I grew up on Sunny Side in Monte Vista and lived in the same house for eighteen years, but it wasn’t until I left to see what lay beyond these mountains that I realized just how special this place is. Here community means something. I have traveled the world and experienced community in so many forms. I have lived in large metropolises with millions of inhabitants and I have lived in a small indigenous village high in the Andes. But it’s this valley that taught me that community is not a noun, community is a verb set in motion each and every day. It is a feeling of fellowship with others that breeds joint ownership, participation, and responsibility. In these small towns that most of the world has forgotten, we have pledged not to forget that we must judge the health of our community by those with the least among us. Together we have created a safety net and safe harbor for our neighbors that fall on hard times. Working for La Puente, I see our community flourish every day. Here I see our community live out its values and witness the many ways community can show itself.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
Community can look like kind souls consoling the young heart who recently arrived at the shelter because she broke up with her girlfriend, got kicked out of the apartment, and now has no idea what she will do next. These kind souls share their advice, they listen, but most importantly they remind a wounded heart that there are people who still care.
Community looks like a high school friend’s mom showing up at our office with up-to-date computers because she saw that we needed four computers after reading the recent La Puente newsletter. Because she believes in the mission of La Puente she approached her employer with our newsletter. He read it and was moved by the stories we share in these pages. From metro Denver, he connected with our community and Tune My PC donated us ten computers that are now all in full use around La Puente. This donation was possible because so many people were moved to action to support the work our community does to care for those in need.
Community looks like a local ASL Interpreter offering her work pro bono after being contacted by our Adelante program seeking assistance to better serve a deaf client. It looks like the 11,000 frozen gourmet meals the Marison Project has donated to offer our shelter staff a quick easy solution to serve food with soul. Community looks like the thirty-six times our friends from Estes Park have traveled to La Puente in the past sixteen years, all to donate their time, money, and love to our community because they too believe that we can do better for each other.
La Puente reminds me that community isn’t a place or a defined boundary of land. Community is intimate and communal; it’s people. It’s connective. It doesn’t happen in seclusion, but rather it depends on our willingness to reach out. Each of the stories included in this newsletter is a small snippet of all the work that goes on around La Puente and all the ways we try to reach out. As we reach out to you with these stories, I encourage you think about how you can reach out. The future of our community depends on the people who believe in the worthiness of what we do and choose to reach back.
La Puente reminds me that community isn’t a place or a defined boundary of land. Community is intimate and communal; it’s people. It’s connective. It doesn’t happen in seclusion, but rather it depends on our willingness to reach out.
Give for change!
Help us continue to make a ripple of compassion that keeps on blessing those it touches.