HEART of Saguache/KV is excited to begin this year with an announcement of our new partnership with the Colorado Health Foundation. Through funding provided by two major multi year grants HEART will be launching a San Luis Valley Youth Leadership initiative while expanding our advocacy work and cultural programming to bring resources and enrichment to the Valley. HEART is working with partners in Saguache County, throughout the Valley, and state wide to advance health equity in our community.
HEART (Health Equity Action Resident Team) of Saguache/KV was founded in 2015 by adults and youth in Saguache and the KV committed to listening, learning, educating, and activating around issues that have challenged our community for generations. In our first five years the resident team focused on meeting with individuals and groups in our community for expansive conversations about historical experiences, current challenges, and future visions for Saguache and our region. Through this process, HEART came to focus on working with Mountain Valley School on providing resources for a Student to Career Pathway, which included STEAM days, a career fair, college visits, career cabs for middle school students, and career awareness in the elementary school. HEART brought in classes for residents through the Family Leadership Training Institute and the Community Leaders in Health Equity Series. HEART worked to support broadened resident participation in civic decision making and hosted community conversations. HEART partnered with Saguache County and the Town of Saguache to program events including our annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Christmas in July, Thanksgiving Community Dinner, and Sharing Christmas. HEART partnered with Social Services and the Northern Saguache County Fire and Ambulance District to host Health and Safety Resource Fairs and training for emergency readiness. HEART supported the KV Estates community to secure funding from CHFA for a KV greenhouse and garden. HEART partnered with the Saguache Senior Citizens to enhance the Senior Center. HEART partnered with The Range and Sisters of Color United for Education to host exhibitions and workshops for intergenerational art and culture projects.
During Covid, HEART secured funding to provide emergency food to seniors, partnered with Alpine Achievers and Cooking Matters to distribute take home family activities for MVS students, partnered with South Central Seniors to provide ongoing fresh produce boxes, produced videos of cultural activities to share online, hosted community job fairs and career readiness training, and partnered with SLV FLTI and CSU Extension to provide virtual FLTI courses. We partnered with Alpine Achievers on a summer food program. We facilitated vaccine clinics with Saguache County Public Health. We co-hosted a memorial exhibition at The Range for Pete Garcia, a founding member of our Resident Team that named HEART of Saguache/KV.
Moving forward HEART is focused on regional coalition building to increase health equity and cultural belonging in the San Luis Valley. HEART is piloting a Health Equity Youth Alliance to bring together young people from Saguache, San Luis, and Antonito in partnership with Move Mountains and Antonito Together Youth Council. HEART is partnering with the San Luis Valley American Indian Center on education and health programs. HEART is partnering with The Range on workshops and exhibitions. HEART is partnering with the Town of Saguache on an activity memorial wall for Floyd Smith Children’s Park and on a portable community stage.
HEART extends many thanks to our Resident and Leadership Team members, and to all our community volunteers, supporters, and partners. We thank the Colorado Health Foundation for their transformational funding that gives our work momentum moving forward. We thank our funders and partners at The Colorado Trust, Saguache County, Town of Saguache, Mountain Valley School, KV Estates HOA, Northern Saguache Fire and Ambulance District, Saguache County Sheriff’s Department, Saguache Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Garcia Post, Saguache Town Market, The Oasis, The Village Pub, The Range, Saguache Works, Mountain Valley Lumber, Powerzone, Northern Saguache Library District, Saguache County Museum, Alpine Achievers, St. Agnes Church, Saguache United Methodist Church, Saguache Baptist Church, Adelante San Luis, Antonito Together, Valley Wide Health Services, Eagle Air Med, Rio Grande Hospital, The National Guard, Western Colorado University, Adams State University, Trinidad State College, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, San Luis Community Foundation, Aventa Foundation, First Southwest Bank, San Luis Valley Federal Bank, and Rio Grande Savings and Loan. Special thanks to all of our community members that have contributed their vision, time, ideas, and financial support to our programs and fundraisers. We look forward to celebrating with you this spring!