Lobbying with OLÉ


Lobbying with OLÉ

Lobbying at the Roundhouse with Conrad James

Lobbying means the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.

We can help prepare you to speak with your Senator/Representative and effectively lobby for the issues that matter the most to you.

Child Care Closures Plague New Mexico

Child Care Closures Plague New Mexico

State Policies Bad for Business of Educating New Mexico’s Young Kids

A statewide study¹ shows that New Mexico’s child development centers have continued to close at an alarming rate across the state. Over 173 centers have closed since 2010, when the state first cut eligibility for child care contracts and reimbursement rates for providers.

The study notes that CYFD’s reimbursement rates to providers, which fall well-below the market rate for child care, is one cause for the center closures that continue to plague the state.

“The Martinez Administration has a double-standard for how they pay state contractors: early-learning centers get paid at a loss, but every other kind of business makes a profit,” said Raquel Roybal, a PEOPLE for the Kids board member. “If you pave a road for the state, you make money, but if you educate a young child, under the Martinez Administration, you lose money.”

map of earlyed center closureYELLOW: Closures in 2011
GREEN: Closures in 2012
BLUE: Closures in 2013
RED: Closures in 2014

The study notes that only 69% of centers across the state accept CYFD contracts, down 14% since 2011. “CYFD’s reimbursement rates simply don’t cover the cost of the education we provide,” said Roxanne Rosa, Director of Our Montessori School in Albuquerque and also a board member of PEOPLE for the Kids, the coalition that released the study.

The study also notes that CYFD provides contracts to over 5,000 fewer children than it did in 2009, accounting for a significant loss in revenue that centers across the state used to rely on.

PEOPLE for the Kids is a coalition of parents, early educators, and early learning center owners and directors. Early Educators United, the OLÉ Working Parents Association, and the Quality Early Learning Association are its founding organizational members.

¹Center Closure Study 2014

CYFD Commits Fraud!

CYFD Commits Fraud! 
CYFD commits Fraud flyer

CYFD refused to give Cynthia the study time that she needs to keep up with her schoolwork. Cynthia is working hard as a substitute teacher to provide for her family while she works toward her degree at CNM. CYFD regulations say that college students should have child care for the hours that they need to study, but CYFD tells Cynthia that she can’t have them. CYFD is violating its own regs, defrauding Cynthia of the child care hours she’s entitled to.

CYFD Commits Fraud! Help us stop them by donating HERE.

If you’d like to fill out a survey of questions that will help us start to find a solution for your child care contract, click HERE.


Youth Employment Summer Institute Application


YES! (Youth Employment Summer Institute) represents a collaboration with SouthWest Organizing Project, Organizers in the Land Enchantment (OLÉ), Native American Voters Alliance (NAVA), El Centro De Igualdad y Derechos, Partnership for Community Action, Generation Justice, and New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community. Youth who participate in the program will be work directly with one of these community organizations.

Youth will participate in a 12-week employment program that will develop their leadership skills, increase their skills for future employment and engage them in improving their community. YES! will provide employment opportunities that allow young people (between the ages of 14-24) to become engaged in community while also being challenged to think critically about the world around them. Through this program they will not only gain valuable job skills but will also develop meaningful relationships rooted in local community organizations that will provide them a home for continued community involvement.

volunteer-early education

Bosque Update on Meetings

Federico Garcia Lorca

To the rallying cry “Bosque que te quiero Bosque” (Bosque, I love you Bosque), over 400 people packed a public meeting sponsored by the City of Albuquerque in response to the Rio Grande Vision (RGV), a pet project of Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. The wildly unpopular plan included plans for a boardwalk, restaurant and paved paths in the Bosque. While the RGV was scaled down to a ten foot-wide path (paved with crusher fine), the community opposed any kind of development within the levees. Working to protect the Bosque is the main focus of the River Writers, OLÉ’s conservation group.

The River Writers incorporate their own origin stories as a way of connecting with the Bosque and the Rio Grande. What started as a simple writing group launched the River Writers into taking immediate action to save the Bosque. At the meeting, held on September 4, 2013, three of the River Writers – Thane Padilla, Vickie Regina and Jeannette Smyth, stood together to demand that the facilitators give ample time to hear from the community. The facilitators, which included staff from both the City as well as design firm Dekker Perich Sabatini, intended to have participants write comments based on posters that showed concepts for the RGV. This tactic, perceived as a way to silence the opposition, was rejected by many in attendance. The River Writers and other allies demanded the opportunity to be heard. For three hours, community members from all walks of life made it abundantly clear that they do NOT want to see any type of development in the Bosque.

The next public meeting was slated to be held on September 18. The City canceled the meeting, but a coalition of community groups including OLÉ held the meeting despite the Mayor’s office’s efforts to silence community voices. With over 200 people in attendance, community members discussed not only their opposition to the Plan but also offered viable, proactive solutions including education and conservation efforts in the Bosque. The following day, OLÉ members delivered over 600 letters and petitions to the Mayor’s office opposing any kind of development in the Bosque.

While the work to save the Bosque from development continues, the River Writers are also focused on outreach to community members, particularly people of color and working class people, to join OLÉ’s conservation efforts.

For more information on joining the River Writers, email Andrea Serrano at aserrano@olenm.org

If you’d like to help and volunteer to continue the fight, click HERE.


Click on the following cause(s) you would like to volunteer for:

We are fighting to make high-quality Early Childhood Education affordable for every child in New Mexico.
We must hold Legislators in Santa Fe accountable to ensure our children enter Kindergarten properly developed and ready to learn.

One of our strategies for comprehensive immigration reform is to encourage more legal residents who qualify for citizenship to go through the process and to help them succeed, so we have more active and engaged immigrant voters in our communities.
Click HERE to find out times/days of classes.
We look forward to meeting you.

We believe that hard work, deserves fair pay and we want to make sure it stays that way in NM.
After helping to raise the minimum wage in Albuquerque and Bernalillo county, we continue the fight to enforce the law and look for opportunities to increase the wage in other parts of the state..


Feel free to fill out a contact form if you would like to get
a hold of someone that way: http://olenm.org/contact/

To see some of the things we have done, feel free to visit and
LIKE our Facebook Page.


What happens when you click?
By clicking on the “Donate Today” button above, you will be sent to secure web page where you can fill out your personal information and the amount you wish to donate to OLÉ. There is no set amount you are required to give, and we appreciate any and all donations given.

Why Donate?
The money you donate will be used towards educating New Mexicans on the important issues that impact working families. We educate the general public by having a year-round canvass that goes door-to-door in local neighborhoods to inform others on specific issues/causes we work on as well as have organizers on staff who go out daily to speak to people directly impacted. The donations received will also go towards the forms, petitions, handouts, advertisements, and much more that are necessary to educate the public on these issues and help reform and better the community that surrounds them.

Thank you for visiting our website and we hope you chose to donate to
the Organizers in the Land of Enchantment, OLE.

If you are more curious to know which campaigns we are specifically working on,
please click HERE to read more.


Learn more about how OLÉ fights to enrich and empower New Mexico’s working families.

OLÉ is a non-profit, who uses grassroots organizing within the local community of working families in New Mexico. Our members and staff work together to strengthen our communities through social advocacy and economic reform, using issue-based campaigns and electoral engagement to ensure that working families are playing a critical role in shaping New Mexico’s future with a united voice.

Issues we are currently working on:


ABQ Democracy Dollars AKA Burque Bucks is a ballot initiative that will help to modernize the city’s current public financing program because they will ensure that participating candidates from all parts of the city can run competitive campaigns based on the strength of their local support, not the size of campaign contribution checks.

LIKE the campaign on Facebook: facebook.com/ABQDemocracyDollars
Visit burquebucks.com for more information.

To join this campaign, please contact: organize@olenm.org


Healthy Workforce ABQ is a ballot initiative that will guarantee earned sick days for every worker in Albuquerque.

Visit healthyworkforceabq.org for more information.
To join this campaign, please contact: organize@olenm.org


Every day OLÉ fights to help New Mexico’s workers win respect, living wages, benefits, and enforcement of worker protections.  Workers are routinely robbed of the wages they have already earned, particularly in Albuquerque, where the Berry Administration has refused to enforce the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance that OLÉ led the campaign to pass with 66% voter approval in 2012 .  That law will give minimum wage workers a raise each and every year, but OLÉ continues to organize workers to fight employers that continue to break the law and underpay their workers.

OLÉ is also working with employees of Walmart to win greater respect and a voice in improving the working environment at Walmart stores.  The effort is part of the national Our Walmart movement.

minimum wage workers

OLÉ also collaborates with the National Domestic Care Alliance to organize domestic workers in New Mexico.  Partnering locally with Encuentro and El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, OLÉ is working with home healthcare providers, housekeepers, and all other types of domestic workers to address the lack of worker protections, such as the exemption in the New Mexico minimum wage statute that doesn’t cover housekeepers.  Home care givers are a growing sector of workers doing increasingly critical work to care for our families, but they receive little training to develop their skills or adequate compensation to allow them to provide for their own families while they care for ours.


OLÉ members work to expand access to early education for every child in New Mexico. QELA (Quality Early Learning Association) represents the unique issues faced by Early Ed Center Owners and Directors. WPA (Working Parents Association) represents the unique issues faced by parents.  Together with Early Educators United (teachers), we are People for the Kids, a coalition of owners/directors, parents and early educators who are working to create access for children and families, raise wages for early educators and ensure that centers flourish.

The Working Parents Association was started by New Mexico parents to build a united voice for working families who want to improve access to to quality affordable childhood and K-12 education because:

Providing a high-quality early education is the best way to make sure that New Mexico’s children succeed in school and throughout their lifetimes.

nm kids nmpol

In order to work or go to school, parents need safe affordable childcare for their children.

Investing in our kids early years will lead to better outcomes for families and
communities statewide.

However, since 2010 the state has slashed family eligibility for subsidized childcare and early education from 200 percent to 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Now thousands of parents are unable to afford safe child care and quality early education. Some parents have given up work. Others are making do with inferior child care that neither educates their children nor provides them with the safe environment that a licensed provider does.

Land Grant Permanent Fund NM

The solution to this problem lies in the Land Grant Permanent Fund. New Mexico has the second largest fund of it’s kind in the nation with $11.5 billion for education. As part of Invest in kids now! We are fighting to pass a constitutional amendment that would use a small percent of the fund for early childhood education. In 2012 we came within one vote of passing the amendment through the legislature. Our members continue to work on this issue and with your help it could pass this year.

Members help by:
– Engaging other parents, family members and community members to fight for quality childcare
– Participating in meetings and events
– Asking your childcare center to support our fight
– Hosting a planning meeting for parents
– Attending meetings with your legislator
– Talking to the press about issues around childcare


OLÉ Members who are permanent residents and ready to apply for citizenship have access to assistance in completing their application, access to a lawyer who reviews all the paperwork and classes to prepare for their exam.  Being new citizens, members have a unique and valuable perspective.

may day parade immigration reform

Citizenship is a path to individual, family, and community strength. In comparison with other immigrants who have not naturalized, new citizens reach many new heights of success. On average, naturalized citizens attain higher education, make more money for their families, and engage in their communities at greater levels.

We assist residents in completing their N-400 naturalization application, offer four weekly citizenship classes to prepare people for their interview and exam, and help them understand how to navigate the USCIS system in order to track their cases.”

The naturalization rate of immigrants who have completed our citizenship classes has been over 95%, historically. (Each naturalization case is different, however, and the past success of OLÉ citizenship students should not be taken as an indication of the likelihood of any applicant’s success in the naturalization process.)

Once our members become citizens, we help them register to vote and become active new participants in our democracy.

The class schedule for Citizenship & ESL classes are as follows:

Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m., 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Thursday 6:00-7:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact OLÉ!


Andrea Serrano
Executive Director

Matthew Henderson
Executive Director
OLÉ Education Fund

To sign up to receive email updates from us, please click HERE.
If you would like to get involved with us in any of these issues, please click HERE.