Several dozen adults and a few young children gathered at MECA Therapies in Hobbs Monday morning to formally celebrate the opening of MECA’s building at a new location on the Lovington Highway.
Jeff Flores, CEO and co-owner of the business, said he his wife Roberta, found a building in Hobbs when they opened at their former location further north on the Lovington Highway when they opened their business in Hobbs several years ago. They quickly outgrew that first facility.
“We started with 20 clients and now we have nearly 300,” Flores said. “We outgrew that building almost immediately and started looking for another one. And we got this one and it is already almost too small, but there is room in the back for expansion when we begin to offer outpatient services here for older children.”
At the present time, MECA therapists do their work in the homes of their clients. At their home visits they provide whatever therapy the child needs and work with parents and guardians to continue those therapies between visits. If the expansion plan comes to fruition, services for older children will be offered on site.
Among the therapies offered in clients’ homes are speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy, Flores said.
“But right now we can work only with children zero to three years old. We’re working for certification that will let us work with children up to 20 years old,” Flores said.
John and Natasha McRae, parents of a seven-year-old boy named Gavin, are among the parents who want the continuing services of MECA.
“We came to MECA because Gavin was developmentally delayed,” John McRae said.
“And now he’s in regular classes at school,” Natasha said. “He has to have lots of help at school and we want him back in the MECA program because they helped him so much earlier.”
Providing early intervention for children with disabilities is the goal Roberta and Jeff set for themselves when they opened their first business. Jeff was a special education teacher and Roberta was a speech therapist. Together they saw the need for services that a company like MECA could provide.
“We wanted to offer services to the entire community,” Roberta said. “We named the business MECA, which stands for MultiCultural Education Associates and it just spread.”
Jeff, who in addition to co-owning MECA, is a farmer/rancher, said they could have started their business in a more heavily populated area.
“But I don’t believe it’s luck that brought us to out to rural New Mexico,” he said. “The people here are hard working people who need access to the help we can provide. And what MECA is about is helping people.”
Daniel and Amanda Allison, are among the hundreds of New Mexico families helped by MECA. They were at the ribbon cutting with their son, Lucas, who is 2 1/2 years old.
“He was severely behind in his development,” Amanda said. “We have three other children and one of them has Rett Syndrome, so were watching for anything that wasn’t right. He wasn’t talking or doing several other things that he should have been doing.”
“But now he’s talking and doing most things he should be doing and when he turns three he’ll go to pre-school in Hobbs,” Daniel said.
“I don’t know what we would have done without MECA,” Amanda added.
Jeff Flores said when he and Roberta started the business, “All we really wanted was to take care of our family. And now we’re taking care of so many families. That’s what we want to do.”
In order to reach parents whose children need the services MECA can provide, Flores said he will be meeting with health care providers at both area hospitals in the near future.
Earlier this month, Libby Plant, MECA’s regional director, said the organization has placed educational materials at physicians’ offices through out the area so people can learn what services MECA offers.
Parents who have concerns about whether their children are developing at the proper rate can pick up a brochure at the MECA office at 2424 N. Lovington Highway and make their own informal assessments of their child’s development. If they need a formal assessment, they can make an appointment for a free screening or evaluation by calling 575-522-9500.