Article by Tori Martinez
The HOPE (Helping Others Promoting Equity) community team, invested $5,000 in funding to Adams State University’s Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement (CASA) Center to support the health and wellbeing of young adults.
Comprised of 18- to 30-year-olds, the HOPE team is dedicated to understanding and improving the health and well-being of young adults living in Alamosa. After conducting a community health equity survey in early 2020, the HOPE team decided to address the issue of conflict and tensions around race, ethnicity, language and discrimination highlighted by Alamosa members who took the survey.
HOPE seeks to improve cultural awareness through this funding to the CASA Center. The team and Oneyda Maestas, who oversees the direction of Hispanic, multicultural and international events, designated the funds toward Native American programming; community connecting events; bringing in locals to share their experiences and discuss historical generational trauma and resilience; creating a space where everyone (including young adults) can share their stories in a public space; speaker(s) to talk about history, race and discriminatory policies in Alamosa; and virtual workshops.
Adams State University is Colorado’s premier Hispanic-Serving Institution, and the CASA Center enriches and honors Alamosa’s and the San Luis Valley’s Hispanic community, identity and heritage. This is essential as 54.2% of Alamosa City’s population is Hispanic. The CASA Center fosters an environment that promotes learning, celebrates cultures, and develops leadership and student success with a global perspective. The CASA Center also serves to pass on the legacy of being the keepers of culture to students, faculty, staff, and community. The HOPE team is especially excited to work with the CASA Center as some of the team members are former or current students at Adams State who benefited from past CASA Center programming. This partnership provides a unique opportunity for the HOPE team to pay it forward.
The team wants to ensure that all young adults in Alamosa can thrive, and have fair and equal opportunities to lead healthy, productive lives regardless of race, ethnicity, income or where they live. The volunteer team, all of whom are young adults themselves, believe in building collective power to create change in their community. The team formed in late 2019 and was able to begin work in earnest in 2020 despite COVID-19 restrictions. The team expanded in early 2021 and now has 11 members.
If you would like to learn more about the HOPE team, the work the team is doing in Alamosa, or the results of the community health equity survey, please visit the team’s website at HOPE.