Boots on the Ground Awards


The San Luis Valley Joint Interagency Oversight Group (SLV Joint IOG) is pleased to honor partner agency staff members with the “Boots on the Ground” award in recognition of employees who exemplify the spirit of cross-systems collaboration.

The award recipients for this fiscal year are Lisa Powers, Mountain Valley School District, Perfilia Vigil, Alamosa County Department of Human Services, Rita Wilcox, Alamosa County Department of Human Services, and Amy Raya, SLV BOCES. “Lisa brings positive energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism to Mountain Valley School each and every day. Mrs. Powers is a trusted counselor who works with students, staff, and families to build positive and supportive relationships that encompass the whole child.

She works diligently with each to provide emotional support and teach healthy social and interpersonal skills. As a K-12 school counselor, Lisa wears many hats within the district and with each new assignment, she puts forth her best efforts to improve and guide students to become successful. She strives to meet the needs of all members of our school community, and she puts in many extra hours of time outside of the normal school day to enhance her skills and support our school. Lisa attends professional development opportunities and returns to train our staff to better serve our students. She also arranges college tours, works to build support for our gifted and talented students, and provides students with opportunities to engage in positive student groups.

Lisa leads our “No Place for Hate” coalition, as well as our bully and suicide prevention ef- forts. Lisa truly is a vital member of our school and the Saguache community. She is truly deserving of the Boots on the Ground Award, and we appreciate all the great things Lisa does for Mountain Valley School every day!” “Rita and Perfilia are a true definition of team. They prioritize attending the ISST’s and genuinely have each and every family’s best interest at the forefront of their input. These two individuals collaborate well with the team being mindful of the 10 guiding principles and brainstorming all alternative options available. Rita and Perfilia are very valuable to this process as they communicate well with the ISST Coordinator and assure they are reachable at all times to be a resource.

The knowledge base that these two carry regarding what is available through their agency is truly amazing. They are also very aware of cost sharing opportunities where assistance is needed outside of DHS. Having Boots on the Ground are a great title for both of these wonderful people as they push the pavement to help everyone they contact.” “Amy Ray is the Coordinator for the School to Work Alliance Program.

The purpose of SWAP is to provide successful employment outcomes, increased community linkages, and new patterns of service for youth with a barrier to employment. The SWAP program serves the 14 school districts of the San Luis Valley. What is so special about Amy is not her title but her enthusiasm for her work and community as well as how she goes above and beyond to connect with families. Some examples of Amy going above and beyond is her willingness to keep the clothing closet open for people in need at the San Luis Valley BOCES. Without her dedication and commitment to support this effort the clothing closet would not still be available. Amy is also a huge asset to the ISST.

Amy is also the lead person on the BOCES activities committee. This really helps pull people together so we have a professional working community that feels appreciated. Another area in which she is active is the TIGERS group. BOCES was also recognized for outstanding support for the Marine Toys for Tots Program due to Amy’s work. Amy also made sure that when support was needed to get free books out into the schools she was there to make sure this happened. I could go on forever about Amy’s ability to support her position, colleagues and community. Simply put Amy is an incredible asset to us all.” Established in 2008 and funded through Colorado State House Bill 1451, the SLV Joint IOG currently includes Alamosa and Saguache Counties.

Over twenty agencies participate including the 12th Judicial District, Probation Department, the Colorado Youth Detention Continuum program, Alamosa County Department of Human Services, Alamosa County Public Health Department, Alamosa School District, Center for Restorative Programs, Colorado Division of Youth Services, Colorado Health Partnerships, Crossroads’ Turning Points, San Luis Valley Early Childhood Council, San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group, San Luis Valley BOCES, Signal Behavioral Health Network, Beacon Health Options, Saguache County Department of Social Services, Saguache County Public Health Department, Center School District, Moffat Consolidated School District, Mountain Valley School District, Tu Casa, and Teri Sisneros, Family Representative for the SLV Joint IOG.

The goal of the SLV Joint IOG is to develop collaborative approaches for the provision of individualized, strength-based, family-centered, and culturally sensitive services to children, youth, and families. The SLV Joint IOG works to increase the quality and appropriateness of services while encouraging cost sharing and reducing service duplication and fragmentation. For more information about the SLV Joint IOG, please contact Carrie Heltzel, Director, at carrieheltzel @gmail.com.

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