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The Voice of La Puente provides an opportunity for the staff and guests to share their stories and reflections. It is a chronicle of life at La Puente Home, designed to inform and enrich our readers. The primary purpose of this journal iseducation and inspiration. We do nonetheless, have a year-round need for financial support. La Puente could not keep its doors open without the financial help from our community far and wide. We at La Puente have worked hard to develop a continuum of compassionate services and are tremendously grateful for the financial gifts, the volunteer hours, and material contributions that make our work possible. Thank you for your part.

Layout and editing by Caitie Ryan-Norton and Lares Feliciano. Thanks to O&V Printing in Alamosa for your support! Some names have been changed to protect anonimity. La Puente is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

www.lapuente.net info.lapuente@gmail.com 719.589.5909 Become a fan of La Puente on Facebook to stay up to date on current happenings!

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The Voice of La Puente


La Puente endeavors to meet immediate needs and empower people to live independently, with dignity. We provide emergency shelter, food assistance, transitional housing, self-sufficiency services, homeless prevention, community outreach services and job training for the homeless and other community members in crisis.

Stories Editor - Caitie Ryan-Norton....................4 Director - Lance Cheslock.......................6 Shelter - Weston McConnell...................10 Outreach - Kaytee Kinsey........................12 Adelante - Lares Feliciano.......................14 PALS - Sarah Scott...................................16 Food Bank - Stacey Hoang......................18 Community Gardens - Kenny Fischer......20 Rainbow’s End - Rich Stepp....................22 Seedme - Chloe Makarick........................23 Milagros - Rahel Makda...........................24 VolCom - Brandon Silver..........................26

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Caitie’s Corner

I’ve found that the statement that “man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward” by Maxwell Maltz to be particularly true as I explore my position within La Puente. Coming from a family of community organizers working with people on social justice issues has always been a calling for me, and when looking at programs and job opportunities La Puente seemed to fit. The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity for me as I learn to balance myself within the organization. Understanding balance has been an interesting challenge for me as my workload changes weekly and sometimes daily.

“Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.” - Maxwell Maltz In the Volunteer Coordination and Community Education office we have to be able to share information about all of La Puente’s programs with our community. Gathering information to share can take many different forms, but one of the best ways is being able to spend a little bit of time in most of the programs. Sometimes I visit the programs on my own, but most often I find the time when I am coordinating a

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work group and join them during their service time. Work groups, to me, are the most fulfilling part of my position, bringing a burst of energy and an eagerness to learn and challenge themselves. There are countless hours spent planning a group’s service trip, and no matter how much time is spent coordinating activities something is bound to change. The work groups I have led so far have breezed through the changes with an even keel, which I am eternally grateful for. In addition to completing service projects throughout the organization I always plan service learning projects for my groups to dig deeper into the reasons why they are volunteering their time here at La Puente. Activities and discussions on topics surrounding homelessness, immigration, and hunger always render a new perspective on the work we are doing here at La Puente, not only for my work groups, but for me. I am grateful for this evolving perspective which allows me to continually evaluate my service, finding the mission of La Puente more powerful in working with each work group as I see them embrace the dignity of all those we serve. As you read the stories on the following pages I hope you are able to find as much inspiration as I do when serving with volunteers.

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“Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love.�

Invierno 2013

-Lao Tzu

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Roots of La Puente: Maria Chavez Lance Cheslock, Executive Director Back in June of 1989, when I first started working at La Puente, I was training under Maria Chavez, ringmaster of the three ring La Puente circus. She was orienting me to the kitchen while preparing beans and rice for about 55 people expected for the noon meal. When I looked in the refrigerator and cupboard shelves for some vegetables to prepare, I found nothing there. I asked Maria about it, and she said “Don’t worry, Lance, I’ll think of something.” A few minutes later, I watched Maria dart out into the back alley with a large pot, which she began filling with wild vine-like plants

Verdolagas or Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Photo courtesy of plantasnet.com.

that she pulled from the alley edges. “Verdolagas!” she exclaimed, “This is what the ‘little’ people eat. It’s our native spinach!” The plants looked like weeds to me, but soon she had enough to cook. She washed the verdolagas thoroughly, added a

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few spices and some lemon juice, and heated them up just in time for the lunch crowd. I curiously watched as everyone ate “verdolagas.” This was my first realization that life would be austere at La Puente. Maria knew how to live on next-to-nothing and she mentored me in her unique style of stewardship and resourcefulness. Maria passed away this October, leaving a legacy of many memories. Maria gained a unique understanding and wisdom from the migrant camps and streets; a perspective which corrected my idealistic views of local poverty and culture. One staff meeting where we were evaluating the goals and progress of shelter guests, I questioned the resources of a fellow who had fallen off the wagon and began drinking again. “If he can afford that much alcohol,” I questioned, “Doesn’t he have the resources to pay some rent and move out?” Maria quickly responded, “Lance, just because he is drinking, don’t think that he has any money.

The Voice of La Puente


Anyone can find someone to provide the booze, as there are a lot of lonely people needing company in their drinking. We can’t just decide on his fate because of that kind of reasoning.” We ended up having the fellow dry out at Detox, enroll in out-patient counseling, and when he was stable, begin his job hunt. Maria had worked in both the lettuce and potato fields, and developed a deep love and understanding of migrant farmworkers, many which needed La Puente’s assistance. I remember a September shelter meeting where

Celebrating at Maria’s retirement party.

we were discussing the new influx of migrants. Maria had taken the previous two weeks off to

Winter 2013

visit friends and family in Arizona. The meeting was her first day back, and though I shouldn’t be surprised, she had learned more information about the 2 dozen new arrivals during her “vacation” in Arizona, than anyone else

“Maria gained a unique understanding and wisdom from the migrant camps and streets; a perspective which corrected my idealistic views of local poverty and culture.” could offer at the meeting. Maria was intricately tied into the network of migrant farmworker life. Maria could also sell anything. We used her skill and held yard sales throughout the summer to make a few dollars for food and gas vouchers. My first office at La Puente doubled as a bedroom for shelter guests, as well as a repository for donated goods, such as clothing and knick knacks.

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One Saturday I came in to work on a half-finished grant, and discovered the red notebook I had put it in was missing. Sure enough, it had sold for 10 cents at the yard sale! Maria hollered “¡Híjole!” and ran down the alley. She found the fellow carrying it off, and then scolded me to “be more careful the next time!” Maria was compassionate and someone you could truly rely on. She always made it a point to visit people at the jail and write letters to those in prison farther away. After she retired, I learned the accounts of many shelter guests I had asked to leave. Apparently,

she secretly made floor space available at her house and fed them when she got home from La Puente. Though I was troubled when I heard that, I knew that if I ever had an urgent need, such as getting my car out of a ditch, Maria would be one of the first people I would call for help. Maria would not judge my circumstance and she would have the determination and resourcefulness to get me the help I needed! Maria, your life was a blessing to so many. Thank you for your light and compassion: gifts relevant to this Christmas season.

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For me every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and can look at his or her smile.

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-Elie Wiesel

La Voz de La Puente

Guests after lunch at the Shelter.


The Holiday Prayer The sidewalks and the roadways have now become my home Since misfortune somehow found me I’ve been wandering alone The coldness and the darkness of every passing night Leads me to a shelter, that for tonight feels alright You’d not think it’s perfect, it’s loud and space is tight But if they have a bed for me, it’s perfect for this night I’m tired, cold and hungry, my body’s wracked with pain But I’m just a broken spirit, not a person gone insane So look at me this Christmas, and thank your lucky stars That you have what you have, and do not bare all these scars And if the moment strikes you, that to give is to receive Then you are that one person that helps me to believe I believe that I will conquer all that fate has dealt to me And I’ll never give up trying, I believe in humanity So while you sit with family gathered ‘round your Christmas tree And open Santa’s presents, I hope you’ll think of me If there’s one gift you can give me I will tell you what I’d like It’s not a giant castle, it’s not a brand new bike A prayer is all I ask for, a prayer that asks the Lord To bless those here beside me: the broken, beat, the poor Ask that He please hear you in your Christmas prayer And bless all souls who suffer so lost and in despair For myself I ask you nothing except this one small prayer So won’t you take a moment, bow your head and show you care

Invierno 2013

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A Veteran’s Way Home Weston McConnell, Shelter and Veterans I first found out about La Puente 3 years ago when a buddy of mine came as an AmeriCorps member. I had the amazing opportunity of coming out and volunteering for about a month with him. So in January, 2013 when he texted me that the shelter really needed another volunteer I jumped on the opportunity immediately!

“I know we run a pretty tight ship around here, but I never thought anyone would ever say we were the best.” Since January I have been serving full time at the shelter and running the Veterans Program. For those of you who don’t know, La Puente Home has run a VA sponsored Per Diem Program since 2011. The Veterans program allows homeless veterans that have served their country with honor to stay at our shelter for up to 2 years. The program involves intensive case management, working closely with social services to allow veterans to reach a self-sufficient lifestyle.

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One veteran that I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know is Daniel Guevin. Daniel served our country in the US Army during peacetime. Daniel had used our services in the past so it was nice to welcome him back to Alamosa. When I asked him why he came back to Alamosa he told me flat out: “La Puente is the best shelter in the nation.” This statement blew me away! I know we run a pretty tight ship around here, but I never thought anyone would ever say we were the best. When Daniel returned to La Puente he came with a dire health need. See, Daniel has 4th stage colon cancer and the doctors have given him only months to live. We had been working on getting Daniel government benefits so he could enjoy his remaining time but the government shutdown that lasted over two weeks made it difficult to contact benefits representatives and get updates on his applications. Over the months I got to know Daniel and we talked about a menagerie of things including places we’ve been and government reform. If there was one thing that I have gleaned from our conversations it was that

The Voice of La Puente


you should never give up, even in the face of adversity! I think that’s what I appreciate the most about Daniel: a spirit of hope. Most people would have thrown in the towel if they were in his situation but Daniel never did. He was one to always have the courage to push through and make the best of his situation. Daniel is one of many homeless veterans in this nation who served their country with bravery and dignity. Let us not be blind to all the homeless veterans of this nation who too easily fall through the cracks and are forgotten. Thankfully Daniel was able to save up enough money to move back East to spend his remaining time with his family and friends. Hygiene Kits, 938

Daniel at the shelter.

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Nights Stayed, 9,682

Meals Served, 39,766

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Meals served, nights stayed, and hygiene kits provided at the shelter from January - October 2013.

Winter 2013

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The Art of Healing

Kaytee Kinsey, Outreach Case Manager Patrick, I think the first My name is Kaytee, and I work in thing that you realize the homeless prevention arm of is how truly friendly La Puente, the Outreach Service and animated he is. He Center as a case manager for always has an rental assistance. Most people entertaining story to who come through our doors have share, many about his own life to leave their pride outside as experiences. What I noticed early their hands clutch a disconnect on was that notice despite or an whatever eviction hardships notice – Patrick a reality encounters, that is he usually pretty finds a terrifypositive ing. I am spin to privleged the story to meet and does many not dwell people on the from all negatives. walks of Which, can life that Patrick at home with his artwork. be especially difficult if you come through our are facing an eviction notice, as it office, and I get to learn their was in Patrick’s case. stories – sometimes these stories are heartbreaking, and other One way that Patrick is trying to times they are filled with hope. make ends meet is through his artwork. From the first time I met Patrick, one of my recent clients him he spoke of the artwork he is one whose story fills me with creates. Patrick has been creating hope. Patrick is a Marine Corps artwork for his whole life and he Veteran, and served during the attended college for art after his Vietnam Era, he later became a injury. firefighter in California and was Later, as he experienced injured on the job making it hard homelessness and poverty he for him to find future made his own charcoal out of employment. When you meet

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burned wood. Art is his passion. I was amazed at how beautiful Patrick informed us that he is his artwork is, and I am incredibly showing his artwork at Milagros excited for people to see how Coffee House talented one of our “Sometimes these during the month clients is. stories are of December. He is incredibly heartbreaking, and I think that many times excited and other times they are we, here at La Puente, optimistic about his are grateful for the filled with hope.” donors. We truly are – it art show. Milagros features artists and their is how we can afford to serve the artwork every month, and Patrick community of the San Luis Valley. had been planning on showing his However, our clients try in their artwork even before he realized own ways to give back to us, and that he was in need of rental in a way, back to the community. assistance. When I did a routine A portion of the profit from any housing inspection to see if he artwork that Patrick sells at Milaqualified for rental assistance, gros will be donated back to La Puente – his way of supporting an Medical, 118 Rental, 48 organization that helped him when he needed it. If you have a chance to stop by Milagros during the month of December to support an artist and our organization, please do. Utilities, 906

Number of households Outreach assisted from January - October 2013.

Just One Gift Campaign

Outreach provides a gift for every individual who comes to the annual Christmas Party held at La Puente Home. This year help Outreach meet their goal of providing one gift per person. You can donate by adding items to the Just One Gift bin at Wal-mart in Alamosa, or sending your donation directly to Outreach, 929 State Street, Alamosa, CO 81101.

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Please donate by December 19th.

Invierno 2013

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Stories of Hope

Lares Feliciano, Community Education Director Adelante is the quiet and leader powerhouse of La Puente, slowly Marguerite Salazar, and steadily empowering families Valley native Bill to be independent and in control Manzanares and his of their dreams. With as many as wife, Latino 15 families at a given time, advocate Rita Jaramillo, and Adelante nurtures both couples Adelante couple Tiffany and and individuals with children Winfred Sandoval. Bill spoke for two full years to not only about growing pull them out of “No matter where you up in San Luis homelessness but with minimal come from or what you comforts and to provide them with intensive case have struggled with you minimal goals management and can achieve greatness if for the future. support to keep you believe in yourself, “During my early them out of days I doubted your dreams, and your myself,” said homelessness. ability to persevere.” Bill. “I didn’t set In an effort to get my goals high the word out about the work of enough. Every step of my career Adelante, we planned the I was thrust into jobs that at first I didn’t think I could do. I know now the importance of seeking your goals and always setting them high.”

Guests at the Adelante Made in the SLV Event.

This was the theme of the evening: that no matter where you come from or what you have struggled with you can achieve greatness if you believe in yourself, your dreams, and your ability to persevere.

first-ever Evening of Storytelling with Adelante. While enjoying dinner and wine, members of the community came together and heard stories from local advocate

Tiffany and Winfred Sandoval came to the San Luis Valley in May of this year from their home on the Navajo Reservation, they traveled to the Valley for one

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The Voice of La Puente


month every year to work harvest. In New Mexico they lived in a 320 square foot home with their three children and had no electricity or running water. The Valley was the only other place they knew, so they took the leap to come here in search of a better life. Within two weeks of moving to Alamosa, the Sandoval family was introduced to Dores Jay-Pang, Director of Adelante. “She asked me what my goal was,” said Tiffany. “I said all I want is to finish my GED and get a decent job to support my family.” Soon after their first meeting, Adelante called the Sandoval Family back to the office. “It was May 23rd, a date I will always remember. They gave us keys, dishes, and food to take home.” Since then both Tiffany and Winfred have completed their GEDs and are now in school. Tiffany is pursuing a Medical Assistant degree at Trinidad State Junior College and Winfred is pursuing his commercial driver’s license.

A story card at the Adelante Made in the SLV Event.

Tiffany and Winfred’s pride and gratitude were infectious. By the end of the night everyone was sharing their own stories of growth and perseverance. Adelante understands this essential part of the human experience: that no one is perfect and we are all learning to walk the path of our own life’s journey. And it is through storytelling that we learn and grow, together.

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Tiffany and Winfred with their daughter at an Adelante class.

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A Listening Exercise Sarah Scott, PALS

There’s a point in every PALS leader’s day when the building is completely quiet. This almost always happens around 2 p.m., when we’ve already cleaned, cooked, and set up for the day, but it isn’t time to pick up the kids yet. It was during one of these times that I started perusing some teaching and childcare books in the PALS office. I sat down and started reading How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. As I read several chapters I noticed an intriguing theme kept popping up: don’t ask kids why they are upset, don’t ask them what happened to make them angry or sad, instead simply reflect their feelings. Say “I can see that you are upset,” or “you look really angry.”

Young children do not have the same vocabulary as adults do. Imagine someone coming up and demanding that you explain why you are angry or sad, when you don’t know the words. You’d feel even more frustrated! However, reflecting a child’s feelings lets them put a word to their emotions, and therefore lessens their frustration. This concept was reinforced at a workshop on play therapy led by Dr. Gary Landrodth: reflect, don’t ask. The next day I was able to test this technique on one of our PALS kids, I’ll call him Joey. When Joey gets upset he tends to simply shut down. Whenever Joey did this

PALS making artwork at Ventero Press.

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before I did what came naturally to me, I asked him “what’s wrong?” or “why are you upset?” Joey would barely ever respond to this, I almost always just let him stand there and after a while he would calm down. One day he was doing this and instead of asking him “why are you upset?” I said “hey, you seem very upset honey.” To my complete surprise he turned to me and started telling me all about his

concerns, and move on with his day without shutting down. Since then I’ve been using this

“Reflecting a child’s feelings lets them put a word to their emotions, and therefore lessens their frustration.”

technique with the other kids, and while not always successful, it has definitelyhelped strengthen my relationships with them This is just one example of how much I’ve learned in just these two months, and how I can make a difference in a child’s life, even if it is a small one.

problems with other PALS kids being mean to him and the trouble he’d gotten in at school. It worked like a charm! Joey was able to open up to me, voice his

A PAL talking with a big buddy.

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PALS in their new bus, donated to the program this fall.

Invierno 2013

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The Starfish Story Stacey Hoang, Food Bank

In the short time I have served with La Puente, I have thought of the Starfish Story every day. It begins with an older man taking a walk on the beach. Along the shore, he comes upon a young girl picking up starfish and throwing them into the ocean. The older man asks the girl what she is doing. She replies, “The sun is coming up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw these starfish back into the ocean, they’ll never survive.” The older

girl bends down and throws another starfish into the ocean and says, “It made a difference to that one.” A few weeks ago, I was blessed enough to experience a real life version of the Starfish Story, except with potatoes. This real life version came in the form of a group from Pikes Peak United Methodist Church. I know that they will be the most inspiring and

A work group volunteer gleaning potatoes in Center, CO.

man still doesn’t understand and tells her, “There are hundreds and hundreds of starfish along the beach. There’s no way you can make a difference.” With this, the

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unforgettable group I will meet while serving with La Puente. These volunteers, now all over the age of 60, have each been coming to glean with the Alamosa Food

The Voice of La Puente


Bank’s Gleaning Project for up to 20 years. They are always

“Every single act of kindness, love, care, and compassion makes a difference.”

Potatoes waiting to be gleaned.

determined and excited to help, even though it took me an hour to find the right potato field. Amazingly, with only six people gleaning for an hour and a half, we were able to bring back 400 pounds of potatoes to the Food Bank. The Gleaning Project brings fresh, local produce to the hungry in our community by rescuing the food that harvesting machines leave behind in the fields. Every single abandoned potato rescued from the field makes a difference in the lives of people experiencing hunger in the Valley. Although a

single potato doesn’t seem like much, it still means that one person will not go hungry that day. Every single act of kindness, love, care, and compassion makes a difference. We may not be able to end poverty or find world peace with these single acts, but we all have the ability to bring light, inspire hope, and change a small part of this world, for at least one person. We all belong to each other and we all have something to give to this world, even if it seems as small as gleaning a single potato.

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Stocking shelves at the Alamosa Food Bank.

Winter 2013

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The Chard is in the Air Kenny Fischer, Gardens Coordinator Yes, Fall Garden Lessons and Stone Soup have come and gone for the 2013 school year. And it wouldn’t be a garden lesson without nearly 1,000 Elementary school students each trying a piece of Swiss Chard from their school garden. It’s not only one of the most nutrient rich greens we can eat, it’s also beautiful, versatile and apparently appealing to youngsters. To everyone reading this I ask: When was the last time you heard of 1,000 children willingly eating fresh greens out of a garden? Why do we assume kids won’t eat their veggies? Is it because they tell us they won’t? Or because so many of us don’t? Or is it because they rarely have the opportunity to experience what fresh produce truly tastes like? Answer: All of the above. However, if adults are more willing to try healthy foods then our children will as well. The sooner kids get into a garden,

A student adds vegetables to the stone soup.

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the sooner they’ll appreciate the values and wonders fresh produce has to offer. They become more willing to try new things, get their hands dirty and explore the possibilities through growing their own food. The rewards are too many to mention and priceless to receive.

“This stone and boiling water will make the best soup you have ever tasted.” -Stone Soup Here at VEGI (Valley Educational Gardens Initiative) we are very proud of this accomplishment. Not only did the students have a chance to explore their school garden but they were also able to harvest their own vegetables for Stone Soup, an annual event where students read Stone Soup and and make some of their own. This year was a HUGE success. Students and teachers alike raved about the soup. But more importantly about 500 K-2 students ate a full bowl of vegetable soup.

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No meat, No dairy, and No Processed foods. Just Fresh, Healthy, Delicious, and Nutritious Vegetables out of their very own school garden. Stone Soup truly brought the children’s gardening experience full circle. After harvesting, washing and cutting the greens and veggies students were able to place a spoonful into a giant pot of boiling water and later come out and enjoy the soup that THEY made! Students came back for 2nd’s, 3rd’s and even 4th’s they liked it so much. And though we were pleased and excited about this experience, the students truly took pride in it. Along with that they showed great interest in the gardens and expressed their

eagerness to get back out there again. In the spring they get to do just that and replant their garden! During WWII, the federal government encouraged people to grow their own Victory Gardens. In that time, over 20 million American families had gardens, and produced over 40% of all fresh produce consumed in the US!! We’d love to see that kind of empowerment happen for people again today, and it can start in our own backyards and school yards. VEGI’s approach of teaching people to grow their own food is the long-term solution to fighting hunger and malnutrition throughout the valley and beyond.

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t (IPad) *E-Table s Drill s *cordle bit manure ab /goat/r arden tools *horse dg en-size *childr int (all kinds) *pa s supplie *paint Pastor Allen Klein Deters reads Stone Soup to students.

Invierno 2013

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Revamped and Ready

Rich Stepp, Rainbow’s End Alamosa Manager Well the last seven months have flown by with a number of interesting challenges. Getting to know my staff, and even bigger, getting to know the community. It all starts in the back every morning with Glenn D. Williams, receiving and processing donations. We have spiritual conversations about the world and where we are in it. I truly cherish these moments. Getting to know my staff has been such a pleasure.

I recently had the experience of working with Lance, the director, in the low ceilinged, dark and dusty basement. Our sump pumps went out and to watch Lance bury his arms and shoulders in the yuck, while still smiling, gave me an appreciation for all the work we do here big and small. As we worked Lance proceeded to tell me the history of Rainbow’s End Alamosa.

I learn so much every day by listenI’ve recently hired two people, ing and observing others. I feel Horace, who has joined the team such an importance in what I’m sorting and processing donations, doing these days. I really notice and Dawn, who manages the by helping others that inner peace displays and organization of the just fills my spirit and I wouldn’t store; they have become very valuwant to be doing anything else in able at the store so if you get a life right now. I would also chance to stop in a say hi to them really like to thank Jeff Owsley for you can definitely see their smiltaking such a chance with me, I ing hearts. look up to you I’m in awe of Jeff and want the program you to know that I’m a part I truly cherish of. La Puente our friendship. really makes I will continue a difference to serve in this in this comgreat state munity. All and welcome the programs anyone and play such a everyone to crucial role stop in to Rich helping a customer find their piece of gold. working hand Rainbow’s End for in hand with each other so that a good life experience. There’s a compassion and love are meeting little piece of gold for everyone people’s needs. here, you just have to shop for it.

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A New Light in Alamosa Chloe Makarick, seedme

Pearl Le Blanc learned business skills at a young age. While her father started his own roofing company, her stepmom had her own candle business out of their garage. “She’s very crafty,” Pearl said. “I always admired her for doing that. We started making soaps together as a mother-daughter activity as she expanded her business.” In 2007 at age 19, Pearl took the bus from Reno, Nevada to the San Luis Valley to be closer to her birth mother. Living outside of town proved to be difficult for Pearl, and she made arrangements to stay at La Puente shelter. “I was able to meet new people and see what it was like for someone to stay at a shelter,” Pearl said. “Everyone told me it was always a bad thing, staying in a shelter. I learned quickly it wasn’t.”

“I really enjoy working at La Puente, and want to continue doing that,” Pearl said. “But I’m trying to wean myself off of programs that are assisting me right now so I can support myself.” Pearl is starting her own candle business, Amber Lynette’s Candles, through La Puente’s newest Pearl’s line of candles. program, seedme (socially embracing each dream, micro- enterprise) - a social entrepreneurial initiative to help individuals start and sustain micro enterprises in the San Luis Valley. Seedme features stories of each micro-enterprise—connecting people with people, rather than simply people with products. Looking back, Pearl is grateful to have had the support from her stepmom as she begins her candle business.

With the support from La Puente and other community organizations, Pearl was able to get her GED, “My stepmom raised me and attend college classes and move taught me everything about life,” into her own home. Pearl said. “I really admire her and making candles takes me back to She then began volunteering at La my childhood memories.” Puente in the administration office.

Winter 2013

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The Hum of a Coffee Shop Rahel Makda, Milagros Barista

On September 20th an energy send off for Ken Burt took place in Milagros Coffee House. Ken Burt, a long time teacher at Alamosa High, has cancer and has to spend some time in the hospital, so the Alamosa community came together to send lots of energy to Ken. The atmosphere was amazing, you could literally sense all the energy and love in the air. Although not everyone knew him personally, everyone had the same determination to show Ken that our thoughts and hearts are with him.

Ordering coffee at Milagros.

Music was played and people were singing with all the different bands, clapping and having a good time. Two cameras were filming the event and many people left personal messages for Ken, telling a good story, making a joke or telling him how much they believed in his recovery.

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In the middle of the evening the music stopped and everyone in the room started to cheer for Ken, calling “Ken, Ken, Ken...” getting louder and louder and more cheerful. It wasn´t just calling his name, it was like telling him that we all believe in him and that he can get through these hard times. After the chanting we sent him some sound energy, by humming silently. It was incredible how the atmosphere, which was already brilliant at this point, increased and at the same time calmed everyone down as time seemed to stand still. It was a very peaceful moment. I have been told that Ken could sense the energy we sent to him and was really happy about that. I could tell on the evening of the energy send off, that people who participated felt better after they left, as we all could feel the energy ourselves, too. Milagros itself is a place where you can sense good energy every single day. It´s a place which is warm when it gets cold outside, a place where you always find someone to talk to, a place where the Alamosa community comes together. This is possible because everyone who is serving with La Puente is working with all their heart to support their

La Voz de La Puente


clients. And at moments like at the energy send off for Ken Burt, one can see that so many people appreciate all the hard work of La Puente and come to give their own bit of support and positive

energy and that evening was an extraordinary demonstration of this transaction. We wish Ken all the best and that he will recover soon and I hope that he can still feel the love and all the good energy we sent to him.

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“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’”

Invierno 2013

-Luke 2:10

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Regardless of Circumstances Brandon Silver, Volunteer Coordination and Community Education When I first joined VolCom, we had a meeting to divvy up the responsibilities. I was relieved when a group of forty middle-schoolers from Boulder was not assigned to me! As time passed, it became apparent that Erin, the AmeriCorps member that was assigned the middle-schoolers, was so busy writing the Fall Newsletter that she wouldn’t be available to lead the group.

me how to both work hard AND have fun by creating some sort of race or game out of each project they took on. What impressed me even more was their resilience to keep working while their hometown of Boulder was flooding. Despite tragedy hitting them at home, they insisted on continuing their work here.

Horizon’s serving lunch at the shelter.

I volunteered (reluctantly) to take the group off of her hands. I had already had two work groups and was getting used to knowing how to handle things, so I figured, “Why not?” On our second day, I had already begun to get close with them. They worked hard, and showed

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On their last night, a fellow AmeriCorps member, John, and I were on our way over to a friend’s house after work. We were discussing how much I enjoyed the workgroup full of middle-schoolers when I noticed a familiar child walking along the sidewalk barefoot and in pajamas. A child. In the rain. On a forty degree night. As we drove by, I noticed it was

The Voice of La Puente


definitely one of the kids in my church on foot with headlamps. workgroup. John and I drove a I talked to them all, and after block in silence explaining that the child was being be-fore agreeing that we should bullied, I learned that it had been turn around and check out the an ongoing problem. situation. I pulled “Despite tragedy into a parking lot hitting them at home, What happened in and asked him the morning is what they insisted on what he was makes this group the doing. He continuing their work most memorable. As instantly began the kids were packing here.” to cry. I got out up to leave, only one of the car and sat with him on a approached me; the boy who was park bench, and tried my best to being bullied; whose house may comfort him. I got him to stop or may not have been swept away crying and eventually coaxed him by flooding in his town. In spite of to let me take him back to his everything this kid had going on group after he revealed to me in his mind, he took the time to let that his nighttime runaway was me know that I’m making a differbully-related. Upon pulling up ence and to thank me for letting to the church, it was obvious the him be a part of something bigger, adults in the group had realized regardless of his circumstances. the child’s absence. One of them And that blows my mind. I came was standing outside by the door, into leading this group full of waiting for his return. I told her I reluctance. But they left being the had him in my backseat, and much hardest working, most to her relief, she ran to retrieve selfless group yet. him, giving him a huge hug and taking him inside. I then noticed two other adults arriving at the

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Stretch Your Gift Everything we do at La Puente is made possible by the generosity of people like you: people who give with their time as well as their material and financial resources. We are proud to be partners with our contributors, providing tax-saving options to stretch every dollar of your donation. If you pay Colorado State taxes, a monetary gift through the Enterprise Zone can net you a 25% tax credit. Besides the Enterprise Zone, if you make a direct contribution to the PALS Children’s Program of $100 or more, you qualify for the Colorado Child Care Contribution Credit, which provides a 50% tax credit and state and federal tax deductions. Unlike a tax deduction, which reduces your taxable income determined by your tax rate, a tax credit reduces your tax liability. In this way, a tax credit directly reduces the taxes due and functions like a check, payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The larger your tax credit, the more you subtract from the amount of tax that you owe the government. Here’s how a tax credit works: If you donate $500 through Enterprise Zone, you receive: $125 (25% of $500) returned as an Enterprise Zone tax credit $140 (28% of $500) as a Federal Tax deduction $23 (4.6% of $500) as a State Tax deduction $288

your potential savings/tax reduction The net cost of your $500 gift equals $212!

Now what? Taking advantage of our tax-savings options is easy. Follow these five steps: 1. Donate $100 or more 2. Make your donation payable to “The Enterprise Zone” 3. Designate “La Puente” in the memo for a 25% tax credit OR Designate “PALS Program” in the memo for a 50% tax credit 4.Mail in your donation! 5. ...Then, we will send you a certificate of tax credit you can use for your Colorado Income Tax Return. The E Zone and Child Care tax credits can be also be carried forward to future tax years, to assist donors with tax planning. For further information, please call Julie at 719-589-5909. 28

La Voz de La Puente


A gift designated to La Puente’s Legacy Fund will provide on-going support for the provision of emergency food and shelter through La Puente’s diverse services. The principle amount of each fund contribution will not be touched, and through investment, the interest gained from the gift will help afford critical services for the years ahead. Consider writing a clause in your will or trust that identifies “La Puente Home, Inc.” as a beneficiary to any portion of your estate. Mention your intention to direct your gift towards the La Puente Legacy Fund. This is a simple way to arrange for a significant gift in support of our service to others, while leaving you in control of your assets during your lifetime.

A gift card acknowledgement will be sent to the family you are honoring with a rememberance gift. Call Lance at 719-589-5909 for more information. Invierno 2013

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Want to Volunteer?

Volunteer hours are extremely valuable at La Puente, whether for one day, one week, or a full year! Please consider donating your time and talents to support our organization.

Full-Time Volunteer:

During a year of service, Full-Time Volunteers and AmeriCorps Members work 40-60+ hours a week obtaining firsthand experience working at a nonprofit organization.

Community Volunteer:

Individuals of all ages and abilities volunteer for one-time, weekly, or monthly intervals at many of the La Puente programs.

Work Group Service:

Groups come for a short time from all across the United States in order to work with La Puente on special projects, to support everyday activities and to engage in service learning. This assistance aids La Puente in providing services that are greatly needed in the San Luis Valley. Please visit La Puente’s Website (lapuente.net) or call the Volunteer Coordination office (719)-587-3499 for more information if you are interested in serving through La Puente’s Volunteer Service

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A work group raking in front of the Outreach Office.

The Voice of La Puente


May we love ever more. May we motivate ourselves to committed love in Action. May we motivate ourselves to live the life we wish to see in the world. May we be the transformation we wish to see in the world. From the inside out . . . From the roots branching upwards . . . From the heart to thought to word to action. Through life’s trials and hardships we can arise beautiful and free.

-Julia Butterfly Hill

Gathering for a candlelight vigil at the shelter.

Winter 2013

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Change service requested

P.O. Box 1235 Alamosa, CO 81101

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Alamosa, CO 81101 Permit No. 27

Winter 2013 Newsletter  
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