Dear Editor:

Last week as I attended Rural Philanthropy Days (RPD), I was truly inspired by all the good work being done by both local and regional nonprofits. About 350 attended the event which featured sessions to build professional nonprofit management skills, along with ample time for networking and relationship-building. So many in our community stepped forward to volunteer for this event and make our guests feel welcome.

This event, coordinated in collaboration with Community Resource Center (CRC), allowed grant seekers from our region to build partnerships with foundations based on the front range of Colorado. Before the RPD began outreach to rural areas, only 3 percent of grant funds went to rural communities, but now, with RPD, 30 percent does. This gives our local nonprofits the ability to explore relationships with key funders to help fund our local programs.

I was pleased to meet so many other passionate people that were focused on a wide range of causes — early childcare, athletics, alternative education, seniors, transportation, creative industry, historical preservation, healthcare and so much more. Each one was so passionate about the cause they represented.

Like them, I’m passionate too. For me, I want to help create year-round, good paying jobs for our young people and young families. Without younger residents, we cannot be a vital and sustainable community.

I retired in 2008 from a corporate career. I have a lot of experience and knowledge from my time in the business world to share. I was successful and earned enough for a comfortable retirement in Pagosa Springs. Now I am looking for a way to “pay it forward.” For me I became passionate about good jobs for our younger residents, so they can thrive here and raise families here and experience a rewarding career like I did.

I have met so many young people who love the lifestyle and amenities here that scramble to work 2-3 low-paying, often seasonal jobs just to stay here. Many have a college education but are waiting tables or doing other unskilled work because they can’t find anything better here. Most have a small emergency fund, just in case they can’t make it. It is to get them to a place where they can find a good job. This breaks my heart.

I would like to see greater Pagosa Springs be economically and demographically vital and sustainable. I love this community and want to see it prosper. I want to see our young families thriving.

If you care deeply about your community like I do, please find a local nonprofit and volunteer your time and/or donate to help make our community thrive.

Muriel Eason

This story was posted on June 19, 2014.