New county coordinator named for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado has announced the appointment of Sally Neel as the new Archuleta County coordinator.

Neel moved to Pagosa Springs from Dallas last September with her husband, The Rev. Douglas Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. They have one son, Robert, who is a sophomore at Pagosa Springs High School.

Before coming to Pagosa, Neel served as director of development for a private school near Dallas, a position that involved public relations, fund-raising, administration, and communications. “I loved working with the children at the school and getting to know their parents and families,” said Neel. “It was not difficult to see the difference between the children who had a strong adult influence in their lives and the ones who did not.”

As a trained church musician and the wife of a minister, Neel attributes the church community with the positive influence on their own son. “He may find it disconcerting at times to be in the spotlight with so many discerning eyes,” she said, “but these adults have always given him love, direction, nurturing, and council. There is no question that being amid such a loving community of friends has had a very positive effect on his life.”.It is that first-hand experience with mentoring that makes her feel the call to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. “I want every child to have someone they can turn to, someone who really cares about their joys and sorrows, successes and failures, and their frustrations and triumphs.”

Upon her arrival in Pagosa Springs, Neel immediately became active as a volunteer in the community. Because of her professional background in music and public relations, she was asked to be on the steering committee for Music in the Mountains, where she assists with publicity. Pagosa’s Music Boosters also recognized her talent early on, casting both her and her son in “Into the Woods.” She was a member of the pit orchestra for the high school’s recent production of “West Side Story” and will assist accompanying Music Boosters upcoming production, “Meshuganuns.” Neel also serves as organist and director of music at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

“What can I say? I have fallen in love,” said Neel. “I love this community; the generosity of its people, their unbelievable creative energy, and their continuous outpouring of compassion for others. Plus,” she went on, “Pagosa Springs is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Can’t beat that!”

The office for Big Brothers Big Sisters is located at 422 Pagosa St., Suite 10. Sally Neel can be reached at 264-5077 or at bbbsps@centurytel.net.