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Posted: October 24, 2023

Head of McKinney-Vento Program Honored for her Advocacy

Cristal Wilson named Nonprofit Leader of the Year for her work with students experiencing homelessness.

The director of Albuquerque Public Schools’ McKinney-Vento Project is being honored by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

The coalition has selected Cristal Wilson as its Nonprofit Leader of the Year for her “dedication to ending homelessness in New Mexico.” The award will be presented at the organization’s Housing for All Conference on Friday.

“NMCEH has been giving awards to outstanding individuals and organizations that are doing amazing work to end homelessness in New Mexico,” said Monet Silva, the coalition’s executive director. “We know that it takes everyone doing their part in order to reach that goal.”

Wilson oversees the APS Title I McKinney-Vento Homeless Program, which assists students experiencing homelessness and their families with everything from food to transportation.

Other services provided include:

  • Enrollment assistance
  • School supplies
  • School uniforms
  • After-school tutoring programs
  • Alphabet Alley Kids preschool and parental support programs
  • Summer experiential and reading/math programs
  • Family Stabilization Program
  • Referrals for housing
  • Referrals to Health Care for the Homeless, APS Clothing Bank, special education, and Child Find

Wilson has been the director of the program since 2022.

“She is one of the most hard-working, dedicated advocates I’ve met in my experience doing this work,” said Penelope Buschardt, executive director of the APS Title I Department. “Her ability to advocate for students and families and the needs that they have is off the charts, and she does it in such a respectful and positive way.”