Valley Settlement

Valley Settlement

Valley Settlement Project

Maria Dueñas

Valley Settlement started as a project of the Manaus Fund thanks to a planning grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Using a community organizing approach, immigrant families were invited to talk privately to share their stories with bilingual organizers. One-on-one interviews with 270 families in 2011 found that immigrants had multiple barriers to settling in the Roaring Fork Valley. Many were unconnected to schools, services, jobs, and opportunities. Fear, poor public transportation, a lack of understanding or warm welcome from schools increased their sense of isolation. It became evident that no organization in the community was systematically reaching out to welcome and engage immigrant families with young children.

A key decision, in partnership with the Kellogg Foundation, was to respond in full to meet the needs of these families by taking a whole-family approach to address root causes of the multiple problems that were identified. Early childhood and adult education program elements were conceived in direct response to the needs of those interviewed.

A key strategy was to build the basic infrastructure necessary to implement seven programs simultaneously in twelve targeted neighborhoods. This work was initially made possible by a three-year grant of $1.2 million by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2012. Since then, in addition to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, many other Foundations, regional governments, and donors have invested in our work. Valley Settlement became a stand-alone 501c3 nonprofit at the end of 2016.

Today, Valley Settlement is transforming the lives of hundreds of immigrant families of the Roaring Fork Valley. Bringing these families out of isolation and successfully engaging them in the schools and the community has had a profound impact. Visible progress is evident across the community. The level of school readiness among immigrant children is improving. The level of educational achievement for immigrant parents is also improving. Improved skills and better jobs are reported by adults across Valley Settlement’s programs. Valley Settlement is bringing hope and opportunity to immigrant families and enabling them to feel welcomed as valued and contributing members of the community. Valley Settlement Project is making an amazing difference in people’s lives. Thank you for your support!