The Ecosystem of Support; the Ecosystem of Need
by Devon Hoffman
I’ve served as JJAB’s Executive Director for over six months now; I am still wrapping my mind around the extent of this program’s role and impact within Los Alamos. Our impact is vast: from the programs we offer in-house—our Resource Specialists, Restorative Justice, One Circle, and the Imagination Library—to the programs we support in the community—Youth Mobilizers, Arts and Resiliency, Natural Helpers, SMART Recovery, Community Conversations, the Trans and Nonbinary Family Support Group, as well as any emerging needs we may be supporting at any given time. Each of these offers its own metrics, its own impressive results. But, taken together, they offer something even greater: an ecosystem of support, for which it is hard to overstate the benefits.
That said, we are nowhere near Mission Accomplished. To fully accomplish JJAB’s mission—that is, the application of resources through innovative direct services and collaborative networks that engage and support the youth and families of Los Alamos—we would need to see JJAB’s vision at work in the lives all Los Alamos’ youth: resiliency, meaningful connections, and the capacity to thrive. We know there are so many families facing numerous complex difficulties and our ecosystem, however extensive, may not be enough to resolve these challenges.
Throughout my short time here, my message to the community has been consistent: JJAB cannot resolve the challenges of this community on its own; we need everyone to join the effort in their own way. And I have seen how involved Los Alamos is, how hard people work to resolve the needs. Yet, even if all Los Alamos were completely unified and empowered to addressing our needs, the scope of these needs may continue to outpace our ability to meet them. This is the humbling thing about our work: it is never finished. But within the great ecosystem of need, we maintain (and continually improve!) our ecosystem of support—and we are grateful to catch those moments when our vision is realized.