People in a group smiling and holding backpacks

It takes a partnership and cooperation to get things done in the San Luis Valley. Take Jeremy Silva and Gigi Dennis as recent examples. When Silva had the notion to reach out and then receive several hundred backpacks and school supplies from COSILoveYou, a faith-based organization in Colorado Springs, he found helping hands in Dennis and her network of connections to help get the backpacks to Valley schools. 

Silva, the social services director at River Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Del Norte, made the initial connection for backpacks with COSILoveYou. Realizing he needed a way to pick up the backpacks and supplies, he immediately reached out to Dennis, the city manager for Monte Vista and networker extraordinaire.

Dennis is a board member for SLV Care and Share, which operates a large distribution center in Alamosa and makes weekly deliveries around the San Luis Valley. Perhaps Care and Share could assist in getting the backpacks distributed?

“We are proud to be a part of the San Luis Valley community and have a great partnership with the area. If we can help, then absolutely, we will say ‘Yes,’” was the response from Nate Springer, president and CEO of Care and Share

Care and Share employee Ralph Romero delivered the supplies to the Monte Vista Kids Connection, where everything was sorted and made available to schools. Silva, meanwhile, reached out to superintendents of San Luis Valley schools and learned that Monte Vista schools had the greatest need. Monte Vista received about 200 filled backpacks; Moffat received 30; Sierra Grande received 20; and Alamosa received 175.  

“It’s a good resource for parents. Backpacks and supplies are expensive for parents and Jeremy made the connections and I was pleased we could assist in getting them to those kiddos who need them,” said Monte Vista Kids Connection Director Anika Velasquez. 

River Valley is a 60-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center based in Del Norte. “We live in a community where there is always a need to help our neighbors,” Silva said. “My colleagues and I felt this was a great project that we wanted to support.  We are very thankful for our community partners like Care and Share, Kids Connection, other volunteers, Chelcy Velasquez and Michelle Velasquez and of course, COSIloveyou.”

PHOTO: Michelle Velasquez, H&R Block; David Medina, River Valley; Jeremy Silva, River Valley; Anika Velazquez, Kids Connection; Gigi Dennis, Monte Vista city manager; and Ralph Romero, Care and Share.