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Stories of Impact: Rural Community Resource Center

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Devanie Helman

For stroke victims, the trajectory of life can change in a matter of seconds. Not only is it personally devastating, but the entire family is impacted and the burden of caring for a loved one can become overwhelming. Carol, a resident of Northeast Colorado, suffered a series of strokes, and the responsibility of caring for her fell on her son while her husband remained employed six days a week at a dairy in Washington County. The intensity and level of care Carol needed was considerable and became too much for her son to manage alone. The stress resulted in the deterioration of his mental health, seriously impacting his ability to care for himself, let alone his mother. He became involved in illegal activities and ultimately ended up in jail.

In times of despair, it can feel like there is nowhere to go, particularly in situations where financial resources are stretched and support networks are thin. In Colorado, 13.7% of the population is living below the poverty line, while many more teeter on the brink of poverty without an avenue to improve their economic situation.

Through advocacy, education, and emergency assistance programs, the Rural Communities Resource Center provides hope and stability for many families living in Northeastern Colorado.

Following the arrest of Carol’s son, the Community Resource Center helped her find an affordable nursing facility for temporary care. Perhaps more important was the personalized attention and commitment the Resource Center and local community demonstrated towards Carol and her family. A group of women from Carol’s church and the Resource Center coordinated a schedule of volunteers who would care and cook for Carol while her husband was at work, knowing that if he was unable maintain employment, the family would be destitute. The Community Resource Center remained a constant presence in the family’s life continuously providing both financial and emotional support. When another series of strokes took Carol’s life, the Community Resource Agency and the community worked with the family to plan and finance Carol’s funeral.

The Rural Communities Resource Center demonstrates community support in a way that can only be described as unity. Having experienced the crushing impact a stroke has on an individual and a family, the consistent support and peace of mind the Community Resource Center brought to Carol and her family during their time of greatest need was invaluable, and impacted them in a way simply not measurable through quantitative data.

This blog seeks to share stories of impact from across Colorado through our grantees. Email us at communications@elpomar.org and tell us how people in your community have been impacted by the work that you do.