Support group forms for Vail Valley’s unemployed |

Support group forms for Vail Valley’s unemployed

Lauren Glendenninglglendenning@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyTsu Wolin-Brown explains how the Salvation Army's Vail Valley chapter can help members of the community facing challenging economic hardships Thursday during a community meeting held by churches and non-profit organizations at the Edwards Chapel.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado Constance Harvey has lived in the Colorado’s Vail Valley for 30 years and has never had a problem finding a job until now.She lost her job in January and has been looking for work ever since.When Harvey couldnt pay her rent she went to the local Salvation Army for help. It was there, after talking to Tsu Wolin-Brown, the nonprofits executive director, that Harvey realized she was not alone.The Salvation Army had so many people (who needed help), Harvey said. Her numbers were up considerably from what people asked for before. Its a really tough space to be in. What would you do tomorrow if you didnt have a job?Harvey was moved by what she saw. She asked Wolin-Brown if there was some type of group that met to discuss unemployment and help support each other. Lets create one, Wolin-Brown said.People who have never had to ask for help before are asking for help, Wolin-Brown said. Its a foreign process for these people, and many of them probably need help figuring out where to go for help, how to beef up their resumes and how to file for unemployment, she said. This is unheard of to have so many middle class people losing their homes, losing their jobs, Wolin-Brown said. When theres a need in the community that people identify that we can help with, we like to create new projects.The Samaritan Center of the Rockies, located in the same building as the Salvation Army in Edwards, has also seen a big jump in the number of clients it serves. The Samaritan Center provides counseling services, and unemployment is something many probably struggle with emotionally, said Elizabeth Myers, the Samaritan Centers executive director. With the emotional stresses it puts on the individual, the family and the marriage, its huge, she said. The Samaritan Center joined the Salvation Army and Harvey to organize the first group meeting for the unemployed on April 2. The meeting is open to anyone and will be free. The format and how it all goes will depend on who shows up and what they need, Myers said. Harvey doesnt want people to think of it as something negative. She wants people to feel comfortable and know they can attend and get real advice, brainstorm with others about what to do and find comfort in knowing theyre not alone.I would like to see a weekly brown bag lunch, where we can network and exchange ideas, Harvey said. Its always easier to see someone elses passion and brilliance and possibilities than your own.Harvey wanted to get something going especially for people with families. Shes single, but she said she wonders how people with children are coping. They have more than one person to look out for, she said. As a community we need to be innovative.Putting minds together can spark creativity, she said another reason she thinks forming a group to meet once a week can help people in more ways than one. When people are panicked and living in fear, thats when their creativity is squashed, she said.Our whole world is changing right now, Harvey said. We have to be flexible in those changes. If it doesnt look like an industry is thriving, then we need to move into the industries that are thriving. … This is a huge possibility for us as human beings.Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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