Parachute mom advocates for families
August 14, 2014
Claudia Flores-Montes loves Parachute and she works every day to make the community a little stronger.
The 26-year-old single mother has a job helping people. She's a family advocate for Rocky Mountain Service Employment Redevelopment's Head Start program.
What exactly does that mean?
"I work out of an office as a family advocate for 35 different families," she said.
As a case manager, Flores-Montes learns everything she can about the families she's assigned to help and she works with them on whatever they need in order to become more successful, comfortable and supportive as parents.
It's an involved job. Flores-Montes helps the parents of children in Parachute's Head Start program develop personal and professional goals and work toward being self-sufficient. She helps them get clothes for their kids, medical care for the family, health insurance and to pay the utility bills.
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"Basically, I do everything you can think of," Flores-Montes said. "I transport them to the dentist. I go with them to job interviews and help them prepare their resumes."
She has connected with the dozens of nonprofits in the area and linked arms with business owners who want to help as well.
"There are so many resources in this community," she said.
And linking people in need to the organizations that can help is part of what Flores-Montes loves doing.
She moved to Parachute from California with her family when she was 10 years old. And she's never wanted to live anywhere else.
"I really love this community," Flores-Montes said. "I saw a lot of potential in it when I was growing up."
Now she's proud to be helping the community rise to that potential. After she graduated from Grand Valley High School, Flores-Montes was working at a daycare and studying early childhood development at Colorado Mountain College.
She basically stumbled into her current position with Head Start.
"When I was working for a daycare center, part of my job was to walk the kiddos from daycare to Head Start," she said. "I just kind of landed in this job in 2006."
While Flores-Montes' job is all about helping people, that's not the only reason she does it. She's passionate about strengthening community and making life easier and more pleasurable for the people who live in the area.
"I saw a lot of gaps working at Head Start," she said. "I didn't really see anyone else stepping up and I knew I had the time to do it. So, I said – why not?"
She now manages the Giving Tree for the holidays and delivers meals to the senior home.
"After LiftUp stopped doing the Angel Tree here, we didn't have anything," Flores-Montes said. "These families were going without Christmas."
"My grandpa lives in the senior home," she said. "They don't have transportation, so I would take my grandpa good food. I figured if I was taking it to my grandpa, why not just take some more."
Flores-Montes inspires those around her with her generous spirit – including her children. Victor, 6, and Liliana, 5, help with their mother's community service efforts.
"In their spare time, they have done the school supply drive with me in the summer," Flores-Montes said. "They help me with the tree and with delivering meals."
Victor asked everyone he could for contributions to the Giving Tree last year and raised more than $55 all on his own.
Now that the summer is wrapping up, Flores Monets is preparing to start the school