Soul Players of the Valley conducting survey

SAN LUIS — Soul Players of the Valley is conducting a survey that will be used to form an economic recovery plan.

Dana Valdez-Maestas, Community Planning Manager for Soul Players of the Valley, shared the vision of "family minded individuals coming together with the shared vision to help everyone and all communities in the San Luis Valley.”

A group of people met in 2018 with Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC) to address the issues facing the Latino community in the San Luis Valley.

Teenagers came up with the name, Soul Players of the Valley. These grassroot members envision new opportunities for Latinos and address the health, economic, educational and other inequities of the region. The group meets once a month. Members range from teenagers to 70 years old.

Recently, the organization received a grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to create an economic recovery program. The grant provides surveys asking people what their needs are and what change they would like to see in their community.

Valdez-Maestas wants "the community to feel ownership and be part of the decision-making.” The surveys need to be completed by Dec. 31.

A person can take the survey in several ways. Flyers are distributed throughout Conejos and Costilla counties with a QR Code that people can scan from their phone or by visiting their website People can call 719-399-2424 to take a survey for Soul Players of the Valley to help create an economic recovery plan for San Luis Valley. Anyone completing a survey will be entered into a raffle to receive a gift card.

Valdez-Maestas said, “everyone has a voice and needs to be included. Using community democracy principles people tap into their own wisdom and knowledge to define their own needs and build relationships. Having an economic recovery plan in place can pave the way for funding for a community center," which is the goal of Soul Players of the Valley.

Valdez-Maestas will meet with representatives from Antonito, Capulin, Conejos and San Luis to help bring the seven-step economic recovery process to fruition by June 2023.

Valdez-Maestas plans to have a community dinner to share the results of the surveys and what will be done in the future.

Soul Players of the Valley ultimately would like to see a community center in each town in the San Luis Valley. The Blanca/Ft. Garland community center is the only such facility in the region. There are no centers for the community to meet in Conejos County.