By Marshall Dunham
The Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) is implementing a new program to read to the youth of Archuleta County.
The program includes the kindergarten and first-grade classes of Pagosa Springs Elementary School, and the preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classes of Our Savior Lutheran Church and School.
Additionally, the ACSO will also read to the Archuleta County Head Start program and has already read once to children at the Seeds of Learning Early Care and Education Center.
In an interview with SUN staff, Sheriff Rich Valdez explained the parameters of the program, with its main goal being to strengthen the relationship between the ACSO and Archuleta County youth.
“More than anything, it’s just to have that presence and build those relationships,” explained Valdez, stressing importance of “just being able to let the kids talk to us and get to know us, and let them know that we’re there to help them and that they have someone, maybe even a familiar face, that they can come to in times of need.”
Valdez stated that the ACSO had already read to children at Seeds of Learning, adding that the department was hoping to read to a class once a month.