The Hope Stories Bibliography 2019 draft features titles discovered over the course of research here in Las Cruces, and highlights many source titles to be used for the final annotated version.

In collecting newspaper and journal articles, book titles and archival source material, even webpage screen-shots (not yet added to the list), it is clear that the tasks now require close trim-and-cut reading and writing.  Not an expert bibliography writer, please comment via email about individual, corresponding, or new sources of relevant information.

Genuine Thanks and appreciation go to Circulation, Inter-Library Loan, and Archives and Special Collection at the NMSU Library in Las Cruces.

Kind Regards to everyone’s holiday travel, and best wishes for the New Year.

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Saint Andrew’s Church Hope

Dr. Nancy McMillan grew up in Las Alamos, New Mexico, an area known as a “Glow in the Dark” scientific community because of its history with radioactive elements and nuclear materials’ production. A youth member of Los Alamos Geological Society to spend time in the outdoors, McMillan established an appreciation for minerals, geology, and the natural environment.

Graduated from New Mexico State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, alongside a Bachelor of Arts in Russian language in that same year, in 1986 McMillan earned a Phd in Geology with an emphasis on Volcanology from Southern Methodist University. Awarded the Dennis W. Darnall Faculty Achievement Award in 2002 at New Mexico State University, McMillan innovated the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) portable Chem-Cam instrument to more accurately and easily analyze geological samples.

A Mesilla Valley Community of Hope cofounder, and board president from 1991-1997, McMillan credits Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church priest Father Jim Galbraith for inspiration to relocate the overburdened day-lunch program which later became El Caldito Soup Kitchen. With little available space for hungry clients visiting the church, including increased service needs at Saint Luke’s Health Clinic, McMillan and others organized, promoted, and fundraised a years-long effort to create an early version of the Consolidated Services Model.

Locally controversial, the relatively experimental idea to relocate homeless services into one centralized area blossomed throughout the 1990s. An example for other homeless communities, according to officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope became possible after McMillan accompanied politician John Paul Taylor to New Mexico’s Legislature in Santa Fe to gather the initial financial support for design, construction, and staffing of the buildings today known as Hope Campus.

Today, access service locations continue to create risks for those without safe and reliable transportation. When experiencing homelessness, traveling on foot from one location to another is dangerous and exhausting, a terrible threat to life especially for youth and the elderly.

Dr. McMillan describes geographic the process of evolution for Health and Human Services fragmentation across the City of Las Cruces.



Narrator Nancy McMillan

Hope Stories 06 –– 1h 16m duration. Recorded 29 June 2018 at NMSU Public History Seminar Room, Breland Hall 258.

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Hacienda del Sol shelter

Raised in Appalachian West Virginia, and inspired by her mother’s belief in the power of education, Nancy Baker rose above the roots of poverty and into an academic career. Dr. Baker earned a PhD from Tulane University in 1989, joined New Mexico State University that same year, and authored numerous scholarly works about law and government in the United States, including two non-fiction titles on the office of U.S. Attorney General –– Conflicting Loyalties: Law and Politics in the Attorney General’s Office, 1789-1990, and General Ashcroft: Attorney at War. A Professor Emeritus with multiple academic honors, including two national teaching awards, Dr. Baker is a recipient of the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Dr. Baker helped establish “Hacienda del Sol,” a shelter for women and children located on the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus. Although the non-profit organization struggled financially and eventually closed in 2006, its history remains an important blueprint of the competing demands necessary to fund and maintain the day-to-day operational growth of homeless shelter services. 

A 2004 Internet Archive post from MVCH’s then homepage shares Hacienda del Sol’s mission statement, which read:

Assist families and women to become stable and self-sufficient by providing housing, support and guidance in a positive environment that promotes lasting change.

In support of higher education for non-traditional women, Dr. Baker created the “Over the Rainbow” scholarship, a Spring-Board fund with Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. In 2015, to increase awareness and outreach efforts for those experiencing homelessness, Dr. Baker became a Development Committee member with the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. 

Now a retired Mystery novelist writing under the name N.V. Baker, the book Vanished was published in 2016.


Dr. Baker concludes the following highlight clip with thoughtful insight about unsheltered men in Las Cruces, and the eventual creation of Camp Hope.


Narrator Nancy Baker

Hope Stories 05 –– 1h 35m duration. Recorded 15 June 2018 at NMSU Public History Seminar Room, Breland Hall 258.

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History Notes

Branigan Cultural Center in Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico

Branigan Cultural Center presents History Notes Thursdays at 1 pm.  The museum is located at 501 North Main Street in Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico.

In introduction of Hope Stories, on September 13th, 2018, my History Notes talk and dialogue encourages thoughtful consideration of charity in Las Cruces, and the origins of today’s Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.

Like all History Notes events, Branigan Cultural Center entrance is free.

Hope Stories History Notes pdf Poster

Hope Stories Bibliography pdf

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