Colorado Spirit Program: Meeting the Community Where They Are At

Colorado Spirit is a program at Community Reach Center that was created to provide support for the many feelings associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Through community-based outreach and psychoeducational services, the Colorado Spirit team's mission is to empower Adams County residents. Colorado Spirit has the flexibility to meet the community where they are in dealing with the pandemic, including at local food banks.

The Adams County Food Bank has been our second home every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the last three months. As crisis counselors, we saw the food bank as an opportunity to connect and give back to the community we work for. Additionally, it is a high-populated area with high volumes of people seeking assistance, so we wanted to be available to those in need of Covid-19 resources as well.

What I didn't foresee happening was the development of friendships and partnerships with other organizations that strengthen Community Reach Center's network. Showing up every week, we are able to assist individuals out front waiting in line to make sure their needs are met. This is done in many ways, but one unique and special attribute we have brought is our ability to speak and understand Spanish. There have been countless times where that ability to communicate has come in handy in terms of understanding an individual’s needs. I am often praised for my ability to lift heavy things and grab things in high places, I pride myself in going out of my way to help with these tasks because there are a lot of older individuals volunteering.

We have become an important and pivotal piece in regard to the logistics of how things run and operate. The volunteers now feel like friends, they share stories with us, they confide in us and they ask us for help. We talk to them like friends when they want to talk as friends, but we also have the ability to talk to them as crisis counselors when they have something more serious they want to talk with us about. We are able to recognize and flip the switch at a moment’s notice.

We have given out thousands of fliers at this point, putting them in the weekly and monthly carts as they head out to their recipients. In turn, those fliers have turned into referrals and calls from individuals that are interested in what Colorado Spirit can offer them, or occasionally a thank you for what the Adams County Food Bank has done for them.

The Adams County Food Bank has provided us the opportunity to showcase our skills as crisis counselors while also allowing us to deepen relationships within the county we serve.

If you need support or want to learn more about the program, you can call (303) 853-3579 or go to https://www.communityreachcenter.org/colorado-spirit/.

This blog was written by Crisis Counselor James Sheehan with the Colorado Spirit Program.