20 Under 40: Roddy Beall is dedicated to helping local immigrants and spreading joy through soccer and dance
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It was 2011, and Americans were still recovering from a brutal recession and stock market crash. Nonprofits everywhere were fighting for their lives.
In the small town of Steamboat Springs, a young red-headed man could be seen pedaling as fast as he could through a cold mountain rain, trying his best to right a sinking ship in his own hometown. In fact, Roddy Beall spent a lot of time riding his bicycle to accidents and domestic situations, interpreting for the immigrant community when nobody else was available.
At the time, Integrated Community, a nonprofit that worked with immigrants, was going under. Executive Director Sheila Henderson asked the board for a little more time to try and save the organization, and weeks later, she hired Beall, who had grown up in Steamboat and only recently moved back after working as a park ranger.
“I told him I could only pay him for 20 hours a week, but he was amazing,” Henderson said. “He worked 30 to 40 hours a week — drove his bicycle and motorcycle to everything. We didn’t even have money to pay for his transportation costs.”
In fact, Beall would answer Integrated Community’s phone lines 24/7, heading off to the emergency room or a traffic stop at a moment’s notice.
“Sheila and I were probably both crazy to take on something, not knowing if we’d be able to pay ourselves,” Beall said. “We said to ourselves, ‘We won’t worry about money or the hours. We’re going get it done.’”
Name: Roddy Beall
Profession: Program support specialist, Integrated Community
Education: Bachelor of Arts in ecology and Spanish, University of Colorado, Boulder
Pretty soon, someone offered Beall a free car to get around. As he built up an interpreting business model that companies and law enforcement could trust and actually pay for, Henderson was able to find more funding as well. Beall then slowly grew the English tutoring program for children and adult immigrants.
“Immigrants in general are a wonderful group of people and an important part of our town,” said Beall, one of the few non-lawyers sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice to deal with immigrant issues in the court system.
Even after all he’s done to help save Integrated Community, what Beall is most proud of is the team that serves the community.
“Oftentimes you meet people on their darkest or worst day … they come in because they’ve been a victim of violence or workplace abuse or they’re struggling to pay rent,” Beall said. “Our team snaps into action to support that person in a variety of ways — from medical and mental health resources to connecting with law enforcement.”
While many residents may not know of Beall’s selfless work in the immigration community, they may have seen his joyful smile on the soccer field or on the dance stage.
A talented soccer player, he’s dedicated much of his free time to coaching kids and serving as a go-between for immigrant families not familiar with the American sports system.
Beall, an avid outdoorsman, also discovered dance in college.
“When I got to college, I met African immigrants who were passionate about dance, and they invited me to dance with them,” said Beall, who brought his love of dance to Steamboat, where the dance community has since embraced him. “There’s this incredible community of women who have taught me that movement can be found in ballet and contemporary dance and jazz. They really pushed me.”
Beall is a frequent performer at local dance events, like Dancing with the Stars, that help raise money for nonprofits.
“Technically I’m a terrible dancer, but my smile gets me by with the audience,” Beall said.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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