Integrated Community in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a non-profit organization that provides education, human resource, and immigration support to immigrants and long-term residents in Northwest Colorado.
Integrated Community started in 2004 at the local bookstore where Spanish-speaking community members could meet and socialize, said Sheila Henderson, Executive Director of Integrated Community. It has since moved into its own space and has grown into an organization with 2261 intakes and 924 clients in 2016.
Integrated Community’s stated mission is “…to proactively promote and support successful integration of immigrant and local community members in Northwest Colorado through education, intercultural exchange, and collaboration to build a more united community where its members can communicate, participate and contribute.”
“Our programs remove linguistic and cultural barriers thus creating access to resources and improving self-sufficiency,” said Henderson.
Rodney Beall, Interpretation and Translator Coordinator for Integrated Community said the organization’s services for Routt and Moffat county immigrants is an important part of their successful adaptation and immersion into their new community. Beall said the organization has three programs that support immigrants and their families.
“We have three basic programs. We provide interpretation and translation services. We have a host of educational support programs, including early childhood education and tutoring for school-age children. We also have adult English language classes,” Beall said.
Integrated Community also has a Resource and Referral program that helps immigrants with daily needs, ranging from assistance with job applications, completing paperwork for themselves or their children, or making appointments with healthcare providers or school officials he said.
“We encourage self-sustainability by teaching and coaching them through complex problems,” said Beall.
Beall said the goal of Integrated Community is to see families and kids succeed. He said he has worked with many of the bilingual kids at Steamboat Springs High School and has employed several to serve as Integrated Community translators. Beall noted the importance of keeping the kids involved and included in the community.
“Generally, with kids, we are working with the families to try to get their kids involved in positive outlets like sports, art, dance or other extra-circular activities. We know the more kids are involved in various organizations and activities the more they feel included and the more successful they will be long-term in life,” he said.
During his time with Integrated Community Beall said he sees a change within the immigrant community. He said there is more fear due to the political climate and uncertainty of immigration policies under the current administration.
Regardless of politics, Beall said Integrated Community remains committed to its mission.
“We are going to continue to do the work we can for our whole community and fill the niche we can. We want our clients to be healthy, think positively and find the life that they sacrificed so much for coming here in order to seek,” said Beall.