• tori10027

HOPE for the Future


By Victoria Martinez & Beatriz Moreno



We know connecting young adults to pathways of civic engagement is critical to create change. On the HOPE (Helping Others Promoting Equity) team, young adults are creating a brighter future through collective power, rooted in their various cultures and traditions of storytelling and community connection.


We invite young adults in Alamosa

to come to our next free community gathering for

18-30 year old's who live, work, or go to school in Alamosa.

Saturday, November 13th at 10:00 am on the Adams State University campus in the Student Union Building (banquet rooms).

Come use your power, and influence how money is spent,

what programs are created, and what issues our team will focus on.

This is your chance to change the future opportunities

for young adults in this community.


Community Survey


Ensuring our young adults in the Alamosa community are counted is the first step to being a good neighbor. The HOPE team conducted a 2020 Community Health Equity Survey to highlight the voices of the young adult population in our community. We understand that in this rural area we hold many identities as rural, indigenous, queer, female, male, a person of color, and more. We know that we juggle these identities on a daily basis and that all of those intersecting identities contribute to our mental and emotional health and well-being.


From this survey we learned what makes it difficult to live in Alamosa, what the struggles of young adults are and what things young adults would like to see change to make their lives better.


The survey was split up into six sections and consisted of 50 questions, both multiple choice questions and short answer responses. There were 230 Alamosa residents who completed the survey, 80% of those reported being between 18-30 years old. 60% of the respondents identified as Hispanic, Latinx, or of Spanish origin.


Though there were many new issues Alamosa residents brought up in the survey, the HOPE team would like to share the most common that would be great to focus on for the Alamosa community.


Mental Health


Eliasa Chavez, one of the HOPE team members points out that one thing consistent within the survey was the emphasis on mental health in Alamosa. The survey found that despite 18-30 year old's reporting feeling happy with their life, there are mental health needs going unmet. In fact, 50% of respondents stated that if they felt mentally or emotionally stressed they would not visit a mental health provider in Alamosa. The reasons many stated they felt this way was due to Alamosa being such a small town.


“Everyone knows each other and talks to each other about other people. I don’t think I would trust someone to tell them my personal life and believe they wouldn’t share that with someone else.”


This direct quote from the survey was similar to many others. There seems to be a general mistrust of our mental health providers due to past violations of privacy laws and a perception of lack in quality of care. Many get information by word of mouth and if trust is violated at one location, there is a ripple effect to others.


“I have had loved ones who sought care in Alamosa and were not satisfied with the care available”


In addition, many stated they could not even afford the care provided due to lack of financial stability or no insurance. Some even said they struggle to find a provider that takes their insurance. Though there are systems in place to help with affordability, many respondents felt that the information was not widely available to them. There is also a lack of mental health care provided to those who are not U.S. Citizens.


Employment & Education


For Brayan Flores and Katy Plumb, also members of the HOPE team, the lack of employment opportunities and education for young adults was another constant throughout the survey. The survey found that 66% of respondents plan on leaving the community to pursue a job that is not offered here. Another 44% plan on leaving in the future for a college degree or certification. A majority of those who plan to leave, 70% identified as Hispanic. The lack of equal opportunities in the Alamosa community has made it so that our largest export is our youth. Many leave yearly to pursue better careers, higher education, and simply put, a better life.


The HOPE team seeks to improve this. For example, there is a demand for more employer sponsored opportunities for training. One of the questions asked in the survey was what changes would people like to see happen in Alamosa. The following are direct quotes from survey respondents.


“Higher paying jobs and training for people to gain new skills that can help them get the job that they want, without having to pay thousands of dollars.”


“Open events to learn trades that don’t require you to take college courses.”


Not surprisingly, 73% of respondents report wanting to learn a wide variety of professional skills. However, only 30% reported having employer sponsored training. By creating more equal opportunities for all, these needs of young adults can be met.

Housing


Beatriz Moreno felt the survey also brought to light the impending issue of a lack of affordable housing closing in on Alamosa. Yearly, rent prices rise and with wages not reflecting that, many people simply can not afford to live here any more. It has been estimated that within the next 5 years, 1,800 more housing units are needed. But the buying up of properties for resale at an inflated cost has caused gentrification of Alamosa. Further solidifying that lack of housing justice for minorities. More protection for renters is also needed and more programs of “rent to own” need to be introduced. By creating these programs along with others, policies can change and make Alamosa affordable for everyone.


Immigrant, Minorities & LGBTQ+ Rights


Maricela Lucas and Angelica Raya felt the conflicts and tensions between the majority and minority groups is a growing and present issue in Alamosa, coming up many times in the survey. Respondents agreed, there is a lack of respect for people who are immigrants, minorities, and LGBTQ+ in the community. The survey found that 49% agreed that conflicts/tensions are based on race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and/or disability with race and ethnicity described most frequently. These instances were reported by respondents as bullying in schools, lack of acceptance of non-English speakers, prevalence of racial stereotypes, residential segregation, and discriminatory treatment of minorities by police. The following is a direct quote from the survey.


“Having grown up here, there is a definite line between White and Latino [groups]. The neighborhoods are very clearly split. Although the tension is not usually out in the open the undercurrent is always there. I hear racial slurs -from both sides- and no one stops it. That includes city workers and representatives.”


Many respondents identify Alamosa as being a conservative town. Though there is nothing wrong with conservative ideals, many equate “conservative” to an inflating “colonial mindset” that perpetuates the disparities within social/ethnic groups.


“This is a strong-willed community, especially with The Valley at large, and some people are very set in the ways of the world… and aren't willing to grow or be open to change in understanding and awareness”


Historically in the SLV, Hispanic and minority groups are denied loans, land, and protection more often than their white counterparts. Many respondents identified this issue as ongoing with-in the community. In modern times, this manifests as discriminations towards anyone not English speaking or white. With a lack of language justice in public healthcare, schools, council meetings, and community events being identified the most with our respondents. 18% agreed that important information was rarely or never communicated in the language they speak at home.


Upcoming Community Event


The HOPE team has plans to help address these different issues within the community to improve life for not only young adults, but everyone who gets to call Alamosa their home.


Once again, If some of these issues resonate with you and if you would like to hear our ideas please come to our next free community gathering.

Saturday, November 13th at 10:00 am on the Adams State University campus in the Student Union Building (banquet rooms).

Come use your power, and influence how money is spent, what programs are created, and what issues our team will focus on. This is your chance to change the future opportunities for young adults in this community.

Food and interpretation will be provided.

Lots of fun prizes will be given out.

Contact Tori at

tori@coloradotrust.org


117 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All