Our mission is to proactively promote and support successful integration of immigrant and local community members in Northwest Colorado through education, intercultural exchange, and collaboration to build a more united community where its members can communicate, participate and contribute.
Integrated Community's goal is to strengthen our community through building respectful relationships between immigrant and local neighbors. We strive to create awareness of different cultures within our community and through our programs we break down the linguistic and systemic barriers that prevent our constituents from accessing services and resources in our community. We do this by providing education and support through Integrated Community's (CIIC) three programs.
CIIC and its programs were established after a series of community meetings held in the fall of 2004, in English and Spanish, to address our community's needs in response to changing demographics. These meetings gathered over 75 immigrants, government officials, health care providers, non-profit organization directors, and other community members to establish a prioritized list of community needs.
After eight years of providing service, Oct 2012 Integrated Community announced our separation from an umbrella organization becoming a stand-alone Non Profit Organization under the guidelines of the IRS as a 501C3 agency. We have spread our wings and increased our services in order to have our doors open full time for our clients, both those receiving services AND to those providing services. We are the only program in the Yampa Valley that provides assistance to limited/non-English speaking community members in the areas of medical, employment, housing, legal and other basic needs, decreasing the workload of other human service agencies in the area.
Partnering with Routt County United Way to form the 443 Oak NonProfit Center, we took possession of a permanent home for our 2 non profit organizations in thanks to anonymous donors. In the near future we hope to expand the building in order to make room for the work of other non profits in the area who need office/conference space to do their good work.
Many of our clients are political refugees of Mauritania. The black families were pushed out of their homes until they were eventually pushed out of the country. Their families are mainly now in Senegal while these gentlemen were imprisoned and finally the United States gave them asylum with full residency status. Life was very dangerous. It was a case of ethnic cleansing.
Today these many gentlemen work day and night shifts, send their paychecks to Senegal to support the many people of their extended families They are grateful for the jobs and support that they've found in the Yampa Valley. Some quotes: "I like it here. No problems. Life is very quiet, safe."
A wonderful article "Out of the Shadows" was written by Luke Graham in the Steamboat Today newspaper.
Integrated Community has worked with no less than 200 youth of NW Colorado to receive their deferred action identification cards and their renewals(DACA), allowing them to apply for drivers licenses, social security cards and to join the workforce.
"I would be the first person in my whole family to go to college," she said. "The reason my parents came to this country, this place, is so I could have a higher education and break the line of poverty in my family."
For Carlos, deferred action meant he would continue with his high school education, the opportunity of a diploma becoming a worthwhile reality.
The thought of the future paints a smile across Abilena's face - the first real glimmer of hope since she learned seven years ago that she was an illegal immigrant.
"I was so happy," she said. "All these things are running through your head. Even though it's only for two years, it's a step. It's a step to something."