La Plata Family Centers Coalition

Winter Newsletter 2019

Welcoming 2019

Can you believe we are already into a new year? We begin another journey, make new agreements and commitments and feel rejuvenated.

It has been an incredible experience since I joined the Family Center almost five years ago! I am very thankful for each one of you, our families, partnering organizations, donors and supporters!

It is with great excitement that I accepted the position of Executive Director at the Family Center last November. I am proud to have chosen Durango to raise my children and to set roots after the amazing adventure that I began 18 years ago when I left my home town in Argentina to become a world citizen. I am truly invested in our community and I hope I am able to contribute to its growth and well being.

In 2019-2020 LPFCC celebrates 35 years of service to the community! I am so happy to be part of this celebration! This year LPFCC will deepen into family support services, early childhood education, parent support, group connections, prevention and after school and summer childcare in Bayfield.

We believe that every service that LPFCC provides has an impact in someone’s life and it causes a positive ripple effect. From a compassionate and open stance towards our families’ unique experiences, we partner with individuals to find alternatives and new paths to bring positive change in health attitudes and behaviors through goal setting and resources and referrals. We assist families to form deeper connections with others to create greater support systems that will aid them during challenging times. LPFCC advocates encourage families to explore new ways to invest in themselves and remain in the present moment to enjoy life, parenting, and our community at large.

I would like to share a quote that hopefully will inspire you as much as it does to me daily:

And what is it to work with love? It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth. It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house. It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit. It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Work is love made visible.”

Kahlil Gibran

Warm regards,

Mariel Balbuena

Executive Director

Mission: Through education, resource networking and positive relationship building, we form respectful, productive family partnerships that create thriving, empowered individuals who are self-reliant and who envision a hopeful future for themselves, their families and their communities.

What's inside this newsletter:

* Community Supporters

* Events

* Grant Awards

* Classes Offered

* Employment Opportunities

* Staff at La Plata Family Centers Coalition

* Board of Directors

* Our Proud Partners and Memberships


With the support from our many community partners in 2017-2018,

we provided 15,273 separate services for individuals or families.

We assisted 1584 participants and 646 families.

Come visit with some of our funders:

Buell Foundation

City of Durango

Colorado Health Foundation

Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado

Daniels Fund

Durango Rotary Club

David Smith

First United Methodist Church and Thrift Store

Maria's Bookshop

La Plata County Humane Society

Parents Possible

River Church

Rocky Mountain Health Foundation

St. Columba Church

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango

Town of Bayfield

United Way of Southwest Colorado

99X Radio Station


Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School

Friday, March 1st, 5-7pm

11274 Colorado 140

Hesperus, CO

La Plata Family Center will be hosting a family game/movie night and potluck for all Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary families. For more information call Cindy Ryan @ 970-588-3331 or Trish McManus @ 970-385-4747.

Masquerade Party - Come celebrate 35 years of the La Plata Family Center

Saturday, April 6th, 6-9pm

479 Main Avenue

Durango, CO

Tickets available at and Maria's Bookshop.

$40 adults, $20 children and children under five free.

COME JOIN LIVE MUSIC from the Afrobeatniks.






Be an Asset Builder for Children in our Community

Learn about the 40 Developmental Assets which are

the essential building blocks of healthy child development.

Asset #1 Family support | Family life provides high levels of love and support.

Local Data: 77% of La Plata County youth report high levels of family support. (Assets Survey 2015)

Essential Question: How have you been supported and loved within your family this month?

Tip of the Day: “Think about when not to say anything. Well-timed silence in the form of listening---rather than lecturing or changing the topic can help your children turn problems into learning experiences on their own.” (Your Family, Using Simple Wisdom in Raising Your Children. Search Institute)

Resource: The La Plata Family Center offers ongoing parenting classes. You can find these classes at

Source: Search Institute 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents

Classes offered through the La Plata Family Center

Employment Opportunities at La Plata Family Center

Part-time, Bilingual Parent Educator (BPE) for our Parents as Teachers Program

The Parent Educator will facilitate home visits with parents who have children ages 0 to 5 and facilitate group connections once a month. This will include but is not limited to Early Childhood Education, Parent Education, Parent Engagement, and all other community activities as driven by our mission. Ability to have a flexible schedule is needed as occasional evenings and weekends are possible.

Full-time, Colorado Community Response (CCR) Family Advocate (Archuleta County)

Responsibilities include obtaining all required advocate training, contacting referred families, periodic home visits, conducting various assessments with families, working cooperatively with other agencies to link families to financial services and community resources that meet the parents' expressed needs, providing direct services, and timely data entry to track and record contacts. Ability to have a flexible schedule is needed as occasional evenings and weekends are possible. Includes benefits!

Staff at La Plata Family Centers Coalition

Big picture

Mariel Balbuena, Executive Director Direct line: (970) 828-4704

Anne Strainis, BA, Colorado Community Response Advocate Direct line: (970) 828-4702

Carmen Godac, Parent Educator - Parents as Teachers Direct line: (970) 828-4708

Marti Genge, Family Support Advocate Direct line: (970) 828-4701

Trish McManus, Family Support Advocate (Bilingual) Direct line: (970) 828-4707

Meredith Cox, Bayfield Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Director Direct line: (970) 884-9750​

Debra Ewing, Pagosa Springs and Colorado Community Response Advocate Direct line: (970) 507-1550

Lauren Patterson, Program Planning & Evaluation Consultant

Tori Kroeger, Contact Accountant

Judy Bierma, Yoga for You Consultant

Board of Directors

Lisa Isenberg, President

Michael Wanger, Vice President

Tom Helms, Treasurer

Kim Shropshire, Secretary

Laura Shelton

Heather Hawk

Kim Kirsch

La Plata Family Centers Coalition

Durango Office: (970) 385-4747

Fort Lewis Mesa: (970) 588-3331

Bayfield After School/Summer Program: (970) 759-2148