OneTelluride - Immigrant Integration Initiative
Based on the latest census in 2000, the Hispanic population made up 12% of the Telluride Region. Over 15% of the Telluride School District student body is English as a second language students. The Hispanic population grew over 300% from 1990 to 2000 in San Miguel County.
However, that is not the whole story. In the Town of Telluride and Mountain Village alone, it is estimated there are between 600 and 1000 Hispanic / Latino residents, of which many are undocumented.
The Telluride Foundation recognizes that the Latino community is an important, growing and integral part of the Telluride Region.During 2004 the Foundation created the Latino Initiative, which is dedicated to creating solutions to build a stronger community by integrating the Latino population. The initiative is two fold; one to celebrate the Latino culture and two, identify and eliminate barriers of integration. Examples of programs funded by the Foundation include:
In addition to the events funded, the Telluride Foundation has created an interpretation service for non-profit organizations, government sector, and individuals. The goal of the service is to assist in breaking the language barrier associated with the Latino community. The service was a huge success in 2004 with over 250 hours of free interpretation services provided to the Latino and Telluride communities.
Current - OneTelluride
OneTelluride Immigrant Integration Planning and Implementation Initiative
While immigration reform remains a hotly contested issue, immigrants and “receiving community” members all over the state of Colorado are working together in innovative ways to strengthen their communities by addressing immigrant integration. The Telluride Foundation was one of nine recent grant recipients of the Colorado Trusts Foundation “Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families” Initiative. These nine community grant recipients join ten communities earlier funded by the Colorado Trust will receive approximately $18 million over a ten year period.
The Telluride Foundation received a $10,000 grant for a six months planning process which they named “OneTelluride”. The planning process brought together a broad range of community participants and the general public to determine how the Telluride community can better integrate its immigrant population. Following the planning process, the Telluride community will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $75,000 per year for four years to implement the plan.
Synopsis of Planning Process
Once the Telluride Foundation received the Colorado Trust planning grant in November 2006 they hired Benito Cardenas to coordinate the planning efforts. A core OneTelluride group, made up of Benito, Telluride Foundation staff, a Town of Telluride representative, and Noelle Hagan (our project facilitator provided by the Colorado Trust) developed a list of members for an “Initiating Committee,” consisting of immigrants and civic, business, and community leaders.
The planning process began December 1, 2006 and included monthly Initiating Committee meetings, the leveraging of ‘naturally occurring groups’, holding Community Forums, and leading focus groups. Over 1000 hours and 250 people participated in the planning phase representing the depth and breadth of the receiving and immigrant communities. The final plan based on the planning process was submitted to the Colorado Trust on September 10, 2007.
Overall, we were very pleased with the amount of community participation in this planning process. We discovered that there is a large and diverse portion of our community that has an interest in providing mechanisms to integrate our community. The varied citizenry that participated in the process demonstrated that there are many different contributors that are willing to participate in the immigrant integration process.
Synopsis of Implementation Plan
Activities to achieve specific outcomes were divided into six topic areas: 1) Healthcare; 2) Business & Employment; 3) Law Enforcement; 4) Housing & Transportation; 5) Culture & Community; and 6) Education.
1) Health Care:
The outcome for health care was to increase access to health care for the immigrant population.
Activities included a variety of strategies focusing on language support, patient navigators, a Telluride Cultural Center for providing information, using existing programs/initiatives such as the Local Health Care Initiative’s San Juan Health Council Oral Health Program and Transportation Program as a resource and method to communicate to local health providers and immigrants.
2) Business & Employment:
The outcomes for business and employment were to increase access to bank services, increase knowledge among employees and employers regarding work permits and other immigrant issues, increase transportation options for employees, and increased community capacity to deliver information and services to immigrants.
Activities included strategies focusing on a Cultural Center for providing education and information. The Center Director would organize employee and employer “rights and responsibility” seminars, as well as coordinate with other community organizations and churches to distribute information regarding housing, transportation, and community resources and activities. The Center would also collect and share information on best practices with other business. Activities also include working closely with local governments to improve regional transportation systems. Language strategies, including ESL classes, are important to both employees and employers.
3) Culture and Community
The outcomes for culture and community were to increase awareness of the broad spectrum of immigrants in our community, to increase immigrant participation in social and recreational community activities, and increase opportunities for immigrants to communicate in English and to interact in the community.
Activities included strategies focusing on a Cultural Center to complete an inventory of immigrant residents that includes countries of origin and language spoken, to coordinate cultural events and festivals, and to facilitate “Living in America” workshops for immigrants. Language strategies would include developing a community calendar in multiple languages, further developing an interpretation service, providing a community on-call translator, developing language programs, and developing a customized Telluride phrase-book. Coordination with existing nonprofits and community groups is essential to leverage on-going activities so that they involve and can benefit the immigrant community.
4) Law Enforcement
The outcomes for law enforcement were increased knowledge about law enforcement issues and operations and providing an equal level of law enforcement and emergency services to immigrants.
Activities included strategies focusing on a Cultural Center for coordinating cultural competency training and information and language-based strategies, including more bi-lingual staff, translation services, and coordinating with the media to provide regular bilingual public safety information.
5) Housing and Transportation
The outcomes for housing and transportation were increased knowledge among immigrants about the financial requirements for rental housing, an increased availability of housing for immigrants, and increased use of transportation services and expansion of routes.
Activities focused on the strategies of a Cultural Center to provide bi –lingual educational information to both immigrants and landlords as well as to provide a list of rental housing. Also, activities include working with local governments and the Regional Housing Authority to promote immigrant issues and needs and to expand housing and transportation options.
The outcomes for education were increased variety and frequency of quality educational opportunities for both adult immigrants and native English speakers, increased access to childcare and preschool, and increased integration of immigrant children into the general culture, especially at the high school level.
Activities included a variety of strategies, including a Cultural Center to implement cultural competency curriculum and trainers and to help encourage integration among extracurricular activities, sports clubs and other nonprofit groups. Additional activities included language strategies, including ESL and Spanish classes for adults, developing conversational groups, providing computer classes in Spanish, increasing the amount of non-English materials and media available in the library, coordinating with the Telluride Library to create a Family Literacy Program and providing a community interpretation/translation service. Coordination with local governments and the Bright Futures program is essential to increase immigrant participation in childcare and other early childhood educational experiences.