A Community As A Family


The La Plata Family Centers Coalition, a nonprofit organization that provides direct services and assistance to families in La Plata County through grants, employment opportunities, and more. The organization, where volunteers, employees, and participants feel like family, offers a wide range of services, one of anything you might need. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Alpine Bank

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Hi, I'm Beth Drum, and I am a proud employee-owner at Alpine Bank. Giving back to the community is one of Alpine Bank's core values, as it is with the many nonprofits that serve our community. We invite you to meet some of these change makers as part of our series, "Community Matters."

The Family Center has been a community asset for over 38 years. I've been part of this amazing place since 2014. I feel that the Family Center is the cornerstone that supports the community in many ways. So we have program areas, we have emergency assistance, we have community-led initiatives, but truly, the Center is guided by the community.

The La Plata Family Centers Coalition, or LPFCCC, provides direct assistance to families in La Plata County. Assistance ranges from a financial, food, community support, language services, and more. Some families that come to the Center need help applying for health insurance. Others have been referred to the state child welfare system and want to work to keep their family together. The Family Center provides support in many different forms, from food donations to supporting entrepreneurial pushes, as well as a variety of programs designed around the needs of families in the community. One such program is the Fatherhood Advocate Program, which empowers fathers to be active participants in their families and the community.

And what I'm really doing is I'm building a great team of fathers that are doing great things for themselves, their families, and their communities. Right now, we're working on facilitating a class called NDAP. It's nurturing dads and partners, that has a really strong focus on co-parenting. It's evidence-based, and it doesn't necessarily need to be the child's mother as the co-parent, which is kind of a neat parameter way to look at it. It can be an uncle, it can be a brother, it can be a friend somebody that's involved in the family to kind of walk through this journey of raising a child. As you may know, it takes a village.

In addition to the family and financial support, the Family Center works with community members to support projects like the development of a farm called the Pond Farm, as part of their Together We Grow Program. The Pond Farm, which was host to the summer end event, is an opportunity to learn about nutrition, self-sustainability, and cooperative working. Farmer Dean Vidal came on as a farmer consultant to assist the Family Center with the Pond Farm. Vidal pointed out that while shelf stable foods like canned goods and packaged dry goods are extremely useful, what many of the families who come into the Family Center are lacking are fresh fruits and vegetables. The Pond Farm is an opportunity to provide individuals with the skills and teaching to create their own gardens and enable them to grow and provide their own food.

So we're trying to create a satellite of gardens around when put together, create a substantial volume of food, and allow people to decide what they want to grow and what they would like to cook with and feel more personal ability and confidence and healthy through that. And it works, it works really, really well.

For Balbuena and the rest of the team at La Plata Family Center's Coalition, the feeling a family is foremost both in what they are doing within the community as well as what they have created in the center itself, a family within a family.

So I almost feel that a Family Center is like a growing family, you know, and everything that we do and everybody that is part of our center has a personal investment. And we all share this collective vision of wellbeing for others.

The time that we're living in now with everything, it's so important to be part of a team. It's so important to have your comrades around you. And I would just want to welcome any fathers into the team that I'm creating so that they can do wonderful things for themselves, their families, and their communities, just to build things stronger.

The La Plata Family Centers Coalition is always looking for volunteers and donations. Learn more about the different programs, sign up to volunteer and find upcoming events on the website, lpfcc.org. Thank you for watching this edition of Community Matters. I'm Hannah Robertson.


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