |  Fax: 575-526-1202