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NMSU students bring books to Las Cruces' homeless children


ACCOMPANYING PHOTO: Left to right are Jardin de los Niños CEO Michelle Saenz-Adames, Lynn Cole, Hannah Martinez, Operations and Community Engagement Specialist Victoria Roberson, Family Services and Community Health Coordinator Alma Mendoza and Director of Development and Community Engagement Diana O’Brien stand in front of donations collected by Martinez as part of her master’s project at NMSU.

A master's degree in communication studies may not sound magical, but for New Mexico State University graduate student Hannah Martinez, her communication studies project allowed her to bring the stuff of dreams and adventures to children at Jardin de los Niños through hundreds of books.

 The nonprofit provides comprehensive services to homeless and near-homeless children, from the ages of six weeks to 10 years, and their families.

 Recently, Martinez visited Jardin with a trunk-load of books and a $2,000 donation thanks to her strategic communication plan. Her original goal was to raise $1,200 and get 100 books donated, but she exceeded her fundraising goal and tripled the number of books to 300.

“I used social marketing theory as my main strategy in collecting as many books as possible,” Martinez said. “Through this theory, I applied the four P’s which are product, price, place and promotion. The product was book donations and my 100-book goal; the place was the Communication Studies Building book drop-off locations; the promotion included social media posts, flyers and print ads; and the price was an individual's willingness to share my posts and to donate funds, books or both."

Along with books, Martinez donations will fill baskets with necessities like detergent, paper towels, socks, blankets and other household items for families in Jardin’s Adopt-A-Family program.

"Jardin de los Niños provides vital preventive services to homeless/near homeless children and their families,” said Jardin CEO Michelle Adames. “Our Adopt-A-Family Program helps to ensure that our children and families have access to items that support basic needs and educational materials throughout the year."

 "We are incredibly grateful for Hannah’s support and dedication to furthering the mission of Jardin de los Niños,' said Jardin Director of Development and Community Engagement Diana O'Brien. "It’s an honor to have had her choose Jardin for her master’s project. Hannah took the time to gain insight and knowledge in regard to our organization’s services, programs, and needs in order to develop a plan that would be most supportive of our current needs."

 This is not Martinez’s first time partnering with a community organization. Her history of outreach and community service began with her time in the NMSU sorority Delta Gamma, where she held two positions that focused on philanthropy events.

 “As I child I never needed to worry about where my family and I were going to sleep or if we were going to get to celebrate Christmas or birthdays," Martinez said. "I have always been aware that not all children or families had that privilege and now that I am older and have the resources, I want to contribute to the community in a positive way and help those who need it.”

Visit jardinlc.org/ and give.jardinlc.org/campaign/adopt-a-family-2022/c433203.