Senior News

Spanish Fiesta Seniors for Seniors BIPOC Scholarship winners announced


Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI) and the Spanish Fiesta Committee are pleased to announce the 2024 recipients of the Seniors for Seniors Spanish Fiesta BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) Scholarship Award (elder and youth). 

The following individuals are this year’s awardees: 

• Elder adult learner: Abran Salazar will be pursuing his education with a JATC apprenticeship with intended field of study in CPR, first aid and security training in Las Vegas, Nev. 

• Youth learners: 

Patrick Matney is undeclared at the University of Colorado, Denver. 

Trey Garcia will be pursuing his education at Pepperdine University and Westmont University with intended fields of study in business and engineering. 

Jeidy Yajaira Moreno Echavarria will be pursuing her education at Colorado Mesa University with an intended field of study in nursing. 

Jatziri Hernandez Arenivar will be pursuing her education at Colorado State University at Fort Collins with an intended field of study in veterinary sciences. 

Heidi Hernandez Arenivar will be pursuing her education at Colorado State University at Fort Collins with an intended field of study in political science and pre-law.

Marie Smith will be pursuing her education at University of Colorado at Denver with an intended field of study in architecture. 

Brooke Anne Huddleston will be pursuing her education at Fort Lewis College with an intended field of study in art and criminology. 

On behalf of ASI and the Spanish Fiesta Committee, we congratulate the class of 2024 on its academic achievements. Dedication to academic excellence, as well as extracurricular involvement and demonstrated leadership, have made these graduates standout candidates for these scholarships. We believe that their continued commitment to their education and community will contribute greatly to their future success. 

This year is the inaugural year of the scholarships after a 20-year hiatus of the Spanish Fiesta being held in the community. 

ASI is committed to reviving the Spanish Fiesta to its full potential over a three-year period. 

Scholarships specifically for BIPOC or Hispanic youth going on to education beyond high school were part of fundraising historically by the Hispanic community. There have not been scholarships dedicated exclusively to BIPOC youth in Archuleta County since at least 2006. 

ASI proposed to collaborate with the community; the path forward is intergenerational, the essence being our elderly community members working with our younger community members, such as students, to create the future by investing in education for the underserved from our county. 

The fiestas educated the public on the history and diversity of Indigenous/native and early settlers in this region, most of which exists in oral history, songs and sayings. Most important has been the inclusion of younger school-age residents to participate in the fiesta and to be awarded scholarships and royalty accolades for their efforts. 

Several Archuleta County entities and individuals had interest in re-establishing this annual event, but the explosive growth in the county in the last 20 years diverted resources and attention. 

ASI was successful in bringing all those individuals and entities together to form the Spanish Fiesta Committee in January 2023. 

ASI has agreed to cover the upfront costs and will share the proceeds with the elder and youth BIPOC scholarship program. 

Spanish Fiesta July 27

This year you are invited to the 22nd annual Spanish Fiesta on July 27. 

This year we celebrate “La cultura cura!” — a transformative health and healing philosophy that recognizes the importance of cultural values, traditions and Indigenous practices on the path to healthy development, restoration and lifelong well-being. 

Enjoy the 22nd Annual Spanish Fiesta in Pagosa Springs, where Spanish, Mexican, Native American and Anglo cultural traditions intertwine to create the strong heritage we have today here in Southwest Colorado. 

Food, music, dancing, libations, vendors, color and good company provide the ingredients of a party to delight all the senses and to make memories for a lifetime. 

This year is the 22nd anniversary of the Spanish Fiesta after being dormant for some 20 years before it was revived in 2023. 

The Spanish Fiesta Committee of ASI is working to make this year memorable. 

The headliner for the day’s activities will be famous New Mexican artist Darren Cordova Y Calor at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. 

Activities will begin at 3 p.m., but come earlier to get your seat and enjoy authentic Hispanic cuisine of southern Colorado and northern New Mexican plus a variety of other food trucks, artisan vendors, music from Candace Vargas and Northern 505, and folklorico dance performances from local artists. 

We will feature scholarship recipients, the Spanish Fiesta Royalty and the Archuleta County Fair Royalty. 

Proceeds from this event will support older adults of Archuleta County through the services of ASI and a BIPOC youth and elder scholarship fund. 

Admission is for an afternoon and evening from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. filled with fun for all. Tickets are available online and will be available starting in June for paper tickets. 

If you are interested in volunteering, being a sponsor or vendor please call (970) 264.2167 or email Rose Chavez at

Medicare fraud prevention

Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones by attending a special event on June 6 at 3 p.m. at the Pagosa Senior Center. 

Presenters from the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) and San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA) will discuss how to detect, prevent and report fraud abuse. ACSO staff will discuss general fraud targeted to seniors, and the SJBAAA will cover Medicare fraud.

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion per year. It costs Medicare beneficiaries in time, stress, their medical identities and potentially their health. It costs families, friends and caregivers in worry and lost work when helping their loved ones recover from falling victim to Medicare fraud.

“Medicare fraud has a devastating impact on both beneficiaries and the Medicare program,” said Caryn Hill, Medicare and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) counselor. “We teach people how to avoid experiencing Medicare fraud. By preventing fraud from happening, this program helps individuals and protects the Medicare program for generations to come.”

She added, “We’re excited to teach people about how to protect themselves from Medicare and general fraud and about the services that the Senior Medicare Patrol program offers.”

Medicare Fraud Prevention Week begins June 3. Everyone can help play a part in the fight against fraud:

• Medicare beneficiaries can monitor their insurance statements to make sure products and services received match what is on the statements. They can request free My Health Care Trackers from their local SMP.

• Caregivers can help by being on the lookout for items such as durable medical equipment (like boxes of knee braces) lying around the house that may have been shipped to the beneficiary without their or their doctor’s approval. They can remind their client or loved one to never give out their Medicare number or other personal information over the phone.

• Families can help by talking to their loved ones about protecting their Medicare number just as they would a credit card number. They can help their loved ones create a account to access their Medicare statements online or remind them to open and review them when they come in the mail. They can also register their phone number on “do not call” lists and go to to opt out of mailings.

• Partners and professionals can help by sharing SMP information on social media, referring clients and consumers to the SMP, and inviting the SMP to speak during a shared event.

• Health care providers can help by talking to patients about health care-related scams such as those related to durable medical equipment and genetic testing schemes. They can remind them that products and services should only be ordered by physicians they regularly see. Needed medical items should never be ordered through TV ads or unsolicited calls.

• Community members can help by looking out for older neighbors. When in public, they can be aware of older individuals purchasing gift cards in large amounts. They can encourage those they know to talk to a trusted source about their Medicare questions and tell neighbors about the most recent Medicare scams. They can even consider volunteering with the local SMP.

The SJBAAA SMP is ready to provide you with the information you need to protect yourself from Medicare fraud, errors and abuse; detect potential fraud, errors and abuse; and report your concerns. SMPs help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud.

The Senior Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For more information about the June 6 event, SMP or Medicare in general, please call the SJBAAA Medicare line at (970) 264-0501, ext. 2. 

Picnic in the park

On Friday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., join ASI for a picnic in the park. 

Join us as we renew a tradition of the past hosting lunch for older adults and community members of all ages in Yamaguchi Park, located at 684 S. 5th St.

Local band Acoustic Picnic will provide music and generate an ambiance of connection and relaxation. All community members are invited to join. 

We just ask that you please RSVP for lunch by 9 a.m. on May 30 by contacting or texting the ASI office at (970) 264-2167.

Emotional Freedom Technique sessions

There will be Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) sessions June 5 and June 18 at 10 a.m. 

EFT is an evidence-based method which uses acupressure trigger points and elements from other therapeutic practices. 

Extensive research and more than 100 published studies have shown EFT to be effective with lowering both psychological and physiological symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, stress and more. 

Once you’ve learned EFT, you can use it at any time you need it. Those who utilize the technique often report a reduction in symptoms in the first 90 seconds. 

Healthy aging yoga therapy class series

This spring, a Healthy Aging Yoga Series will be offered in person at the Senior Center on Mondays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

Classes will be structured by therapeutic yoga tools and techniques with chair movement, standing stretches, gentle postures, breathing practices and reflective meditative moments. 

Monthly themes for the series will include topics such as sustainable strength for healthy aging individuals, brain health, heart and cardiovascular health, mental and emotional well-being, community connections, and stress management, to name a few. 

Classes will be educational for participants to utilize practices in daily life and are meant for all levels of experience with yoga. 

Mats and chairs will be provided at the Senior Center; some blocks and Therabands are available, too. The addition of yoga props is always welcomed. 

We are requesting that individuals who are new to joining the series arrive early for intake inquiries and to please communicate with AJ Connors directly by emailing


The Senior Center will be hosting bingo twice a month on Friday afternoons from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Bingo will be on May 31, June 7 and June 21. 

Participation is free, and we ask you bring yourself and a friend for joyful fellowship. We will provide prizes from local businesses for all winners, and snacks will also be provided. 

No RSVP is required; just show up. All ages are welcome, but we ask those 18 and younger to come with an adult chaperone. 

For more information, contact us at (970) 264-2167.

T’ai Chi Chih

The Senior Center offers T’ai Chi Chih with accredited instructor Patti Popovich each Thursday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the dining hall to support older adults who want to discover purpose and fulfillment in this transitional phase of life.

T’ai Chi Chih is not a martial art, but rather a tool for self-healing. Softness, flow and effortlessness are the guiding principles in this practice.

All classes will be free for older adults (age 60 and better) and will last approximately one hour in the dining hall.

No special clothing or equipment is required. 

For more information, call (970) 264-2167.

Senior Conversations

Join us Mondays at 1:15 p.m. for a series of “Senior Conversations” with local Bill Salmansohn. 

He will lead the group through mindfulness exercises and discussion of various topics pertaining to aging in Archuleta County. Explore and discover for yourself answers to your questions and concerns. 

The meeting will be held in the Senior Center in the dining hall. Snacks will be provided.

Scrapbooking Club

The Pagosa Springs Scrapbooking Club holds monthly meetings the second Saturday of each month at the Senior Center. 

It meets each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be creative, share ideas, connect with friends, learn new techniques, share supplies and indulge in a potluck lunch together. 

Bring your scrapbooking projects — or any crafting project that you may want to work on with the group. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive notifications each month of the upcoming meeting along with handy tips and tricks for scrapbooking, please send your request to

Pagosa Springs Share lunch Monday through Friday

Join us at the Silver Fox’s Den, aka the Community Cafe, in person for daily hot/cold meals Mondays through Thursdays at the Community Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is open to all. Pickup is available all week, including Fridays. 

Our dining hall is open to all ages and welcomes you all with kindness and warmth. We provide hot/cold meals for anyone in the community interested in a nutritious and delicious meal. For those 60 or older we request a suggested donation of $6, but no one will be turned away. There is a $10.50 charge for guests under the age of 60. 

Meals include a main course, side dish, fruit/dessert, garden salad plus beverage. Some popular menu items include Frito chili pie, pork tenderloin with harvest chutney, Singaporean pork ribs, vegetarian lasagna, Hawaiian shrimp with coconut rice and always a beautiful green salad. Many of our items are locally sourced and organic. 

Our chef works with a team of local food professionals to hand-prepare your meal for dine-in service in our cozy dining room (with an amazing view of the San Juans) or for takeout (via our convenient drive-through). Our menu changes daily. 

To reserve your meal for the day, please make your reservation via text or phone call to (970) 264-2167 by 9 a.m. weekdays.

Community Cafe menu

Thursday, May 30 — Korean beef over white rice, sauteed snow peas, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Friday, May 31 — Picnic in Yamaguchi Park 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: chicken salad on croissant, deviled eggs, broccoli salad, assorted chips, orange blossom cupcakes, beverages.

Monday, June 3 — Red curry codfish, jasmine rice, green beans and peppers, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Tuesday, June 4 — Pork tenderloin with blackberry balsamic glaze, roasted potatoes, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Wednesday, June 5 — Butternut squash, mushroom, sage lasagna with white sauce, wilted spinach, garden salad, fruit, dinner roll and milk.

Thursday, June 6 —Teriyaki beef and peppers, coconut rice, sauteed snow peas, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Friday, June 7 — Herbed chicken and dumplings, green beans, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Grab-N-Go meals

Dine-in and Grab-N-Go meal reservations and cancellations are required. Please call or text by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you want to pick up a meal. A suggested donation of $6 helps to sustain our program. For ages 59 and younger, the cost is $10.50. No one will be turned away for their inability to donate. Please call or text us at (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation.

Meals on Wheels

We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents. Call or text us at (970) 264-2167.

Mobile food pantry service

Older adults needing a ride to a local food pantry should contact the MET to schedule a ride with its paratransit service. For more information, contact Lavonne at (970) 264-2250.

Text reservations

Don’t forget that we offer a convenient texting service for you to communicate with us. Text us at (970) 264-2167. When texting, please include your name, phone number and the days you want a meal. If you are canceling a reservation, please include your name, phone number and the days you want to cancel. 

Texting services are available for dine-in meal reservations, Grab-n-Go meals and Meals on Wheels recipients.

COVID-19 test kits available

Stop by the Senior Center to pick up a pack of six free COVID-19 tests kits for your personal use. These kits are available to anyone in the public who needs affordable access for health promotion and disease prevention.


Mahjong is a 19th century Chinese tile-based game that is commonly played with four players. Each player receives 13 tiles with a goal to make matching sets and pairs (like poker). To win, a player must form four sets and one pair. 

Come to the Senior Center to learn or play every Tuesday at 1:15 p.m.

Medicare call by appointment

For anyone who needs help enrolling and navigating Medicare plans, the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging helps with parts A, B and D. They can also help you with fraud concerns and troubleshooting any billing issues you may be having. By appointment only. Please call the Medicare line at (970) 264-0501, ext 2.

Mindful drawing

Mindful drawing is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Join our friendly instructor, Roberta Strickland. 

Classes are every Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. in the Senior Center. This activity is open to all ages. Help us create an intergenerational community. For those under 18 and/or with disabilities, you are welcome to join us, but we kindly ask you to please bring an adult chaperone with you.


The longest-played bridge game in Archuleta County takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. 

Bridge is a four-player card game with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. It is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. Come alone or bring a partner. 

Hand and foot card game

Whether you are new to hand and foot or interested in learning, please join us most Tuesdays at 1:15 at the Senior Center. 

This card game involves four rounds of playing until the final round is reached — some two to three hours later. Plan to stay and meet some new friends or catch up with those you have missed over the last couple of years. 

No experience is necessary, so come willing to learn.

Board vacancies

The ASI Board of Directors has multiple vacant positions open. The terms are three years with an option to renew for an additional term. 

Potential candidates should be at least 21 years of age or older and must have a passion for adult and aging services.

Supporting ASI

Please support our ongoing operations and programming that provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable in Archuleta County. 

You may mail your donation to P.O. Box 3444, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or please visit our website, (donation button). Donation checks can be written to: Archuleta Seniors Inc. We are located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For more information about Archuleta Seniors Inc., please visit

There is also another way to donate.

Are you 70 and half years old or better? Do you have an IRA from which you need to take a distribution? Did you know you can make charitable donations directly from your IRA without paying taxes on the distribution, up to $100,000 per year? The donation from the account would be payable to Archuleta Seniors Inc. and sent to P.O. Box 344, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. This gift option is called the IRA charitable rollover or qualified charitable distribution.