Many people have said that 2020 will be a special year. Maybe because itâ€™s an election year or once again the summer Olympics will occur. But for River Bridge Regional Center and Mountain West SANE Alliance, we are driving growth within our organization, making it stronger and sustainable for the communities we serve, and that will make our 2020 special.Â
This growth started with opening our second facility on 504 21st Street in December of 2018. The following January of 2019 we opened the doors to provide medical and mental health therapy to our clients in our new facility. Over the past several months, we have added staff in order to continue to provide the high-quality services that are essential to all victims of abuse. This includes Janet Earley who joins Meghan Hurley providing mental health therapy to our victims and their non-offending family members. Jennie Oatman-Dominguez joins Lori Bennett providing our clients with victim advocacy services. Kat Stenquist joined our team in October as our Lead Forensic Interviewer and Outreach Coordinator and Mary Cloud joined River Bridge in August as the new Assistant Director. RBRCâ€™s Executive Director Blythe Chapman also oversees the Mountain West SANE Alliance and contracts with ten nurses including Angie Hildebrand, Kelly Hill, and SANE Coordinator Becky Antonelli, to ensure proper medical services are available to all child and adult victims of abuse. Here at River Bridge, we are all working together to provide child abuse crisis response and child abuse prevention and awareness to our communities. Yet one day, we hope to work ourselves out of a job, finally seeing that child abuse, and all forms of abuse has been eradicated from our world.Â
New growth within our staff is not the only change River Bridge is facing. Our Board of Directors has also seen change happen in the last month. At the end of the year we saw one of our members, Mary McClure, retire from our board after serving from 2017 – 2019. Maryâ€™s mother, Joyce Bulifant Perry, was an influential force in starting River Bridge and we have been grateful for Maryâ€™s efforts to continue her legacy. While not on our board, she will remain with our organization assisting and volunteering when possible. We do wish her the best as she continues her work with Aspen Film.Â
But as one member departed, we were honored to have not one, but two members join our board. John Stelzriede and Terry Wilson joined the River Bridge Board of Directors in January 2020. Both John and Terry are long-time residents with their roots deep in the Roaring Fork Valley.Â
John is currently the Branch President for Alpine Bank in Glenwood Springs and has served on numerous non-profit boards, and currently serves on the Valley View Hospital Foundation Board and serves on the VVH Foundation Finance Committee.Â Â
Terry Wilson, who retired as the Chief of Police for Glenwood Springs after serving his community for 35 years, is no stranger to River Bridge Regional Center. Terry served on the Founding Task Force 2005Â through the Centerâ€™s opening in 2007. He served on the Board of Directors in 2012, as Board President when the program broke from a national organization and became a separate independent and local non profit.Â Terry has been helping bring River Bridge and the child advocacy services we provide to our community since the very beginning and has never wavered in his support.
We are grateful to have John and Terryâ€™s experience and assistance on our board and look forward to reaching our goals in our strategic plan. The strategic plan was developed in 2018 by the Board of Directors when RBRCâ€™s growth started to take off. In order to ensure our mission and vision was being upheld, the Board of Directors along with the Executive Director, Blythe Chapman, created this plan including three distinct initiatives: Financial Stability, Organizational Excellence, and Outreach and Awareness.Â While many initiatives have outcomes due by the year 2022, we have made great strides and are currently meeting or exceeding a few goals, particularly in Outreach and Awareness. National Childrenâ€™s Alliance states, â€œknowledge is our strongest weaponâ€ in combating the pervasive issue of child abuse. Therefore, getting our community aware, involved, and talking about child sexual abuse and prevention is a necessary first step to making sure our children are safe. We are able to provide informational presentations on child abuse, child advocacy, and River Bridge to our schools, businesses and community groups free of charge. If you would like more information, to schedule a presentation, or get involved with volunteer opportunities, please contact Kat Stenquist at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.Â
Written by Mary Cloud, Assistant Director, RBRC