Telluride's San Miguel Resource Center: As Good As It Gets (The Team)
The 24th annual San Miguel Resource Center’s Chocolate Lovers’ Fling takes place at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House on Saturday, February 9, starting at 6 p.m. for VIP patrons; 7:30 for GA. Event overview is here. Buy your ticket here now. (The price goes up at the door.) Scroll down to find out about The Resource Center’s tireless, talented team. By attending the Fling and donating, you support the hard and very important work each one of them does for the greater good of the Telluride community.
Please take a minute to close your eyes and picture the face of respect, whether it’s self-respect or respect for others.
Let me help: Respect looks exactly like the faces at Telluride’s San Miguel Resource Center, the region’s only nonprofit in the business of helping people in trouble help themselves and regain self-love.
Each member of the team at the Resource Center responded to an inner calling: Do whatever it takes to promote healthy relationships by ending domestic violence and sexual assault in their own backyard, the Telluride region, and by doing so, fulfill the nonprofit’s mission to put itself out of business by ending interpersonal violence in our extended community.
According to the experts, abuse is anything from a vague feeling that something is wrong to battering – or worse.
In 2018, staff at the San Miguel Resource Center spent 1,156 hours working with clients or students and distributed $41,681 to clients to help them meet basic needs. Trained volunteers donated 6,833 hours of their time to ensure our helpline has 24-hour coverage or to help in-person when needed. When the Resource Center was founded as Tomboy House in 1994, the nonprofit served 28 clients. Last year that number was nearly 10x higher: in 2018, the San Miguel Resource Center helped 205 clients with 238 victimizations.
On Saturday night, February 9, the Resource Center hosts its only major public fundraiser, the Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, an all-out bash featuring the region’s best professionals, this year at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House. The event includes talks, chocolates, drinks, dancing, and a Peoples’ Choice Award. The theme is Hollywood Glam!
Proceeds from the Fling represent a major chunk of the Resource Center’s annual fundraising budget. Monies raised at the party, one of the biggest bashes of the winter season, are particularly important because they are unrestricted.
Unrestricted funds – as opposed to restricted funds through grants from government entities, which come with a short leash – allow the nonprofit to meet the ever-changing needs involved in crisis response.
Which brings us right back to the Resource Center’s staff.
Like any organization – only more so because of the nature of the business – the Resource Center is only as good as the people who run it.
And these professionals are as good as it gets.
Get to know them, then show up at the Opera House on Saturday, February 9, to support their work.
“One of the many things that makes San Miguel Resource Center special is the people who work there,” says Riley McIntyre, executive director. “We started as a volunteer-only organization staffed by passionate locals, but have grown to eight staff members along with a committed base of volunteers. Over the past 25 years, the Center has had amazing volunteers and staff pass through our doors and they continue to support the organization, from former founders and executive directors who have served on the board to previous employees who no longer live in Telluride, yet still connect the organization to new resources and networks. We are excited to introduce the current team, which includes Claudia Garcia Curzio and Emily Osan, who received statewide recognition at the Outstanding Victim Advocate of the Year in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Angela Goforth was just recognized for her 20 years of exceptional service and dedication to the San Miguel Resource Center too!”
Riley McIntyre became the Executive Director of the San Miguel Resource Center in November 2017. In that position, she promotes the mission and vision of San Miguel Resource Center by supporting staff to carry out the organization’s programs effectively, while overseeing the daily operations, along with fundraising and outreach efforts.
Education has been a constant thread in Riley’s professional pursuits and that continues with her position as director.
The Resource Center believes emphasizing prevention education, raising community awareness and providing new information and resources are all necessary complements to the crisis intervention work done with survivors. That balance is what drew Riley to San Miguel Resource Center, especially because she remembers receiving this important education with SMRC as a high school student in Telluride High School.
Riley holds a BA in International Relations from George Washington University and a MA in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College at Columbia University. She has taught English abroad in Colombia, as well as high school math through Teach for America. After graduate school, Riley had an opportunity to develop a wraparound service program for an elementary school with the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. Riley is thrilled SMRC gave her the opportunity to return home to Telluride, where she enjoys spending time in the mountains and being close to family.
In her position as Director of Grants & Finance, Angela Goforth secures and manages a variety of federal, state, local and private grants. She also ensures the financial health of the agency through budgeting and monitoring expenses and revenues.
During her 20 years at SMRC, Angela has held many positions including Victim Advocate, Client Services Manager, and Co-Executive Director. Living in the West End of Montrose County has created a strong commitment to offering quality services to this part of the Resource Center’s service area. For many years, Angela staffed the Nucla office, attended Montrose County Court in Nucla, and served as the only staff providing direct services in the West End.
Angela Goforth has seen a real impact in her community by empowering and educating individuals about healthy relationships and breaking the cycle of violence. She says, “Knowing that every day, what I do can change someone’s life for the good, is why I choose to work at SMRC.”
Emily Osan has been with SMRC for about 2.5 years. She transitioned into the position of Client Services Manager about a year ago after previously working as a Prevention Educator.
Emily oversees all of the Resource Center’s direct services for clients. She supports the fact that the Resource Center utilizes an empowerment approach to working with clients and that its work is client-centered and client-driven.
The Resource Center aims to be a safe space for survivors of all identities and backgrounds. Together, the nonprofit explores the dynamics of healthy and unhealthy behaviors and support individuals in their journey to self-sufficiency. Services cover the full spectrum of needs, ranging from crisis intervention services like short-term safe-housing, safety planning and emergency financial assistance, to longer term supportive services like goal setting, personal advocacy, education around both the criminal justice and civil legal processes and court accompaniment.
Emily holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Throughout her career, she has worked at the intersection of education, youth, empowerment, and Latin communities. Emily moved to Telluride to work at the Resource Center and she feels really grateful for the opportunities has had over the last two and a half years.
Emily states, “The Resource Center is full of amazing people doing really incredible work. I think it’s really important for us as advocates to model the skills and relationship dynamics we encourage our own clients to develop.”
Allie Sutherland, Rural Victim Advocate, is a Colorado Native with a strong background in non-profit social services work. Allie resides in the West End of Montrose County and is the Rural Victim Advocate in that area. Her position provides direct services and resources to clients in Norwood, Nucla and Naturita. Allie joined the San Miguel Resource team in August of 2018. Her love for the communities she serves was the driving force behind wanting to join the team. As well as working for San Miguel Resource Center, Allie also works for Bright Futures as a Parent Educator and serves on many local boards.
SMRC’s Prevention Education Program strives to assist youth in leading healthy and successful lives. Prevention Educators work with students in nine different schools throughout San Miguel County and the West End of Montrose. The initiative pulls content from an evidence-based, resiliency program to create a seven- to nine-week-long curriculum. Lessons focus on developing socio-emotional skills, interpersonal and intra-personal awareness, self-efficiency, coping skills, and self-regulation. Those tools help prevent youth from engaging in risky behavior, which often leads to adverse experiences. Among the topics regularly discussed are healthy communication skills, creating and maintaining healthy relationships, emotional management, appropriate online practices, and post-graduate planning. Lessons are designed to build on themselves from year to year and are created to meet the developmental needs of each grade level. The Resource Center aims to make our lessons interactive and fun, allowing us to connect with youth on a personal level. Educators are passionate about the program and always look for ways to improve the lessons while strengthening relationships with the schools they serve.
Chris Owen joined the staff in May 2016 and is one of the Prevention Educators. Chris spends the majority of his time in schools working directly with youth. A graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo with a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in African American studies, his background includes three years in the Rochester, NY city school district as a part of the Rochester Young Scholars Academy, providing support to “at-risk” youth ages 10-18 to decrease dropout rates and increase college admission rates.
The Resource Center’s newest Prevention Educator, Marissa Lampe, who joined the team in April 2018.
Marissa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is thrilled to be a part of SMRC’S Prevention Education Program, as she has always felt passionate about empowering youth in leading successful futures for themselves and the communities in which they live. Marissa feels strongly that younger generations represent the future and having the ability to develop and practice healthy life skills as an adolescent is crucial to creating a social climate built on empathy, respect, and tolerance for everyone.
SMRC also raises awareness in our community through our Volunteer Program. At the beginning of their involvement, volunteers complete SMRC’s free Advocate Training, which certifies people to work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the state of Colorado. Three advocate training sessions are offered annually, with 27 new advocates certified last year.
SMRC currently has close to a 50-strong team of volunteers, who every year donate 6,500 hours of their time to staff the 24-hour helpline. Having such a committed team of volunteers sends a strong message that addressing and ending violence within our community is a priority. The initiative allows the Center to continue providing high-quality programs and services. SMRC is committed to maintaining this level of excellence as well as continuing to innovate and implement best practices so that volunteers receive an optimal education and survivors receive the resources they need and deserve.
Bebe Bischoff, the Advocate Coordinator and the newest member of the SMRC family, began her involvement with SMRC as a volunteer.
Like many others, Bebe took the training to further her education, make a difference in individual lives, and become more involved in her community. After recently graduating from Brown, Bebe completed the advocate training while working as a Festival Coordinator for Original Thinkers. She is passionate about cultivating spaces where people feel comfortable being themselves and was inspired by SMRC’s leadership in increasing community engagement and awareness. She is excited to be doing trauma-informed work that creates social change through community empowerment.
Claudia Garcia Curzio is the Cultural Outreach Coordinator. Her job is to provide outreach to underserved populations and ensure the Resource Center’s services are inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Claudia spends a significant part of her time advocating for the immigrant community, particularly the Spanish-speaking community, and empowering them through the resources provided by SMRC. Primarily she helps clients navigate the U-Visa/VAWA process, which are visas that help undocumented victims of crime feel safe enough to report the crime without fear of being detained by immigration. In collaboration with the Latinx Advocacy Coalition, Claudia provides information and education to other organizations and agencies in our community around cultural awareness and inclusion.
Claudia has been at SMRC for over two years. What motivates her to stay is knowing how much of an impact she has had on her clients and being able to give them the resources they need when they are leaving an abusive relationship. Having grown up in a home with domestic violence, Claudia has a deep personal connection to SMRC’s work, which makes her passionate about advocating for others.
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