United Way of Eagle River Valley hands out 2019 Innovation Awards | VailDaily.com

United Way of Eagle River Valley hands out 2019 Innovation Awards

$10,000 grants awarded to Habitat for Humanity and Homecare and Hospice of the Valley

Habitat for Humanity homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
Special to the Daily

United Way of Eagle River Valley has announced two $10,000 Innovation Grant award winners who demonstrate innovative strategies that can lead to breakthroughs in the areas of health and financial stability. 

As a trusted source for identifying and funding effective programs and strategies, United Way defines an “innovative” approach as a novel solution that is more effective, efficient, collaborative, and/or sustainable than current solutions. 

The two winners of the award are Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley for its post-purchase program and Homecare and Hospice of the Valley for its telehealth initiatives.

Of the 79 families served to date by Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley, 90% reach out for support and guidance on a variety of topics post-purchase. With the post-purchase program, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is one of a handful of agencies that will empower new homeowners by offering opportunities to further increase self-sufficiency. 

The program will include education around scholarship resources, wills and trusts, financial workshops (saving and asset building), home maintenance (including basic home repair), community engagement (including family networking events), advocacy for affordable housing and, finally, community leadership including HOA training.​ In addition, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley would develop and train family mentor volunteers.​ At the core of Habitat’s work is the concept of offering a hand-up, not a handout.

Homecare and Hospice of the Valley is dedicated to providing home health, palliative and hospice care to all patients and their families. With the United Way Innovation Grant they will be piloting the use of remote patient monitoring with the goal of reducing patient rehospitalization and ER visits and increasing their ability to provide quality care. 

RPM provides HHOV with the ability to track patient vitals and other important data from far away. This ability is important in our rural community where many patients must travel far even for a routine check-up and where in-home care providers are in increasing demand. 

HHOV will provide the appropriate interventions to allow the patients to remain in their home throughout their recovery period and will use the RPM to drive skilled nursing visits with additional visits triggered by health status changes.

“Though HFH and HHOV won the award, there was stiff competition and we wanted to fund all of these excellent and much-needed programs,” said Rebecca Kanaly, the executive director of United Way of Eagle River Valley, in a news release. “CMC and the Salvation Army are also moving the needle with groundbreaking strategies that will effectively impact the lives of our community members.”

The two finalists for the grants were Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley and The Salvation Army. CMC was a finalist for its mental health support through peer monitoring for high performing high school students.

Colorado Mountain College and the CMC Foundation proposed a new project designed to use peer-mentoring to help support high-achieving high school students better manage mental health challenges caused by stress and anxiety. 

The college’s Vail Valley campus leaders wanted to focus on high school juniors and seniors who are taking concurrent enrollment college courses while juggling a full-time high school workload and numerous extracurricular activities. CMC’s experts in student development observed that these students often struggle with significant mental health challenges based on the high expectations they face, from both external expectations and their own high personal standards. 

The college wants to provide these students with support to help them address potential issues through an innovative peer-mentoring approach, in recognition that these high-achieving students often did not engage with more traditional counseling or supportive services in the community.

The Salvation Army was a finalist for its Horticultural Health and Wellness Hub. Horticultural therapy is a new and innovative, yet research-based wellness methodology to reach people in an outdoor setting. This program fosters preventive care and positive social services interventions while bringing the community together using horticultural therapy. 

It is a disarming way to engage people who might otherwise be intimidated by social engagement. The goals include fighting hunger, improving quality of life, making social connections, fostering opportunities to develop healthy lifestyle choices and providing hope.

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