New Mexico Direct Care Workers Hone Leadership, Advocacy Skills

Jun 11, 2012, 17:28 ET from Direct Care Alliance, Inc.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Mexican direct care workers honed their leadership and advocacy skills on June 7 and 8 in Albuquerque. District 48 Representative Luciano "Lucky" Varela and Jim Parker, director of the Governor's Commission on Disability, were featured speakers at the New Mexico Voices Institute, a state-level version of an intensive, interactive national training program for direct care worker leaders.

The event was co-hosted by the Direct Care Alliance (DCA) and the New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition (NMDCC). "Our organization wanted many more New Mexico direct caregivers to benefit from the leadership training I received from DCA in 2009," said NMDCC Board Chair Alecia Springer.

Direct care workers and managers from La Plaza de Encuentro, Good Samaritan, Sandoval County Frail and Elderly Program, and Manzano del Sol attended the training. Chosen for their commitment to excellence in the field of direct care, they included people like Fermina Lopez, an immigrant who works as a direct care worker and volunteers for organizations that improve quality of life for her daughter and others with developmental disabilities.

"Direct care workers help tens of thousands of New Mexicans with basic daily activities, allowing them to stay as healthy and independent as possible," said Varela. "They deserve our respect and support for this important work."

Brenda Nachtway, DCA's national field director and a trainer for the event, said she left with "a feeling of accomplishment and hope, knowing the workers in attendance had committed to the cause." As Ms. Lopez put it: "Though I may not speak English well, I leave today knowing that, with the coalition and the DCA, I now have a voice. I will walk beside you in this fight to make change."

The Direct Care Alliance is the national advocacy voice of direct care workers in long-term care. We empower workers to speak out for better wages, benefits and training, so more people can commit to direct care as a career. We also convene powerful allies nationwide to build consensus for change.

The New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition improves quality of life for direct caregivers. We provide the space and opportunity for family and professional caregivers to define and advocate on topics of importance to them--higher wages, better benefits and workplace supports, or better training and education.

Contact: Adrienne R. Smith
505-867-6046 |

SOURCE Direct Care Alliance, Inc.