Vail Valleys MIRA bus celebrates two years of service
MIRA serves 19 communities across Eagle County
The Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance (MIRA) bus on June 30 celebrated its two-year anniversary of serving Eagle County residents. MIRA connects people to resources and offers support.
“The goal of MIRA is to bring resources and services directly to people, and we could not have made the progress we have without the support of our partners in the community,” said Melina Valsecia, MIRA community connector and manager, in a news release. “We have served more than 12,700 community members during the two years of operation and were able to step up in two crucial crisis times to help — first during the Lake Christine Fire and most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those are perfect examples of why MIRA was established.”
MIRA serves as a single-stop, comprehensive, integrated and culturally-relevant approach to resource connection and service delivery where people are. Utilizing a 40-foot RV, donated by Vail Health, MIRA travels to neighborhoods, community sites and workplaces throughout Eagle County and provides resources including basic health education and screenings, support in applying to public assistance programs, food resources, workforce development and coordination with early childhood as well as physical activity programming.
The resources and services are provided by a variety of local community organizations, supporting the concept of an alliance which provides a platform to feature all partners involved in the project.
“MIRA has been a valuable resource in our community and serves as an example to other communities on how public and private cooperation can benefit an underserved population,” Vail Health President and CEO Will Cook said in a news release. “MIRA is a collaborative community service that is making Eagle County a better place to live and work.”
Eagle County Public Health and Environment is responsible for the day-to-day operations of MIRA. The county department raises funds, coordinates partners and convenes stakeholders. ECO Transit maintains, insures, stores and drives the MIRA bus. Eagle Valley Community Foundation funds a full-time community connector on the MIRA bus. Eagle County Paramedics Services provide basic medical services on MIRA twice a week. Neighborhood Navigators of Eagle County works with MIRA to support connecting residents with local resources and enhances grassroots leadership. The Community Market provides free, nutritious food for MIRA customers to take home. In conjunction with MIRA, Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement provides family-based programming about environmental stewardship, and Mountain Recreation provides fitness and health education. Vail Health and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office provide education also in the form of the ThinkFirst bike safety and pedestrian safety programs for children and their parents.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MIRA and the staff responded to thousands of Eagle County residents’ needs, providing free COVID-19 genetic and antibody testing, in partnership with Vail Health, as well as food, in partnership with the Community Market and Eagle County School District, behavioral health resource information from Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and formula and other basic needs.
“We are so proud of the community collaboration epitomized by MIRA. The communities, the county and all of the MIRA partners have worked hard to connect our residents with resources. The benefits are wide-ranging and long-lasting,” Kathy Chandler-Henry, chair of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners, said in a news release. “We see its value daily, and especially in times of greater need such as COVID-19 and wildfires.”
MIRA serves 19 communities across Eagle County, including Eagle Villas Apartments, Eagle Valley Middle School, Eagle Methodist Church, and Eagle Town Park in Eagle; Crawford Mobile Home Park in El Jebel; Lake Creek Village, Eagle River Village and Interfaith Chapel in Edwards; Aspen Mobile Home Park, Avon Elementary, Riverview Apartments and Eagle Bend Apartments in Avon; Dotsero Mobile Home Park and Two Rivers Village in Dotsero; Gypsum Rec Center, Gypsum Paramedics Building, the Community Market, Ridley’s Market and 2nd Street in Gypsum. The bus also makes appearances at special community events.