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Our Office Evolution
By Carmen Hubbs
August 30, 2019
Ages ago there was a fire. We had just begun to fully settle into what we proudly called home for the first time in nearly 20 years of operation…just to have it destroyed within 8 short months.
As the ‘almost original’ director, my first office was a desk at PLOPA alongside two police officers who had formally pulled me over as a teen driver just a few years prior. One in particular would regularly inform my father of my driving record with him. No, this wasn’t awkward AT ALL!
After 5 whirlwind months, I was relocated to a corner desk in the smoky break room of the Sheriff’s Office. I think their morning meeting was more like ‘rolled cigarette’ training and coffee. I no longer had a supervisor, just a board to guide me down a road they really weren’t sure how to navigate. I certainly didn’t either. Taking pity, the Department of Human Services took me and my new part-time staff member under their wings. I was given a new luxury office, while my staff got a transformed closet. Albeit two desks and 3 staff members eventually fit in there. Cozy anyone?
Another move exposed me, kindly called the fish bowl, and yes, people did knock on the windows at me! I feel for zoo animals. We were nothing but creative when it came to effectively running a now 4-woman, and handful of volunteers, operation in less than 150 square feet.
We’d finally outgrown our space, and maybe a little of our welcome. It was time to put our big britches on and pay some rent. We hosted our first open house, only because we could finally fit people. BBQ smokies and spinach dip galore! We were growing up!
Then came the glorious day of ownership. General contracting was certainly the ‘other duties as assigned’ portion of my job description. You want me to what? I survived and our offices were beautiful. Even better, we had room to grow. It was perfect.
Saturday, October 22, 2016 fire consumes our entire building. Truly there was NOTHING left of our new space. The only trace of our existence was a few charred Pagosa Duathlon racing bibs and some bookmarks.
Back to paying rent people. I found myself well beyond my ‘other duties as assigned’ navigating the insurance system. With more frustration then was necessary, and knowledge I hope to never use again, we were duly given what was deserved thanks to our Adobe Angel. I will say, it’s a little unusual paying off a loan for something that no longer existed.
Now debt free with some left over, it was time to shop for our new home…again. Déjà vu…I’m back to hiring contractors, picking out carpet and paint, installing shelving, and armed with drills and hex wrenches to assemble furniture, truly never thinking I’d have to do this…AGAIN.
As I write this, I happily reminisce our office evolution. From a one-woman, one desk corner to eight strong, bold advocates sharing a space created for healing, progression, empowerment and completion of mission, goals and ultimate visions of a violence-free Pagosa. I’m proud of where we’ve come, who we are, and who we have yet to be.