Category Archives: episode

Preventing Family Homelessness

Thursday, September 27  at  7 p.m. on Ch.  5.1

Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in New Mexico. The state is struggling to emerge from the recession that began four years ago with the financial meltdown and housing crisis. That is having a direct impact on its youngest citizens.

More than 16,000 children in New Mexico are homeless over the course of a year. They suffer from hunger and poor physical and emotional health. The stress and trauma of being homeless can significantly hurt their ability to learn and often has long-lasting impacts.

In this month’s Public Square, we talk with parents who have experienced homelessness, as well as shelter providers and advocates. And we’ll explore steps we can take to make sure more families can find secure housing.

Community leaders include Tim Keller and John Ryan, New Mexico State Senators, and Robin Dozier Otten, director of City of Albuquerque’s Family and Community Services Department.

Join us for Public Square where civic dialogue takes center stage Thursday September 27  at 7 pm. on New Mexico PBS 5.1 and Sunday, October 1, at 5:00 pm New Mexico PBS 9.1.

Quotes from Public Square participants:

“If we spend these dollars on programs we know work, we can end homelessness for people in our community.”
Lisa Huval
Policy Director, New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness

“We have nurses, we have teachers who are homeless. The face of homelessness hasn’t really changed. I think it’s just revealing itself in a more clear way.”
Michael Gaylor
Executive Director, Barrett Foundation

“I wake up every day and say ‘Did I really have five kids? Really? What was I thinking’”
Stephanie Paz
Former homeless mother

“Most of us are probably three to four months from homelessness.”
Diana Dorn-Jones
Executive Director, United South Broadway

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Art and At- Risk Youth

Thursday, August 23  at  7 p.m. on Ch.  5.1

What happens when kids get involved in theatre, art, poetry, dance and music? A growing body of research indicates that these activities have profound cognitive impacts on students. They help boost their abilities in reading, memory, and math.

They also increase student engagement. Yet in policy debates, the arts are often views as a luxury rather than a necessity.

In this month’s Public Square, young people, arts professionals and legislators talk about how the participation in the arts helps keep kids engaged in education, and how to continue to offer such opportunities to New Mexico’s youth.

Community leaders include Regina Chavez, Executive Director of Creative Albuquerque, Linda M. López, New Mexico State Senator, and Bill O’Neill, New Mexico State Representative.

Quotes from Public Square participants:

“Art has to be okay for parents to be able to understand it, for communities to be able to embrace it, for it to continue to exist…the overlying reason why art doesn’t in a lot of places is because people are afraid of it.”
Carlos Contreras
Local educator, performer

“When you can show math as it pertains to music…Wow! Suddenly it’s an empowering tool.
Jonathan Wolfe, Ph.D.
Founder of Fractal Foundation

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Teen Suicide

Thursday, July 26  at  7 p.m. on Ch.  5.1
Sunday, July 29 at  5 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

Suicide. It’s a topic many people prefer to avoid, especially youth suicide. But in New Mexico, the rate is about two times the national average. It’s the second leading cause of death for people age 15 to 24 in the state. In Native American communities, the rates are even higher.

Many say the first step to removing the stigma of suicide is to talk about it openly and that is exactly what New Mexico PBS will do.

In this month’s Public Square, we will hear from people who attempted suicide, as well as advocates in treatment and prevention.

They will explore the factors behind New Mexico’s high suicide rates and possible solutions with Catherine Torres, Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, Sen. Linda Lovejoy, and Roxane Spruce Bly, coordinator of Native American Suicide Prevention Clearinghouse.

Quotes from Public Square participants:

“I had to attempt suicide and be hospitalized because I couldn’t admit that I had lost total control over my life.” — Sabrina Strong,  NM Suicide Prevention Coalition, PUBLIC SQUARE participant

“I felt completely isolated…” – Audrey, PUBLIC SQUARE participant

New Mexico PBS’ community partners in this episode are Hogares, Inc. and the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Access to Childcare

Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Sunday, July 1 at 5 p.m. on Ch. 9.1.

It’s rare to find an issue where so many different groups agree, but business owners, child advocates, law enforcement, economists and parents all say investing in children at a very early age is crucial to success later in life. It also means curtailing problems such as drop-out rates, repeating grades, teen pregnancy and incarceration, all of which cost the state much more money. Yet childcare centers are struggling in the economy and a number have closed their doors. State subsidies for low-income parents to access childcare have dropped and many families find themselves unable to afford quality care. But finding consensus on how to fully fund quality early childcare in New Mexico remains elusive.

In this episode, parents, advocates and childcare workers meet with NM Senator Sue Wilson Beffort, Representative Jimmie Hall, and Yolanda Berumen-Deines, Secretary of the Children Youth and Families Department. In a candid conversation, they explore how the state can prioritize funding for its youngest citizens.

Quotes from Public Square participants:

The more you invest in the playpen the more you are going to save in the state pen.
Allen Sánchez
President & CEO, St. Joseph Community Health

If we don’t invest early… we are harming ourselves…
Yolanda Berumen-Deines
Secretary, Children Youth & Families Dept.


Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


The statistics are shockingly high and the impact oftentimes devastating: 1 out of 4 children are bullied every month in the U.S.

Ch.5.1 – Thursday, August 29 at 7 p.m. and
Ch.9.1 – Sunday, September 1 at 5 p.m.

Original Airdate: Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Sunday, April 29 at 5 p.m. on Ch. 9.1

This month, PUBLIC SQUARE engages in a candid discussion about the growing problem of bullying and what is being done to stop it.

Victims of bullying, parents, advocates, education officials, and policy leaders join PUBLIC SQUARE’S new host, Megan Kamerick, in a riveting dialogue.

  • R.J. Mitte, an actor on “Breaking Bad,” a television series filmed in New Mexico, joins the community panel to talk about how he was bullied.
  • Detective Brian Schamber shares an emotional story of how bullying impacted him and still has repercussions on him today.
  • Guests also include State Representative Rick Miera, Kristine Meurer, Director of the Public Education Departments School and Family Support Bureau, and Tonna Burgos, Executive Director of Student Services at Rio Rancho Public Schools.

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

New Mexico Drop Out Rate

One out of every three ninth graders in New Mexico drops out before graduation. Find out why.

Teens talk about why they dropped out—and what brought them back to school in this month’s “Public Square.”

Tune in 5.1 NMPBS: Thursday at 7:00 pm & 9.1 NMPBS: Sunday at 5:00 pm.

In the first half of the show, young people describe some of the challenges that get between them and a high school diploma: working to support their families, becoming parents, falling behind in classes, struggling to get to school and battling boredom. Their stories are surprising, honest and emotional.

In the second half of the show, the students ask some pointed questions—and don’t get all the answers they’re looking for—in a frank conversation with Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, City Councilor Rey Garduno and dropout prevention expert Franklin Schargel.

Hosted by Gwyneth Doland.

Only one place on television lets civic dialogue take center stage.

Special Guests
Hanna Skandera
Secretary of Education
New Mexico
Rey Garduno
City Councilor
Franklin Schargel
Dropout Prevention Expert
Schargel Consulting Group

American Graduate

Opiate / Heroin Addiction

The abuse of prescription painkillers—and heroin—is skyrocketing among Albuquerque teens. It’s an issue that has taken Albuquerque parents, police and school officials by surprise. We’ll learn why doctors are prescribing so many pain pills, hear from recovering addicts about why they switched from prescription drugs to street drugs and hear heartbreaking stories from parents who lost their children to overdoses. We’ll also hear what the city, state and federal officials are doing to combat the problem. Guests include Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, New Mexico Secretary of Health Dr. Catherine Torres, State Senator Dede Feldman and Drug Enforcement Agent Keith Brown.

Tune in Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m. on Channel 5.1 and again Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. on Channel 9.1..

Follow Up Interview December 2012:

In a follow-up to our Public Square on Opiate Addiction, we speak with Jennifer Weiss of the Heroin Awareness Committee and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. The discussion centers on whether progress been made in providing support for those who have been affected by the devastating effects of heroin and opiate addiction?


Many New Mexican families wonder how they are going to put food on their tables and keep their children from going to bed hungry. In this edition of New Mexico PBS’ monthly public affairs program, community members and leadership connect to find solutions to our hunger problems.