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The “We Are Chaffee” Storytelling Initiative has expanded programming to include a new podcast, a written story initiative, and a partnership with Colorado Mountain College to host the video storytelling workshops. The new programs and partnerships offer expanded methods to share personal stories as well as provide an increase in ways for community members to engage with the stories that involve our fellow Chaffee citizens’ struggles to find housing and its role as a determinant of health.

All of the stories are meant to reflect the diversity of “who Chaffee County is”, evoke compassion and empathy, and ultimately create conversation and advocacy for positive change in Chaffee County.

We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream Podcast host Adam Williams. Courtesy photo.

We Are Chaffee has partnered with KHEN Radio to transform the “Chaffee Housing Report” from an education-focused podcast on housing issues throughout central Colorado to a more “human-forward” podcast that is designed to raise awareness, connect our community, and create a call to action to address some of the community’s toughest challenges, such as social and systemic inequities and significant disparities in living conditions.

This “Upstream” approach is characterized as proactive, collective actions to improve outcomes rather than reactions after an issue has already occurred.

Although the podcast continues to focus on housing and other social determinants of health, host Adam Williams uses a conversational approach with guests in the hope that these honest and sometimes difficult conversations will connect with listeners who will gain insight into other people’s lives and create an understanding of the unique challenges experienced throughout the county.

The first three guests on the podcast reflect the diversity of Chaffee County and include; a local rancher; a person who lived with generational addiction, is in recovery, and is now helping others with addiction issues; and a homeowner who thought her dream of having a secure place to live would never come true.

In an effort to make the podcast more accessible, viewers may find this podcast on their favorite podcast app. There are also links links to podcast apps, written transcriptions of the conversations, guest photos, and a chance to learn more about who is involved in this effort on the We Are Chaffee website. Listeners can hear the shows as they are released on KHEN radio every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. and on the KHEN website.

The We Are Chaffee Fall Semester Video Storytelling Workshop has begun in partnership with Colorado Mountain College (CMC). The partnership allows We Are Chaffee to bring this work home instead of contracting out the workshop with story-writing facilitators outside of the county.

All of the workshop classes are being held on the Salida CMC campus and are being taught by local filmmaker and musician, Sarah Hamilton. The participants will each create a three to four to-minute video that reflects a personal story or moment in their lives that shaped who they have become. We Are Chaffee will host two free public showings of their combined videos at the Fall Dinner & A Movie events in Salida and Buena Vista at the end of October and beginning of November. Details to come.

In addition to video stories and podcasts, We Are Chaffee has engaged four story writers throughout the county to interview local people from all walks of life and write a short impactful story about what the storyteller shares about their life. The core of the stories is about our individual humanness. The stories, photos of the storytellers, and information about each storywriter can be found on the We Are Chaffee website; Spanish translations and more stories will be posted soon. All of the stories will be made into storyboards which can be found posted throughout Chaffee County.

We Are Chaffee will be present at the September 22 Chaffee Housing Authority “House Party”, giving Chaffee residents a chance to view an inaugural batch of written storyboards and talk with a variety of people involved in the We are Chaffee initiatives. For more information and to register for the free House Party, the link is

We Are Chaffee video stories, Looking Upstream podcast, written short stories, and more about partner organizations and the team may all be found at: