ASC Extended Studies appreciates La Gente

(12-16-2008)

The Adams State College Extended Studies staff decided to use their employee-funded Christmas party budget to sponsor a family through the La Gente Project, a department of the San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Cheryl Ruybal, Extended Studies program manager of brokered programs, and Traci Bishop, assistant to the associate provost for Extended Studies, said they are grateful for the efforts of La Gente to reach out to families with dignity and respect.

According to the website, La Gente, the mission of La Gente is to enable families and children to achieve and maintain a nurturing, safe and stable home environment through a partnership with the community that provides comprehensive integrated services which build on family strengths.

Extended Studies employs 36 staff members, including work-study students. Bishop said everyone contributes to a fund used to celebrate special dates throughout the year with the remainder used to fund the annual Christmas party. "Everyone donates what they can."

Ruybal and Taylor Little, quality assurance manager, co-chaired the Christmas committee. Other members include Bishop, Dave Hargis, production coordinator; Kateri Reeves, program manager; Bernadette Torres, administrative assistant; and Debbie Ehrlich, administrative assistant.

Ruybal said the committee coordinated their efforts with with Jinger Garcia, La Gente project secretary. Garcia provided the age and gender of the parents and children as well as information as to any special needs.

Enthusiasm for the project spread across campus and community. Adams State Computing Services has "adopted" a family and the spouse of a committee member took the idea back to his high school basketball team which also took part in the program, as did the member's church congregation.

This generosity of spirit will now be heard nationwide. Listening to the local radio station, KRZA, on December 3, Kaycee Gilmore-Holman, Extended Studies student advisor/recruiter, heard the segment, "Companies Say 'Bah, Humbug!' To Holiday Parties" on the National Public Radio Program "All Things Considered". She emailed Jessica Smith, NPR business producer, about how Extended Studies was celebrating this year. Smith interviewed Ruybal and Bishop for the program which will air at 9 a.m., Eastern Time, on Wednesday, December 17.

For more information about La Gente, contact Garcia at 719-587-5404.

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By Linda Relyea