About Us

The Rio Grande Prevention Program:

  • Is an active community coalition whose members include: community leaders, organizations, schools, law enforcement, and youth from Rio Grande County.
  • Goal is to reduce and prevent childhood and underage drinking, substance abuse and other related issues in our community.
  • Utilize multiple strategies across multiple sectors for a community-wide approach to: 1. Increase protective factors and decrease risk factors, 2. Change the environment which promotes high risk drinking and other drug use.
  • Use current research, collect data and evaluate annually to reassess our results to determine progress and what more can be done to achieve the goal over the long term.
  • Focus is on preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among middle and high school students and deterring drinking and driving with special emphasis on educating the young driver.

Our History

Rio Grande County has received funding since February 2003 from the Persistent Drunk Driving (PDD) Cash Fund, through the Colorado Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) known today as the Division of Behavioral Health.  In receiving this funding, interested key leaders began forming a coalition in March, 2003 to address the serious problem of underage drinking in our county.  Due to the high rate of juvenile DUIs and underage drinking related arrests, the Coalition began to address the conditions that allow and promote high-risk underage drinking.

Beginning with the 2004-2005 funding year, the PDD Project Coordinator began working with residents of Mineral County regarding the dangers and risks of drinking and driving.  Our funding increased as a result of this collaboration.  After invitation to the county to apply for the Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant in early 2006, the Rio Grande County Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking became the membership foundation of the Rio Grande Prevention Program representing both counties.

Coalition members consist of representatives of the local and state law enforcement agencies, youth, parents, grandparents, Monte Vista and  Del Norte school districts,  Rio Grande County Public Health Agency, Monte Vista Kids Connection, High Valley Community Center, San Luis Valley Behavioral Health, Rio Grande County Commissioner, Monte Vista Journal, Calvary Baptist Church, Early Steps for Childhood Success, and CSU Extension.  The Coalition’s 25 members provide alcohol and drug prevention information to the community, such as at the health fairs, presentations to organizations, school boards and faculty, and local government, organizes workshops, and collaborates with schools and agencies at special functions such as pre-prom activities, Red Ribbon Week, and during Alcohol Awareness Month.  The activities of the coalition are designed as a deterrent to underage drinking and other drugs and to increase the perceived risk of the short term and long term affects of using alcohol and other drugs.

The Rio Grande Prevention Program is committed to reducing underage drinking behaviors, related issues, and positively influencing local social norms.  The Coalition meets monthly.  If you are interested in becoming a member, a sponsor or would like to assist in individual activities, please contact Jennifer Valadez-Molina, at jvaladezmolina@riograndecounty.org or by phone at (719)657-3352.

Staff

Jennifer Valadez-Molina

Prevention Coordinator

Jennifer Valadez-Molina

Jennifer has worked at Rio Grande County-Public Health and just recently completed her first year and is currently the new Prevention Coordinator. Jennifer has a passion for helping others while making connections and focusing on creating a county wide environment conducive to safe, healthy and productive living through education, awareness and community support. Outside of work Jennifer  loves spending time with her family and the outdoors. 

Brandi Hazard - Health Equity Specialist

Health Equity Specialist

Brandi Hazard

Brandi has worked at Rio Grande County-Public Health since November 2022 as the Health Equity Specialist. Brandi has always been eager to help those in need when it comes to protecting the health of others. When not working you can find Brandi with family and spending time outdoors.

Ida White - Tobacco Program

Tobacco Program

Ida White

Ida has worked with Rio Grande County Public Health for 9 years.  She started as a Supervisor for the Healthy Communities Program and then became the  COVID Response Coordinator.  She has now taken on the Regional Tobacco program and helps with other programs for the County.  She loves the outdoors and spending time with her family.

Max Garcia - Office Assistant Rio Grande Public Health

Office Assistant

Max Garcia

Max has worked at Rio Grande County Public Health for two years. Max is the office assistant and he is often the one you hear on the phone. Max ensures timely and quality responses and service. Outside of work Max loves to enjoy all of Colorado’s beauty, whether it is rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking or simply fishing. 

Kaleigh White

Accountant

Kaleigh White

Kaleigh has worked at Rio Grande County Public Health for seven years. She has grown with the department over those years and is currently the Accountant for Public Health. Kaleigh is a go-getter and will stop at nothing to make sure the task is accomplished with the utmost confidence. When she is not working, you can find her with her family and friends enjoying the outdoors or traveling to new places.

Dianne Koshak BSN

Public Health Nurse

Dianne Koshak, BSN

Dianne BSN has worked at Rio Grande Public Health for 16 years. As a Public Health Nurse, she concentrates on public health activities that keep our community healthy. She has been a resident of the San Luis Valley since 1996.

Dr. Kolawole for the past two and half decades, as an altruist physician, municipal government health director and health officer, I have exercised successful and effective healthcare leadership. Through direct and efficient facilitative/collaborative leadership, I have strategically implemented successful city/county-wide programs with innovative approaches, secured needed funding, effective organizational change and workforce development. And led proactive health policies locally, nationally, and internationally. Success stories about…

My priority goal is entangled with the welfare of the people, agencies, organizations and governments, I interact with directly and indirectly. This means I lead and collaborate with others to implement health policies, initiatives, and programs that improve access to quality and affordable healthcare, social services and wellness programs. It is my overall objective to continue to provide leadership on health policy and management leadership on public policy-related healthcare services, education and programs and improve access to those in need so everyone can live a life of optimized wellbeing. 

Rio Grande Public Health Director

Dr. Kolawole Bankole

Strengthening Families Rio Grande County Prevention Program
Prosper Partnerships Rio Grande Prevention Partners
SAMHSA
CommunityThatCare