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Jim Clark: Live united in Steamboat, Routt County

Think about what these situations have in common.

After years of physical and verbal abuse, a woman finds peace and hope at a battered women’s shelter, where she and her child can live safely. An at-risk, low-income family is able to secure early childhood education, allowing the parents to stay in town and give their child a chance to rise above the poverty line.

Another family struggling economically learns about financial education and works their way off public assistance. In another case, a man contemplating suicide is helped by a community member who was trained to recognize the warning signs, and a life is saved.



Yet another family faces the oncoming winter without enough warm clothing and a lack of funds to have a holiday dinner or toys for the holidays. A local holiday exchange program helps them fill the need of keeping their kids warm and having some joy for the youngsters.

These aren’t stories from Denver or another big city. They’re from right here in Routt County, and the programs that supported these families were funded, in part, by the Routt County United Way. There are many more ways United Way has helped Routt County residents than can be named here.



Routt County United Way focuses on goals. Our Early Childhood Education Goal is to make quality early childhood education and childcare more affordable for working families throughout Routt County. Our Income Stability Goal serves to educate and prepare county residents to move toward and maintain economic self-sufficiency. Economic self-sufficiency is the ability to support the basic needs of yourself and your family without assistance from social/human service programs or organizations.

For Health and Safety, our goal is to prevent or respond to crisis situations in a person’s life and prevent them from escalating and having a long-term, negative impact on the individual and his or her family and community. Crisis areas could include basic needs, mental/behavioral health, physical health and individual and community safety. And our Routt to Work collaboration with Lift-Up of Routt County and the Department of Health and Human Services teaches people to become self-sufficient.

As a board member and this year’s campaign spokesperson, I’d like you to strongly consider participating in this year’s campaign. Our kickoff is this evening at Haymaker, and the campaign continues into December. On Sept. 25, we have a special event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., our $20K day. Through the generosity of Yampa Valley Bank, the institution will match up to $20,000 that day in contributions. Either come by the bank during those hours, or call 970-879-5605 to donate.

Life in Routt County is great for most of us, but many people here find the cost of living and the challenges of life more than they can handle. This is a generous community, and I’m continually awed by how supportive of great causes Steamboat Springs and Routt County are. Please help us in any number of ways. If you’d like a workplace presentation on how you and your employees may support these efforts, let us know. We always welcome individual contributions.

Live united. Please support the Routt County United Way.

Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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