“I am blessed to be surrounded by caring, committed, and passionate individuals who believe that relationships are essential”
Editor’s Note: We’ve invited ZERO TO THREE Board Member Abel Covarrubias to share his perspectives and reflections with you. Mr. Covarrubias has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2018 and is currently serving his first term on the Board. You can learn more about his work on behalf of children and families in New Mexico and beyond on his bio page on the ZERO TO THREE website.
1. What has it meant to you to be a member of ZERO TO THREE’s Board of Directors?
“Families first” is a core value that is close to my heart. It is through my early experiences and relationships that this value has been cultivated and reinforced. Families first was a value modeled by my community as a child and currently as a CEO of an early childhood program and ZERO TO THREE board member. My family has continued to grow over the years. It started with a family of 11 as a child, my immediate family of five, the Aprendamos Family of Services (203 colleagues), and my ZERO TO THREE family. I am blessed to be surrounded by caring, committed, and passionate individuals who believe that relationships are essential. Through these intentional and meaningful relationships, we grow as individuals, organizations, and early childhood community. As a ZERO TO THREE Board member, I have the opportunity the align the dreams and aspirations of my community, state, and region with the vital work of ZERO TO THREE. Through these connections, we collectively work toward supporting the well-being of babies and toddlers across the country. It is rewarding to be part of a community of families, leaders, educators, and scholars who believe that early connections are essential.
2. What is happening at ZERO TO THREE right now that you are most excited about?
The mindfulness work at ZERO TO THREE is one of many projects that continues to make a difference in the lives of early childhood providers, families, and infants/toddlers. Given the current climate of uncertainty, fear, hope, and optimism, mindfulness becomes essential in the lives of many. The opportunity to pause and acknowledge what we are feeling and thinking and what is occurring around us. It’s about creating some intentional and meaningful spaces between the stimulus and response. Personally, mindfulness has helped me look at life from a lens of abundance. There is beauty and positivity in every situation and environment around us. The landscape surrounding us, traits and characteristics of those we meet, and the gift to impact babies’ lives. The work with infants and toddlers is important, and how we show up impacts our ability to support healthy adult-child relationships. Furthermore, ZERO TO THREE is creating spaces for us to understand how mindfulness can support early childhood development and how professionals use mindfulness in their work. ZERO TO THREE creates learning communities that will positively impact early childhood professionals and the beautiful babies and toddlers we serve.
3. What is something that ZERO TO THREE members, staff, and even other Board Members might be surprised to know about you?
I am a first-generation Mexican-American born to two loving immigrant parents (Jose and Antonia) who valued education. My eight siblings and I grew up in the rural farming community of Arrey, a community of 200 residents who quickly became our extended family. Although I was not the family’s baby, my sibling’s joke that my mother and father treated me like the baby. I am number eight on the hierarchy. My siblings would describe me as a sensitive and caring individual who was always dreaming. As a young child walking along the ditch banks, I dreamed that I would become an educator or doctor one day. I loved using my imagination, which at times would get me in trouble. It would be easy to get lost in my dreams. Especially surrounded by so much beauty. The lush green farmlands are surrounded by the Caballo Mountains and the sound of birds chirping in the background. I would quickly forget that I was irrigating the hayfields and realized that I unintentionally had flooded the neighbor’s road. My father would give me the usual talk but would continue to foster other gifts he saw that I had. He would encourage me to continue studying and completing projects at home. Helping my mom plant her flower garden or repainting rooms in the three-bedroom house my siblings and I shared with Jose and Antonia. My brothers would joke that I ruined too many crops growing up because of excessive water. Especially the onions. Although I did not become a farmer like my brothers, this environment and experience taught me so much. Determination. Respect. Commitment. Humility. The love for nature. Today, I show up to serve my community with so much gratitude. Gratitude to my community for helping shape who I am today; still that sensitive human being who continues to love the beauty around me.