August, 2011 

Upcoming Events & Training Opportunities:



Opportunity: Leadership Montezuma

Applications are being accepted through

August 15 for this year's class. Participants spend one day a month, September through May, expanding their understanding of community resources, organizations and systems. For more information and to apply, go to the Leadership Montezuma site.  


Community Event & Fundraiser: RAD Concert, August 20, 10:00a.m. - 8:00p.m. Pagosa Springs.  Multiple bands will play in the park outside the Youth Center. The first annual RAD  Memorial Concert will raise funds for youth-serving organizations in Pagosa, including PSYC.  



Webinar: Working with Media, September 1, 10:30-noon. Learn how to effectively navigate T.V., radio and print media in this FREE webinar, sponsored by the colorado Nonprofit Association. For more information or to register, click here 



Training: Write a Grant in a Day September 8, 9:00-4:00, Telluride. Presented by JVA Consultants. Bring your laptop and draft a grant proposal using the Colorado Common Grant Application under the expert tutelage of a top JVA grantwriter.  No cost for RSAPP staff, AmeriCorps members, and Board Members. For registration information, contact: Cathy Cowles. 



Training: Bullying Prevention Institute September 21, 8:30-3:30 Montrose CO. No cost for Colorado participants. Learn about best practices in bullying prevention, on-the-spot interventions, and techniques for creating a positive school climate. Go to COTRAIN  for more information and to register.

Many thanks to RSAPP's Generous Funders:


Serve Colorado


 Commission on Community Service)


El Pomar Foundation 


Daniels Fund


Telluride Foundation


Anschutz Family Foundation



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Welcome to RSAPP's Monthly e-Newsletter!

RSAPP, or Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Partners, has the long-term goal of decreasing youth substance abuse in Southwest Colorado. RSAPP's vision is: engaged, thriving youth invested in strong communities throughout our region. With our e-Newsletter, we aim to keep you informed about substance abuse prevention happenings, issues, events, activities, trainings, gatherings, successes and challenges here in Southwest Colorado.

RSAPP AmeriCorps Member of the Month: Soledad Leo

Soledad Leo
Soledad Leo: RSAPP AmeriCorps member serving Archuleta County


     Soledad Leo serves at the Pagosa Springs Youth Center (PSYC,) where she welcomes everyone with a warm and loving heart. Food is a big draw at the Youth Center, and you can often find Soledad in the "magic kitchen," turning whatever is in the refrigerator into nutritious and delicious snacks and meals. She usually has a youth or two helping her - often an individual who is serving court-ordered community service - and takes that opportunity to act as a deliberate mentor. Quite a few of Pagosa's youth have cried on Soledad's shoulders - and found acceptance and the inspiration to make good choices about their futures.          Soledad is an accomplished artist, and has owned two galleries in Pagosa where she sold her art. She recently created a class called "Art Knows no Disability," teaching drawing, painting and printmaking to individuals with varying disabilities. She has found inspiration for her own art - and life - from these students.    

     Soledad grew up with 10 brothers and sisters in a 300-year-old haunted mansion in Guanajuato, Mexico. She came to Ashland, Oregon in 1987 on an art exchange, and has lived in the United States ever since. After 17 years in Pagosa Springs, Soledad seems to know just about everyone in town. She lives with her daughter Clarita, and is about to become a grandmother! 

        Sole admits that serving as an AmeriCorps member isn't always easy. She has been working with the Victim's Assistance Group's "See it Stop it" program, and is committed to reducing violence in her community. The PSYC has a small but diverse team of volunteers and AmeriCorps members, and there have been a few challenges juggling schedules, styles and responsibilities. And while the youth bring her incredible joy, Sole says that it breaks her heart to see kids struggling with substance use or difficult home situations. Soledad's philosophy applies to all these situations and more: she says that "love is the key for every single thing."  


RSAPP Cares About Colorado

    RSAPP AmeriCorps members mobilized volunteers and got things done on July 30, the 13th annual Colorado Cares Day. Citizens all over the state honored Colorado's 135th birthday by volunteering and serving their communities, and  Southwest Colorado made a great showing. 

RSAPP Rocks Medicine Horse
RSAPP Rocks Medicine Hors

      In Mancos, AmeriCorps Member Bill Parsons organized 27 AmeriCorps members, students, and community volunteers to construct a rock wall at Medicine Horse Center, a therapuetic  horse ranch. Volunteers hauled rock from a nearby corral, and stacked it to create a low wall around the newly-landscaped entry area. After they busted out the project, the group enjoyed a barbeque lunch provided by C.A.R.E. Cleaning and Restoration Experts in Cortez. The rapid construction of a 50-lineal feet wall proves that "many hands make light work."    

Silverton VC Clean-up
Weeding and cleaning at the Silverton Visitor's Center

     In Silverton, RSAPP AmeriCorps member Julie Danjou mobilized 5 youth to complete clean-up projects at the cemetery, the Visitor's Center, and on notorious Blair Street. Julie and some regulars from the Silverton Youth Center don't need a formal Day of Service in order to get things done - they have become a regular feature out and about town, cleaning, painting, shoveling, and contributing to the community in many ways!  

     In Dove Creek, the town rallied around Relay Under the Stars. Community members formed teams which walked all night, collecting pledges which will be distribute to local families in need.  

     Durango AmeriCorps member Nicole Schnee coordinated with the Youth Partnership for Health to sell reusable shopping bags, and donate the profits to a local soup kitchen. 

      Pagosa Springs AmeriCorps members Jo Ferko and Soledad Leo hosted

PSYC Ice Cream Social
Ice Cream Social in Pagosa Springs

an Ice Cream Social and Tie-dye party for youth, and fun was had by all. Danielle Brafford, an RSAPP  AmeriCorps member from Dolores, brought her husband and kids to Pagosa for Colorado Cares Day, and the whole family volunteered. 







2011 Teen Maze Cancelled

 School Community Youth Coalition recently announced that the Teen Maze will not be held this year. The regional prevention event, a chess game of choices where middle school students are the playing piece, will be held in the Spring of 2012. This year's Maze was cancelled due to a major construction project at its venue and complications around funding. Stay tuned for information about the 2012 Teen Maze.




Superheroes Wanted!
AmeriCorps SuperheroRSAPP is looking for 12 talented people who are interested in serving the youth, families, schools and communities of Southwest Colorado. If you care about youth and want to get things done, apply to serve as an RSAPP AmeriCorps member. These one-year service opportunities begin on October 1, and duties vary by community. We will fill 10 full-time positions (in Dove Creek, Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Durango, and Silverton) and 2 half-time positions (in Pagosa Springs.) For a position description and application instructions, send an e-mail to RSAPP's Program Coordinator indicating which community you are interested in serving. To apply, go to and do a quick search by entering "RSAPP" in the "Program Name" box. And please - help spread the word! 

Thank you for being part of RSAPP! If you have any submissions for next month's newsletter, please send them to me.



Cathy Cowles

RSAPP Program Coordinator