Serve the impoverished and underprivileged of rural Colorado
La Puente serves the homeless, the hungry, and people living in poverty in the San Luis Valley (SLV), Colorado. Our services include: a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, a support program for families in crisis, a homeless prevention program, 13 food pantries scattered around the SLV, a food recovery program following the farm harvest, three community thrift stores, and a coffee house.
La Puente is located in Colorado's San Luis Valley (SLV), in south central Colorado. Though the area is pristine in its mountainous beauty, it is host of 4 of the 6 poorest counties in Colorado. The poverty and isolation of the Valley gives way to a lot of human need. The economy is primarily agricultural, and many of the crops are worked by immigrant migrant farm workers.
About La Puente Home Inc
Our services include: a homeless shelter (45 beds averaging 700 people each year), a soup kitchen (50,000 meals/year) a self-sufficiency program for homeless families, a homeless prevention program, 13 food pantries scattered around the Valley (serving more than 25% of the SLV’s populations), a food recovery program following the farm harvest, three community thrift stores, and a coffee house.
La Puente is located in Colorado's San Luis Valley (SLV), in south central Colorado and touches the New Mexico Border. Though the area is pristine in its mountainous beauty, it is host of 4 of the 6 poorest counties in Colorado. La Puente utilizes 20-25 AmeriCorps members annually to work the front-lines of all of our services. It’s a great opportunity to serve and meet many like-minded people.
AmeriCorps Members experience community on many different levels as they form relationships with their housemates, co-workers, and the community as a whole. Members experience intentional community living, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. United by commitment to a shared vision, participants renew and encourage each other while challenging one another to form honest and open relationships.
Members are also encouraged to practice community in a larger sense as they immerse themselves in the culture of the local area. Members live on less and strive to practice simplicity. This commitment is more than attempting to live within a monthly budget; it is a shift of focus that comes with thoughtful analysis of your lifestyle and values. Spending a year centered less on money and consumption and more on deeper sources of satisfaction can free members to experience the value of simple pleasures, conversations, and their own creativity. Simplicity should not be thought of as doing without, but rather as having enough, and this awareness provides participants with an opportunity to discover healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
The Employee Experience
Through direct service, participants are exposed to the daily struggle for justice, dignity, and human rights. In their various placements, they provide essential services to the poor and marginalized, and are encouraged to search for creative, long-term solutions. Members are challenged to work within themselves to promote compassion and respect for those they serve. In forming relationships with the clients, Members are open to understanding causes of injustice, and are consequently, changed by their experiences.
Service is a vague but beautiful idea. This year is about exploring what service means to participants with experience as the teacher. Members come to understand the fulfillment and impact of their service while also growing through sacrifice and inconvenience of giving a year of their life to help others.
Our ideal candidates are recent college graduates who are new to the work force and eager to serve and get involved.
Room and Board
These positions are AmeriCorps positions and receive a living allowance of $1,144/month before taxes, medical insurance, rent and damage deposit and an education award of $2,960 upon successful completion of a six month term. La Puente has housing available for $360/month + $40/month toward a $250 damage deposit you are likely to get back when you move out. La Puente housing includes: a private bedroom and shared community spaces, a house vehicle that is shared with housemates for local use, all utilities including heating, electric, water, and city services, and all maintenance upkeep costs. WiFi is not included in the monthly housing cost. All AmeriCorps members are eligible for full food stamps benefits (around $180-$200/month). La Puente does not house spouses, dependents, or pets. It is the program model for Members to live together in La Puente housing it is not a requirement of the program, and members may choose to find their own local housing. This opportunity is available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, political affiliation, or religion. Reasonable accommodations will be made for individuals with specific needs as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
AmeriCorps Members receive medical insurance along with $250 reimbursable for health-related expenses. Members may put federal loans into forbearance during their service year and will receive two Education Awards totaling $5,920 which can be used for existing federal loans or future education expenses. All AmeriCorps members are eligible for full food stamps benefits, free housing, access to a vehicle locally, and a monthly stipend of $1440 before taxes, rent and damage deposit.
Members also receive training, certificates, and experience in the social services field. Team-building orientations, trainings, and retreats throughout the year allow members to self-evaluate, reflect on their values, and grow as individuals throughout the year.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Vehicles are provided, but only for local use. It is not necessary to bring your own vehicle, but if you do it would enable you to travel and explore in your free time. Alamosa is very easy to bike around in. La Puente has some bikes for Members to use, but it is best to bring your own if possible. The San Luis Valley is larger than the state of Massachusetts and has no public transportation.
La Puente will travel to Denver or other larger airports to pick Members up at the start of the service year.
Outside of work, AmeriCorps members enjoy: exploring the outdoors, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, music festivals, plays, small community, coffee with friends, game and movie nights, community meals, and other small town dynamics.
This is an intentional year focused on service, community, social justice, and simplicity. In addition to providing crucial services to those in need, this is a year of growth, and folks get out of it what they are willing to put into it. A service year is unbelievably fun, often challenging, and unmistakably life-changing. As you consider these opportunities, you are encouraged to take some time to reflect on your hopes and goals for the year ahead of you, while keeping in mind your motivations for serving in rural Colorado.
Our opportunities this year include:
- Shelter Case Manager for the Homeless
- Mentor for at risk youth in the PALS program
- School Garden Coordinator in the VEGI program
- Food Bank Service Provider
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Public Relations and Communications Coordinator
- Case Manager for homeless family stability
- Homeless Prevention Case Manager