Community Transformation partners with Mesa County Commissioner John Justman and Colorado Governor Jared Polis in April 2019

The Community Transformation initiative is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to improve social capital, or social connectedness, neighborhood by neighborhood across Mesa County.
Strong social connections can have a greater effect on our health than quitting smoking, losing weight or exercising regularly. Solid community ties — including trust in institutions and within neighborhoods —are associated with higher academic achievement, lower crime rates and robust economic growth.
Clifton is the first area of action, primarily in the neighborhoods surrounding Rocky Mountain Elementary School and Kimwood Park. By joining the energy and insights of people in the neighborhood with the resources and commitment of individuals and organizations across Mesa County, we’re making transformation happen.

Vision: Colorado’s Grand Valley is a vibrant, caring and connected community where each of us has the relationships and opportunities we need to thrive.

Mission:  Improve community health, education and the economy by building social capital in neighborhoods.

Community Transformation is identified as a Healthy Mesa County Strategy for Improvement in the 2018-2020 Community Health Needs Assessment.


Ariel Clinical Services
Ariel Clinical Services is a multi-service agency celebrating 25 years in the Grand Valley in 2019. We provide services to children and families involved in the child protection system and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We joined this collaboration because we know that for all our clients, community connection is key for them to thrive and live healthy lives in the community. Our services include foster care, adoption, mentoring, therapy, supervised visitation, life skills, and vocational and residential care for the intellectually or developmentally disabled adult population.

Community Hospital
The mission of Community Hospital is to improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities we serve. To this end, it is our goal to reach citizens where they live, work, and play to ensure healthcare is accessible and affordable. We pride ourselves on delivering personalized care to our patients, and in working closely with our medical care providers in treating the whole person. This approach has resonated with our patients and we are growing to meet our community’s demand. As a supporter and member of the Community Transformation Coalition, this project will serve as an example to demonstrate health improvement and community engagement.

Grand Junction Housing Authority
The Grand Junction Housing Authority helps people when they are most vulnerable to regain their footing, and together we strengthen the community. GJHA believes that building social capital and connectedness, including helping people obtain and maintain stable housing, helps everyone and every community be happy and healthy.

Marillac Health
MarillacHealth was established in 1988 in response to a community need for accessible healthcare for low income residents. Today, Marillac is Mesa County’s only community health center providing affordable, accessible, patient-centered, integrated care – a combination of medical, behavioral, dental and optical services – to support the “whole person.” This coordinated model of care leads to healthier outcomes everyday. MarillacHealth is recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home for persons of all ages and backgrounds challenged by cost and access to care. Patients pay according to a sliding fee scale. MarillacHealth is a member of the Community Transformation Group and supports these efforts to bring accessible resources and services to the Clifton community.

Mesa County Public Health
Mesa County Public Health has embraced the Community Chief Health Strategist role, described by National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) as “new and sustained leadership at the community level to bring together community stakeholders to prioritize the needs of the community and to leverage resources to build integrated systems to achieve health equity.” As such, MCPH acts as the “backbone” organization for a number of community-based coalitions and projects, including Community Transformation.

Riverside Educational Center (REC)
REC cares about kids and they deserve the support of our entire community to ensure their lives are better and brighter. The Riverside Educational Center provides structured tutoring and diverse extra-curricular activities in the after-school hours for academically and financially qualifying K-12th grade students in order to improve academic achievement and foster positive social and emotional development in a safe and supportive environment.

School District 51
School District 51 believes in building strong social connections for our learners and their families, and recognizes the value of community ties and the impact they have on academic achievement, crime prevention, and economic growth. We’re proud to be part of the Community Transformation Group’s work in the Grand Valley, and are committed to providing our learners with every opportunity to be happy, healthy, and well-educated.

St. Mary’s Medical Center
St. Mary’s Medical Center is honored to be included in the coalition of 60+ organizations and individuals working to improve social capital and connectedness. St. Mary’s mission extends outside the hospital walls to the community we serve. St. Mary’s is dedicated to the efforts on addressing social determinants of health and fostering preventive measures.

Check here for the latest on Community Transformation partners’ contributions to improving community health, education and the economy by building social capital in neighborhoods.


Riverside Education Center (REC) and the Community Alliance for Education and Hunger Relief hosted a family farmer’s market at Rocky Mountain Elementary School in September. REC students planted produce at the Community Alliance farm at the CSU Orchard Mesa Research Station last spring, then harvested the bounty this fall and brought it back to school to sell. Click on the photo to watch KREX coverage of the event.


The annual National Night Out event in Kimwood Park brought out neighbors and many Community Transformation partners, like the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Hilltop, Mesa County Department of Human Services, Mesa County Libraries, Ariel Clinical Services, and Mesa County Public Health. Watch KKCO’s coverage here.



Community Transformation partners and Rocky Mountain Elementary School hosted a neighborhood “Spring Into Summer” event on May 6, to help local families get ready for summer and enjoy food and fun on a day when school was out. Watch KKCO’s coverage here.






Sound the Alarm volunteers

4/27/19: The American Red Cross of Western Colorado chose the Community Transformation Clifton neighborhood for their 2019 “Sound the Alarm” campaign on April 27. Executive Director Eric Myers said the event had about 40 volunteers who were able to install 120 free smoke alarms.  Volunteers returned to the neighborhood over the next two weeks for follow-up appointments as well as to continue canvassing. During the three-week campaign period, Red Cross volunteers installed more than 230 smoke alarms in over 110 homes in the Clifton area.




Gov. Jared Polis met with Community Transformation partners during his April 19, 2019, visit to Grand Junction. Watch KREX coverage of the event at the Mesa County Public Library.




Clifton Nature Park


Clifton Nature Park is a Mesa County-owned property operated as a public open space. Highlights of the Clifton Nature Park cleanup 2018 year-end report: Over ONE ACRE of tamarisk and weeds removed, HUNDREDS of pounds of trash removed, 23 children and students participated, 12 local businesses, clubs & organizations involved, ~ 60 native grasses and forbs planted for restoration. Clifton Nature Park cleanup (KREX coverage, 10/3/18)



Sarah Johnson


“We are all human. Like struggle, connection is part of the deal. When it comes to ‘what’s wrong,’ it’s also part of the cure.” Read more in MCPH Community Network Coordinator Sarah Johnson’s blog, Connection is the Cure.





“School is the hub of the neighborhood, so that’s why being with the school is so important,” says Jeff Kuhr, Mesa County Public Health Executive Director. Clifton Community Transformation Project Aims to Connect Community (KREX coverage, 9/24/18)





The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the Community Health Equity Map, which offers maps of important Colorado health, demographic and economic indicators, searchable by census tract. KREX looks at Life Expectancy, Neighborhood-by-Neighborhood (9/18/18)



The Riverside Educational Center now provides after-school tutoring and enrichment activities to about 100 kids at Mount Garfield Middle and Rocky Mountain Elementary Schools. Read the Daily Sentinel 7/29/18 editorial on the local nonprofit’s work: REC goes quietly about its mission.


Jeff Kuhr


Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr talks about Community Transformation and social capital in Rocky Mountain Health Plans’  7/24/18 edition of The Ascent.




The Crime Reduction Unit of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is having important impacts on crime in targeted areas of Mesa County, including Clifton. Read more in two 6/3/18 Daily Sentinel articles, “We got our neighborhood back” – Target areas see a drop in crime  and  Sheriff transforms office, changing approach from reactive (Daily Sentinel article, 6/3/18)


A healthy community breaks barriers that lead to isolation (5/6/18, Daily Sentinel guest column) is a great perspective on how connections matter, from Jim Hale, a local pastor in Palisade. He and his wife Roni have lived and served in the valley for 25 years.


Spring 2018 Daily Sentinel articles and opinion:





Check out The Business Times’ coverage of social capital and Community Transformation:

Thank you to Movie Night and Special Event sponsors:

Colorado Legal Services

Finding free or inexpensive family activities close to home can be a challenge if you live in Clifton. Thanks to generous community sponsors, Clifton residents now have a free neighborhood movie night once a month during the school year.

Help build community and your brand – Be a Movie Night sponsor! $150 sponsorships are now available for Fall 2019.