FARMINGTON — San Juan County has many organizations and agencies that provide assistance to the community, but it can be difficult for people seeking those services to find that information.
Because of that, a group of San Juan College nursing students have compiled a comprehensive resource guide for San Juan County and the surrounding area. It is now available to help those navigating the sea of available local services.
The project to produce the guide began in 2011, when a group of honors nursing students from the college decided to compile and publish information on organizations in the area that provide services to senior citizens, such as meal programs, long-term care facilities and in-home caregiver services. The publication was so successful that the class of 2013 decided to expand the guide to include information on child care, mental health, community activities and medical services.
"The first guide was so well-received we were getting bulk orders for it," said Associate Professor of Nursing Marsha Bouchard, who oversaw the project. "But we saw some deficits and some gaps and decided to expand it, as well as make the print font bigger and easier to read. It's now more of a guide to overall resources in the area and includes information that would be useful for single moms and dads and those with special needs children, as well as for seniors."
Bouchard said the publication will also be useful for newcomers to the area.
"Just having a starting place with all the information available in one location can really benefit the community," she said.
Bouchard said the guide is still far from complete. She said her department plans to continue to add information on services and organizations and to add more categories, such as agencies that help the economically disadvantaged and homeless, as well as services that help survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
The department plans to revise and add to the publication every two years.
"People love it and keep asking for copies," Bouchard said. "We got a call from a public health nurse on the reservation who said it's so great to know what resources there are in the area."
While the resource guide is free, Bouchard said donations to the San Juan College Foundation to help offset printing costs, which are $4.55 per booklet, are welcome.
"But if someone wants to order them in bulk, we'll need to talk about a possible fee," Bouchard said.
Lucy Haber, the assistant director of the college's Community Learning Center, will be the distribution person for the publication. Haber agrees that a guide like this is sorely needed in a community the size of San Juan County.
"A senior center bought a couple hundred copies of the last publication, so it was very well-received. This really starts the conversation with people about who provides resources in the area," she said. "It also lists the resources we know are trustworthy. People often look to the college for resources, so I'm glad they can continue to come to us to help them find them."