Valley Settlement was founded upon listening. Ten years ago, two community organizers went door to door throughout neighborhoods in the Roaring Fork Valley to listen to the stories, hopes and dreams of our vibrant Latino/a community. What we learned from those conversations formed the base of our programming, El Busesito (Little Bus) preschool and Parent Mentor. We have grown throughout the years and now offer six robust dual generation programs that serve Latina/o children and adults throughout the valley.
In the summer of 2021, Valley Settlement embarked on a community wide listening tour to hear from those whose lives haven’t yet been touched by our programs. Staff traveled up and down the valley to knock on doors and conduct conversational interviews with over 200 individuals. Wanting to ensure that we had diverse voices represented in our data, staff also conducted focus groups in the community and in partnership with valley employers. We wanted to know: what has changed, or remained unchanged, since we first began programming ten years ago?
The conversations lifted up challenges that families in our communities face on a daily basis, and they also brought to light many of our deep strengths and assets. Our staff was motivated and inspired by the conversations as we gathered together twice weekly throughout the summer to reflect on our experiences. Here are some of those reflections shared on the experience:
“I saw the history of my parents in her story… We are Latinas interviewing Latinas. [We share] similar stories… it’s very beautiful, [this process].”
“Even though we go through hardships, we don’t give up or hold back.”
What’s next in this project? We are now collating and analyzing the qualitative and quantitative data collected throughout the listening tour, working with a Denver based organization, Results Lab. Once this phase of the project is complete, we will share our findings with interviewees, community members, and partners. We aim to address where we might collectively improve our services as a community, working intentionally with families across the Roaring Fork Valley to achieve their dreams and goals.