Mountain Family Health donates computers |

Mountain Family Health donates computers

Mountain Family Health Centers patient aervice eepresentative Reyna De Los Santos, left, presents Crystal Young, right, with one of 10 laptops donated to Advocate Safehouse Project. Young is advocacy director for Advocate Safehouse.
Mountain Family Health Centers |

Earlier this month, Mountain Family Health Centers donated 30 laptops to partner organizations based in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The nonprofit Mountain Family Health Centers’ mission is to provide high quality, integrated primary medical, behavioral and dental health care, with special consideration for the medically underserved, regardless of ability to pay.

Mountain Family cares for more than 17,000 patients in Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, and Rio Blanco counties.

To meet community needs, Mountain Family is getting ready to build larger and more comprehensive clinics in Basalt and Edwards. In August, the organization opened a school-based health center at Avon Elementary School.

It will also be expanding dental services in February with a new dental clinic at the El Jebel Community Center, and the new SMILES Program. In the SMILES (Spanning Miles in Linking Everyone to Services) program, registered dental hygienists provide preventive care and develop treatment plans along with a dentist via telehealth.

SMILES will open first at the clinic in Avon, and then at the Grand Valley Center for Family Learning and Bea Underwood Elementary School. SMILES will also be offered at Coal Ridge High School beginning in the next school year.

While updating equipment this fall, leadership at Mountain Family Health Centers decided 30 of the soon-to-be discarded laptops were in good enough shape to still be useful. Site managers at the Glenwood Clinic decided to donate the laptops to other nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Advocate Safehouse Project

“It is a godsend,” said Julie Olson, executive director of the Advocate Safehouse Project.

The Glenwood Springs-based nonprofit provides support and housing services for domestic abuse survivors in the Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County. The project plans to give each of the 10 laptops it received to clients for private use.

“For some of our clients,” Olson said, “it will be great that they have access to a computer … that we can say, ‘Here, it’s yours.’”

For some victims it will be helpful to have a laptop with internet access — for others, it’s more valuable to have a computer that’s safely disconnected from social media. The Advocate Safehouse Project is determining the best way to distribute the laptops, and Olson expects the computers will help several families take care of professional, educational and personal affairs.

Clients with Advocate Safehouse usually do not have the money to buy a laptop of their own, and Olson is pleased the computers could feel like holiday presents for victims and their families.

Mountain Valley Development Services

A similar boost is expected at Mountain Valley Developmental Services, also based in Glenwood Springs. This nonprofit supports area residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, plus their families. Adults receive the bulk of their services. Mountain Valley received 10 of the Mountain Family laptops.

“A lot of our people don’t have a lot of money,” said office manager Janet Jesse.

“[They] live on Social Security, so these computers could potentially open up a big world to some of the people that we serve.”

Mountain Valley Developmental Services assists 140 adults with a variety of services, ranging from round-the-clock care to light assistance such as grocery shopping. Housing can include group homes and personal apartments. The nonprofit also supports more than 350 children and their families across Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Lake Counties.

The organization is surveying where the 10 donated laptops would make the biggest difference. They’re expected to go to a mix of locations, including group homes, community rooms and private apartments. Jesse said the computers will be available for an array of activities — everything from putting together a resume to streaming music or Skyping with family members.

Valley Settlement Project

Farther up the Roaring Fork Valley, the Valley Settlement Project was the third recipient of 10 laptops from Mountain Family Health Centers. This Carbondale nonprofit aims to better integrate low-income families into the community, with a focus on child and adult education.

Like Mountain Valley Developmental Services and Advocate Safehouse Project, the Valley Settlement Project is assessing where the laptops would be the most helpful. That could include being used as teaching tools in adult literacy programs, or by parents who have successfully participated in child or adult literacy programs.

Valley Settlement Project worked with 400 families during the 2015-2016 school year. The average participant is a 34-year-old Latina mother, who is married with two or more children who has lived in the United States for 12 years.

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