RFSD parent mentors recognized

Staff Report
Program director Eloisa Duarte presents a plaque to philanthropist George Stranahan at Monday's Valley Settlement Project Parent Mentor program graduation. Some of the 70 immigrant volunteers being recognized look on at the Glenwood Springs library.
Randy Essex / Post Independent |

The Valley Settlement Project’s Parent Mentor program, which placed immigrant parent volunteers in every Roaring Fork School District elementary school this academic year, honored this year’s graduates Monday at the Glenwood Springs library.

Seventy mentors were recognized for completing 10 hours of volunteer work per week — classroom time and additional work learning about such issues as domestic violence, child abuse, how to teach and how to find a job.

The program helps teachers with an extra hand and puts a Spanish speaker in the district’s classrooms from Glenwood Springs to Basalt, where schools’ student bodies are half or more Latino. The mentors, mostly women, learn English and a range of skills that help them become involved in the community.

In its third school year, the program is part of the Manaus Fund, founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur George Stranahan. Under the direction of Eloisa Duarte, a Carbondale woman who was a first-year mentor, the program has grown from 14 parents the first year to 70 volunteers. Next year, it will be in nine valley schools.

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