Local Nonprofits Save Lives
Content warning: the blog post below contains mentions of suicide, domestic violence, and cancer.
While all our nonprofits in the Gunnison Valley engage in life-changing work, this month we want to shine a spotlight on three local organizations that support members of our community going through really challenging times. The stories shared below come from three local organizations who received 2022 Community Grants.
CB State of Mind
CB State of Mind (CBSOM) was founded to reduce the high rate of suicide in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley. They work to build the infrastructure to improve access to mental health services in Gunnison County, where the suicide rate is nearly twice the state average. They shared this story from a community member about their annual green light campaign that takes place every April:
“I had a friend take his life, and my husband lost his Dad to suicide in 2021. He didn’t talk much about it and even asked last year that I not put up the green light in April at our house because he didn’t want people to know. He thought people would treat us differently. Last April he was seeing the green lights everywhere and eventually mentioned it to me this past fall. I explained it affects everyone; CBSOM’s mission addresses this, aiming to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide. EVERYONE has been affected, similar to cancer, but cancer is just more accepted. His eyes were really opened by the campaign last year, and this year he placed TWO green lights at our home. It was a beautiful moment we shared when he put the lights in and even greater when we stop and take a moment with them nightly.”
CBSOM’s annual green light campaign is held in April every year. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more information about next year’s campaign.
Living Journeys Cancer Support
Living Journeys provides vital support for families in the Gunnison Valley facing a cancer diagnosis. Their spectrum of services includes support groups and therapy, youth groups, transportation, financial assistance grants, meals, and more. By carefully listening to people in the community navigating a cancer diagnosis, they’ve tailored their programming specifically to address the challenges people face in balancing all their normal responsibilities with the additional burden of a battle for survival. They shared this 2022 Impact Story from a family coping with a very difficult situation:
“Our 10-year-old son has been fighting cancer for 5 years and this year has been the hardest year yet. Because of treatment he has seizures, lost all cognitive functions and motor skills, and he lost the ability to walk. Our son needs constant care; even his younger brother needs to be on call. Between the seizures, throwing up, and falling down, he cannot be left alone for a second. Our son’s cancer has stopped everything including work. We could not make it without the support from Living Journeys. From important financial support, which has kept us in our home and our bills paid when we can’t work, to emotional support when we can’t find the strength to keep going, to extra special gifts for Christmas to bring happiness during an extremely difficult time, Living Journeys has provided us priceless relief so we can focus our son.”
Living Journeys will host their 23rd Summit Hike on July 29. Check out their website for more information about this annual community event to support and honor loved ones and friends with cancer.
Project Hope of Gunnison Valley
Project Hope’s mission is to support, educate and provide confidential advocacy to individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking. Your support of their vital work makes the Gunnison Valley a safer place for individuals and families.
Project Hope shared this story of their quick action to get a local resident to safety:
Early one morning, one of our advocates answered the crisis line – a law enforcement officer was calling from the hospital on behalf of a woman named Janine. Janine had sustained serious injury from a domestic violence episode and needed help immediately. Our advocate quickly made sure Janine had a safe place to go once she was discharged. After giving her some time to rest, our advocate then worked with Janine on an action plan. She decided the best thing for her safety would be to leave the abusive relationship and return to where she had family in a neighboring state. Project Hope put her on a plane the next day so she could put miles between herself and danger, and we were so proud of her for showing such courage and determination. We hope she and the puppy she got after returning home are living life to its fullest.
Project Hope will host their second annual Stand With Me Luncheon on September 14, 2023 and information about the event can be found on their website.
Thank you to all the volunteers, donors, board members, and staff members who dedicate their leisure and working time to supporting our community members in countless ways. We see you and honor your work.
We appreciate everyone who came out to our annual Here for Good event celebrating the nonprofit sector and everyone who has contributed to our Community Grants Fund over the years. In 2023, we awarded a record-breaking $174,687 in Community Grants.