Member Highlight: Stacey Schlegel

Hometown (City, ST)

Dove Creek, CO


Service Location

Dove Creek, Colorado


Please describe one of your current projects.

Currently, I am volunteering for three host sites. One of my largest projects is implementing The Sources of

Strength, Suicide Prevention Program. We started the program with our high school group of students and

the goal is to have a middle school group as well. We have 9 Leaders and have asked our teachers and

staff to continue nominating students for all social groups. So far we have implemented 3 campaigns

highlighting the 3 strengths in the strength wheel. First, we did a Thankfulness Campaign where all of the

students in the high school and middle school filled out cards. Each card had a list of all of the things they

are thankful for. We took those cards and made a turkey display in the school for everyone to read. In

December we worked with the Dolores County Youth Mental Health Action Team to implement a Logo

Contest. All students and community youth were asked to design an image or slogan letting youth know

that it is” Okay To Not Be Okay” and ask for help. The winner of the contest has their design on all of the

flyers and swag that the Committee will put through out the community. Our new campaign is a “Music

Monday”. Our Peer Group chose songs to play during passing period between classes and we are having

a contest to see who can guess which song matches which of the 8 strengths. The goal for our Sources of

Strength Program is for students to help one another strengthen the connections they have with their

community so that when they are struggling or in a crisis, they have a larger, stronger set of resources to

get the help they need.


What effect is this project having on those you directly serve?

Through out the last few months we are beginning to notice small changes in our school culture. Our Peer

Group in becoming more actively involved with the campaigns they are running. Students are recognizing

and beginning to understand the Sources of Strength program and it’s purpose. The school staff and

teachers are participating and seem to be encouraging the youth to participate. Because of these

campaigns, they are having more open conversations with their students about the ways we can all get

help or help someone else.


What effect is your AmeriCorps service having on your community?

There are 4 other organizations within our community that directly impact the youth, Dolores County Youth

Mental Health Team, Family Engagement Action Team, The R.O.C.K, and The Community Voice. Each

entity has worked mostly separate in the past with some to little co-working. The Sources of Strength

Project has been able to bridge these organizations together so that they are all working with the same

purpose and can focus on getting all of the programs out to the youth and their families. Our goal is to

assist families with their needs whether it be basic food and clothing or mental health services medical

needs. Now we all are including more information about every resource each time we advertise.


What do you wish others knew about serving with AmeriCorps?

I would like others to know that giving back to communities is so rewarding. AmeriCorps provides us with

the ability to really see how communities are impacted in everyday life. We can take the knowledge we

have and help others, all the while continuing to learn about ourselves and discover new talents we never

knew we had!


What has been the most rewarding part of your AmeriCorps experience so far?

AmeriCorps had been utilized in our community in the past, but not in recent years. This year I am able to

work with 3 different Host Sites. Our community programs are incredibly important and having the

opportunity to share them with the youth and their families has been so gratifying, especially when it is in

my own community. AmeriCorps has given us a chance to continue grown strong youth for the future.

MLK Day of Service: A Day On, Not a Day Off

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence. MLK Day of Service is a way to honor his life and teachings by engaging in community action that continues to solve social problems. Legislation signed in 1983 marked the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with leading this effort. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community”.

This year, on Monday, January 18th, 2021, Team UP AmeriCorps members will participate in a virtual reflection event and service activity to honor Dr. King, Jr. Usually our members participate in the MLK Jr. Day Events up at Fort Lewis College in Durango put on by the Black Student Union. It’s a really special day to get to share it with other members of our communities. For MLK Jr. Day of Service 2021, we’ve gone virtual; thus, we invite anyone who’s interested to join us in celebrating MLK Jr. Day by participating in any of the activities listed below:

Reflection Activities: Attend one (or more) of the following free MLK Day events:

  • 1/17 @ 10am: Catharsis of Storytelling with Assètou Xango presented by The Dairy Arts Center

    • In a society built on racism, telling our own stories is the most powerful, and sometimes, the only tool we have. It is cathartic, it is clearing, and it has been the quiet vehicle of progress since the beginning of our existence. Poetry, in its non-judgmental, expansive acceptance, is one of the most accessible avenues for story-telling. In this workshop, for the new or novice writer, you will dip your quill into this deep well of freedom.
    • To register:]

  • 1/18 @ 10am – 12pm: Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulder County Community Celebration: Why We Can’t Wait! presented by First Congregational Church and NAACP Boulder County

    • Please join us in our 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The Boulder County Community has collaborated and created an outstanding event that will feature youth from the Boulder Valley School District and the St. Vrain Valley School District. This Year’s Stellar Program will air worldwide and feature varied performances by Boulder High School Orchestra, Ryan Woodworth, Director; Silver Creek High School Choirs and Bands, Jeremy Skelton, Choir Director and Bill Legg, Band Director, Niwot High School Choir, Laura Walters, Director, Colorado Heritage Community Choir, Director, Madelyn Strong Woodley, and Kerrie Joy, Performing Artist, Withers’ Museum Collection, Memphis, Tennessee by Dr. Ernest Withers, noted Civil Rights Historian and Photographer.  Special Presentations and much, much more…

    • To register:

  • 1/18 @ 3 – 4pm: Dominique Christina, Spirit of Grace, JustUs Monologists and guest performer Bo-Co DA Dougherty Expressing the Civil Rights Impact of the Criminal Justice System presented by Motus Theater

    • To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Motus Theater is offering a virtual space for music, poetry, and storytelling featuring Black Americans speaking out against mass incarceration. Don’t miss formerly incarcerated Motus Monologists from the JustUs project with the incomparable national slam poet Dominique Christina; powerful music from Spirit Grace; and DA, Michael Dougherty stepping into the shoes of a JustUs monologist by reading his story aloud and reflecting on the impact of the criminal legal system on his life.

    • To register:

  • 1/18 @ 6 – 7pm: From Legacy to Possibility presented by The Dairy Arts Center

    • A virtual event hosted by poet Briannah Hill, featuring poets Assétou Xango and Hakeem Furious, visual artist Tya Alisa Anthony, and musicians Hazel Miller and Julia Kirkwood. Includes a curated Playlist from Hazel Miller and Julia Kirkwood and a creator spotlight and at-home art lesson by Tya Alisa Anthony.

    • To register:

  • 1/18 @ 7pm: Every Child is Born a Poet & Zoomback presented by The Dairy Arts Center

    • Directed by Jonathan Meyer Robinson, an incendiary mix of documentary, poetry, storytelling, drama, and performance, EVERY CHILD IS BORN A POET explores the life and work of Piri Thomas (b. 1928) the Afro-Cuban-Puerto Rican author of the classic autobiographical novel Down These Mean Streets (1967). The film traces Thomas’ path from childhood to manhood in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, El Barrio, from the 1930s through the 1960s; his parents’ immigrant experience, home life during the Great Depression, his membership in barrio youth gangs, his struggle to come to terms with his mixed-racial identity, his travels as a teen-age merchant marine, his heroin addiction, his notorious armed robbery of a Greenwich Village nightclub, his six years spent in prison, and then his emergence as a writer. Thomas’ coming-of-age story is counter-pointed with verité scenes of his on-going work of forty-five years as an educator and activist empowering marginalized and incarcerated youths. A stylized, genre-spanning production, EVERY CHILD IS BORN A POET is a riveting portrait of a life lived through struggle, self-discovery, and transformation as it examines Thomas’ use of creative expression as a means of confronting poverty, racism, violence and isolation.

    • To register:

Service Component: Perform one (or both) of the following “Household Gleans”. Historically, the term “glean” was used to refer to the process of gathering leftover grain or other produce after a harvest; today, you’ll be searching for excess food and/or clothing in your home. If you have kids, this is a great project to have them help with!

Pantry Glean:

  1. Find a bag to put the items in; it could be a brown bag or recyclable bag or cardboard box.

  2. Glean your pantry! Look in your cupboard for items to donate; popular items include peanut butter, pasta, beans and canned vegetables.

  3. Pack your bag with the items you’ve decided to donate.

  4. Donate the items to your local Food Bank.

Closet Glean:

  1. Find a bag to put the items in; it could be a brown bag or recyclable bag or cardboard box.
  2. Glean your closet! Look in your closet for items that you’re no longer using but are still in good condition; winter weather items like coats and jackets are especially needed during winter months.
  3. Pack your bag with the items you’ve decided to donate.
  4. Donate the items to your local Homeless Shelter.

If you choose to participate in the service project, please share any photos of yourself with #MLKDay so that we can share about our combined impact!

Al Huckins

(pronouns: she/her/hers)
AmeriCorps Program Director
United Way of Southwest Colorado
c: 865.661.4409

Spotlight on: Child Maltreatment Prevention Action Team

My name is Emily Spahn and I recently moved to Cortez from Denver, CO. I am serving with the Child Maltreatment Prevention Action Team (CMPAT) where I get to collaborate with the Piñon Project, the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, the School Community Youth Collaborative, and the Montelores Early Childhood Council. I just finished up my Masters in Behavior Change for Global Health at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and look forward to applying my knowledge in that area to a child abuse prevention campaign that will be rolling out in the winter of this year.

I did a lot of work in Malawi (Southeast Africa) and one of my biggest pet-peeves was the number of non-profits that were working on similar issues, but never worked together and ended up re-doing or un-doing each other’s work. So, I am so excited to work within the Collective Impact structure with the Child Maltreatment Prevention Action Team to learn more about this model and how organizations can play off each other’s strengths for a common goal.

My role right now involves supporting the CMPAT in our various activities. Currently, we are working on running a media campaign targeting changing norms around who is responsible for abuse prevention; providing Mandated Reporter Trainings, teaching Safe Sitter babysitting classes, organizing family skill building events, and working on community outreach. In the past 6 months, we have trained youth in safety skills, life skills, and entrepreneurship; developed and held four family skill building events that provided dinner, bonding, and education to over 200 participants; started our positive norms change campaign; are in the process of holding a youth art competition; and have trained over 150 Mandated Reporters.

Child abuse is a highly stigmatized issue and, as a result, a lot of the cases go undetected. Not only does abuse affect the individual in the moment, but it also has long-term consequences for both the child and the community at large. This is especially relevant since the pandemic increases stress for caregivers, and children are spending more time at home. Let’s work together as a community to educate ourselves on how to prevent and respond to child abuse. Contact Emily at to learn more, or if your organization would like to host a Mandated Reporter training.

To support local child abuse prevention efforts, CLICK THE LOGO to visit and like our Facebook Page.




Team UP AmeriCorps Welcomes 12 New Members

This month Team UP AmeriCorps welcomes 12 of its 15 new members! Keep an eye out for some new faces doing BIG things in our community! OPEN POSITIONS

Allie Clay

Restorative Practices Coordinator

Kiva Montessori & Battle Rock Charter School

Camille Bakley

Youth Development Specialist

Boys & Girls Club of La Plata

Christine Dorcheus

School Readiness Coordinator

Montelores Early Childhood Council

Emily Spahn

Prevention Educator

Four Corners Child Advocacy Center

Eve Hemingway

Food Security Coordinator

The Good Samaritan Center Food Pantry

Jamie Jones

LENA HOME Provider (Montezuma)

San Juan BOCES

Jamie McCarthy

Academic Achievement Advisor

Pagosa Peak Open School

Landon Cook

Youth Empowerment Leader

Pinon Project

Madi Nurkirch

Social Emotional Learning Advisor

Pagosa Peak Open School

Míceal Munroe-Allsup

Diversion & Restorative Justice Coordinator

District Attorney Office, 22nd Judicial District

Sophie Russenberger

Housing Navigator

Housing Solutions for the Southwest

Mental Health Voucher Program in Dolores County

The Youth Mental Health Action Team has launched their Mental Health Voucher Program in Dolores County. The team received funding from The Department of Social Services and The El Pomar Foundation to reimburse mental health providers for visits from local youth. The services will be provided virtually for the time being. Any youth, up to the age of 21 can utilize these vouchers for free behavioral health services up to 6 visits. The Team worked hard to get the program up and running for the start of the school year. On top of the usual stressors that many youth experience, the added impact of the pandemic and returning to school under new health and safety guidelines may put youth in a position where some professional guidance, or an impartial listening ear could be of great benefit.
Please contact Angie at 970-677-2250 x. 6 if you would like more information or to receive a voucher or to be a place that distributes the vouchers.

Team UP AmeriCorps is growing, and so is our impact!

Team UP AmeriCorps is growing, and so is our impact!
Did you know that there are over 6,900 SeniorCorps & AmeriCorps members in Colorado? These members are providing service at over 800 non-profits, schools, and government agencies. Chances are you’ve either met a member in passing or benefited from some of their service, perhaps without even knowing it! These members serve tirelessly to make chance and create local impact.
Team UP AmeriCorps members serve to improve community members’ lives from “cradle to career.” They do this by providing direct service in Education, Economic Opportunities, and Healthy Futures. Starting in September, be on the lookout for 15 amazing Team UP AmeriCorps members serving in 4 counties!
  • Archuleta: 3 Members
  • La Plata: 3 Members
  • Montezuma: 8 Members
  • Dolores: 1 Member

Exercise Your Body and Your Mind

June 29-July 31, 2020 (Sponsored by Community Prevention and Community Voice)

Join with the youth and children of our community in a reading/exercise program. Win a $10 gift card to Sinclair, Superette Deli, or Rack Haus

Reading Bingo for youth (6th-12th) and Kids Reading Bingo for children (1 year old-5th)

  • Pick up or Download Bingo sheets from Laurie @ library, Angie-social services, Kristy –summer program, or have Kay email them to you.
  • Parents must verify that your child has in fact read-date/ initial. · Send to Kristy @ 739-8874, Kay or 677-2894, Angie @ 739-3316, or Laurie at the library or her email Monday’s of each week.
  • Rewards will be given each week.
  • If you choose to go for blackout on Bingo cards, you will receive more rewards.
  • Exercise- children 30 minutes a day and for youth 1 hour a day (June 29-July 13) and (July14-July 28) Two sessions of two weeks
  • Parents must verify by initialing/date and sending to Kristy, Angie, or Kay on 7/13 and 7/28.

Contact Kristy, Kay, Angie, or Laurie if you are interested.

Click image to download!


During the inception of Team UP, 8 desired results statements were decided upon by the community to guide their work. These results statements are:

  1. Every child is born healthy and thriving*
  2. Every child enters school ready to learn*
  3. Every child progresses to high school graduation at or above grade level
  4. Every youth reaches adulthood able to pursue his or her full potential
  5. Every child is living in a safe and supportive home and school environment*
  6. Families have access to affordable health and behavioral health services*
  7. The community celebrates diversity
  8. Families are able to support themselves on a living wage
Montezuma and Dolores Counties voted on which statements they wanted to prioritize for their first Action Teams. Those statements have an asterisk above. Each of our seven Action Teams falls under the guidance of one of these, and at times, like with the Family Engagement Action Team, they are guided by more than one. These statements help to focus and inspire each team’s work. It is a long term goal of Team UP to address all of these statements.

​Jessica Randell
Team UP Coordinator

Team UP is a Collective Impact Initiative in Montezuma and Dolores Counties, bringing together a wide range of individuals and organizations, all working towards a common goal – improving outcomes for kids from cradle to career. Since this is a broad goal, Team UP Action Teams focus on more specific topics, such as Family Engagement, Child Maltreatment Prevention, Behavioral Health, Food Security, Youth Mental Health, the importance of Early Childhood development, and Early Childhood Education Expansion. United Way of Southwest Colorado serves as the backbone organization for Team UP.

Help us continue our work. DONATE

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Drew LaPlaca

Member: Drew LaPlaca
Position: Youth Empowerment Champion
Host Site: Piñon Project Family Resource Center
Hometown: Mansfield, CT

What do you do with Team UP AmeriCorps? I am the Youth Empowerment Champion serving at the Piñon Project in Cortez. I expanded all of Piñon Project’s youth programs, including Open Gym, After-School Program, Boys to Men (a weekly circle for supporting teen boys at South West Open School that also does monthly adventures), Sources of Strength (a suicide prevention program), and Extended School Year days. I will also be working on our summer program, which will include everything from doing community service and volunteering with local businesses to water balloon fights and Fortnite tournaments.

What is the best part about your service? A new project that I’m currently working on is creating a library for the youth who attend Piñon Project Programming. I hope to create a culture of reading among Cortez youth, which will nourish their already strong imagination, empathy, and intelligence. I hope my Term of Service is providing a trusted young adult in the lives of local kids. The most rewarding thing so far has been spending time with the kind, hilarious, and inspiring children of Montezuma County.

Why did you join Team UP AmeriCorps? I wanted to do AmeriCorps because of a presentation they had at my high school. It seemed like AmeriCorps was a great way to improve the world and travel on a budget. Team UP AmeriCorps appealed to me specifically because my mother spent a lot of time in Colorado. Actually, my first and only dog was named after the town of Mancos, but we pronounced it Mane-kos; I immediately found it funny that they liked the area so much that they named their dog after it without even knowing how to pronounce the town’s name correctly! What really sealed the deal though was the opportunity to work with kids in elementary school and middle school.

What do you wish others knew about serving with AmeriCorps? AmeriCorps does a great job of providing novel experiences. From the top down, people are looking to support you. I moved across the country as a seventeen year old without a car and the transition was quite easy due to the compassionate and trusting leaders in AmeriCorps and at my Host Site.

What is your plan after your Term of Service? My plan after this year is to join the Pacific Region of AmeriCorps NCCC. I got accepted last week, and look forward to continuing my AmeriCorps experience, this time with more of a focus on learning technical skills and spending more time with people my own age. Team UP AmeriCorps has been one of the best things to ever happen to me, and I hope my next term of service will be too!

If you are interested in helping with similar projects, check out our positions for our upcoming program year, starting in September 2020. You can view all position descriptions here.

If you are interested in learning more about how to become an AmeriCorps member with Team UP AmeriCorps, please contact Team UP AmeriCorps Program Director Al Huckins @

CAN YOU HELP? A full-time AC member costs about $32,000 per year.
United Way secures grants and contributions to cover approximately $18,000. We ask host sites to raise/obtain the other $14,000 (which is a bargain for a full-time person with benefits). Donors can contribute to further reduce the cost for a non-profit to obtain this wonderful support. Recommended contribution to offset the AC cost = $500 or more. DONATE

Spotlight: Rose Jergens

Rose Jergens, Executive Director of Four Corners Child Advocacy Center has been involved with Team UP’s Collective Impact Initiative since its start. She is an active member of the Montezuma Steering Committee and the Child Maltreatment Prevention Action Team. She is so supportive of Team UP that she did the following interview twice, when a tech error deleted the first recording.

Jessica: How did you become involved with Team UP?

Rose: Originally, the whole reason why I wanted to be there was to integrate trauma informed processes into the work that we were doing. I wanted to make sure that whatever we were doing in our community, we were thinking about traumatic events that children and family have experienced – Adverse Childhood Experiences, and all of those pieces – that we understood that those things really impact the way people live their lives. I wanted to make sure that those were core values of the Collective Impact work. 

Jessica: What excites you and brings you joy about the Team UP work?

Rose: We’re all capturing that spirit of what Collective Impact is. Originally even when we came together to collaborate, we were collaborating from our silos and not letting other people fill in the gaps. I think that what we’re doing is trying to figure out how to clean up gaps in service. That’s what I’m seeing with Team UP: bringing all those ideas about ways we can serve families to the table. And we’re getting better and better at it all the time!

There’s a piece about the work we do that forces us into a silo, and we are experimenting now with letting that go. Within Team UP, we are building trust, and we are building relationships. We’re learning how to rely on other organizations. It’s more than just sharing our resources – it’s sharing our families’ experiences. I get a lot of joy out of the trust that I’ve built with all of the other agencies. 

Jessica: What are your goals for Team UP?

Rose: I am excited about how we’re learning to utilize AmeriCorps members. A lot of Action Teams come up with these really great ideas, identifying and addressing gaps. We come together as a group and we’re passionate about this issue, but then we have to figure out how to meet those needs. A lot of times, we can’t stretch ourselves or our staff any further. Being able to bring on an AmeriCorps member to run those projects and help realize our vision is so valuable. My hope for the future is that we can continue to utilize their strengths and meet many, many more needs. 

I’ve been really impressed with how the Food Security Action Team has utilized their AmeriCorps member. I hope that the Child Maltreatment Prevention Action Team (CMPAT) will be able to utilize ours to that great of an extent. I feel like when I come together with the CMPAT, we are one – we are not our organizations. That’s the beauty of putting together our action plan: to see that this isn’t a Four Corners Child Advocacy Center function – this is a CMPAT function. This is something that we have all agreed upon and know needs to be done. We are figuring out the answer to, “But how do we do it?” and then we can bring on our AmeriCorps member to work with each of our agencies. I’m eager to see how it will be for that person to be serving for multiple agencies, but with one goal in mind. To me that’s super exciting, and I’m really hopeful that we’ll be able to continue to do this.  

Jessica: What Team UP work do you feel proud of?

Rose: Our Food Security Action Team really demonstrates what it looks like to collectively work together. I think that their AmeriCorps member probably helped a lot because that individual is bringing all of their visions together to promote a unified action. For me, just seeing their work and how they’ve grown gives me a clearer vision of what Collective Impact is, and the ability to actually visualize it. WOW – I can’t stop bragging about how awesome the work that they’re doing is. 

Jessica: Is there anything else about your work with Team UP that you’d like to share? 

Rose: Being part of the Montezuma County Steering Committee has been really valuable. A lot of it has to do with being able to feel like, within my organization, I can have a bigger vision because I have Team UP to take my ideas to. It might feel impossible for just me, but I have all those partners there, and we can make sure we are working together. And it’s more than that – I don’t have to feel like I have to do all the heavy lifting! Having this group of folks who potentially have pieces of that puzzle helps lighten the load for me. 

Right now I’m thinking about some new programming, and in order to do it there has to be a lot of pieces and resources in the community that already exist. I can try to create those services or I can trust that, when I’m ready, I can go to Team UP and I can say, “OK we’re ready to launch this program to serve this population and there are pieces that I can’t do.” And I don’t really need to, because another agency might be better suited to do that. 

Sometimes it takes a while for you to really understand what you are getting out of your participation and to get what this Collective Impact spirit is. I am a part of this community, I serve these same populations of folks, I see that I’m learning a lot and I see what we can create together.

Jessica Randell
Team UP Coordinator

Team UP is a Collective Impact Initiative in Montezuma and Dolores Counties, bringing together a wide range of individuals and organizations, all working towards a common goal – improving outcomes for kids from cradle to career. Since this is a broad goal, Team UP Action Teams focus on more specific topics, such as Family Engagement, Child Maltreatment Prevention, Behavioral Health, Food Security, Youth Mental Health, the importance of Early Childhood development, and Early Childhood Education Expansion. United Way of Southwest Colorado serves as the backbone organization for Team UP.

Help us continue our work. DONATE