Locally-focused Work: Pueblo
The Foundation’s community engagement approach is complemented through our locally-focused work, where we spend a great deal of time in individual communities. Pueblo County is one of nine communities that the Foundation is working locally as a way to get to know these places and the people who live there in a deep and meaningful way. This local focus approach on specific communities allows us to build relationships, make connections, learn about and support long-term efforts that emphasize community-informed, collaborative solutions to health barriers. Why? Because when ideas are generated at a local level, they are more likely to reflect the community’s needs and create lasting change.
So what does our work look like in Pueblo?
Pueblo has its own unique assets and barriers when it comes to health. For us, working starts with listening and learning more about what really matters to the people of Pueblo. Chris Smith, the initial program officer working in this community, was central to this effort but has since transitioned out of the Foundation. Program officer Charles Reese has stepped into the role to support locally-focused work unfolding in Pueblo.
The basis of the work in Pueblo involved getting to know the community, while also identifying opportunities like: supporting local efforts to improve health; building the capacity of local institutions; working to improve policies and systems; championing local leadership; and helping stimulate broad civic engagement.
Charles is continuing to partner with the community to harness this energy so that Pueblo is a place where everyone who calls the city “home” has health in reach. His work takes shape through conversations, partnerships and collaborative endeavors with a range of community members.
Over the past few years, the Foundation has partnered with institutions like the Center for Creative Leadership, which works with individuals to customize and develop their unique leadership style and work better together. The Foundation also partners with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all kids have a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive. Through these collaborations, local leaders are building their skills for greater impact and the community is creating new spaces for children to safely play. We also work with Civic Canopy to help harness the power that already exists. The Civic Canopy offers a range of services to organizations in Pueblo such as coaching, advising, coordination, facilitation, resource sharing and other types of capacity building.
During a 2018 series of events, we had the chance to hear directly from community members. We gathered information and feedback throughout the set of events and used that to work more collaboratively and effectively while strategizing towards a healthier Pueblo. Read about Chris’ experience.
If you have ideas on how to create a healthier community or questions about the Foundation, please contact Charles Reese Jr., program officer or call him directly at 303-953-3657.
Activities in Pueblo
The Foundation has developed partnerships with a range of organizations in Pueblo, and has provided financial support for several efforts including those below.
- Catholic Charities, Diocese of Pueblo
Funding will support resiliency services and support for at least 80 youth ages 14-18 in Pueblo’s foster care and juvenile justice systems, with the intent to increase resiliency resulting in reduced youth depression, suicide, substance use and violence.
- Friendly Harbor’s Community Outreach Program
Funding will support increased quality peer specialist support services to those with mental health and substance use conditions and their families, including an outreach program that would serve individuals who are difficult to reach.
- Posada’s Housing Development Work
Funding will support the acquisition and rehabilitation of an existing building in south Pueblo into Sunset Senior Holistic Housing, to include 17 age-restricted units of housing affordable to low-income seniors.
- Pueblo Art Alliance’s Impact Youth Initiative
A youth council of Pueblo County high school students are working with support from the Pueblo Arts Alliance to activate and engage young people, visitors, business owners and others in the Pueblo Creative Corridor through creative art installations and art-focused placemaking activities.
KaBOOM! Playground Builds
On Oct. 13, 2018, Donley Park, a park located on the city’s westside, was transformed by volunteers into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground in a matter of hours. You can read more about the project here.
On Nov. 3, 2018, Leidigh Park, a park located in southwest Pueblo, was similarly transformed by volunteers into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground in a single day. The new park provides a safe, accessible place to play for more than 1,500 kids in the surrounding communities.