Serving Crestone and Greater Saguache County

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Charitable Organization whose mission is to bring the community together in supporting the well-being of households in crisis in an attempt to stabilize their situation. A crisis usually means a one-time event that occurs like an accident or illness which impacts the financial stability of the family.

We respond to the needs and problems of people living in crisis situations by directly paying bills that will restore stability, giving them a chance to get on their feet without creating further instability. As each request for help is unique we have helped in many ways; with rent or mortgages, food, utilities, medical bills, propane, firewood, funeral expenses, travel to reach medical help not available in the valley, etc. In some cases, people are facing eviction or foreclosure, having utilities cut off or not having enough food to eat.

By helping people with a quick response to a crisis situation, we hope to prevent them from becoming homeless, sliding deeper into a financial hole that could endanger their survival, or require state or county aid and support on a long term basis. Many of these people are outside the help of Social Services or other organizations and need assistance to get them through a particular crisis. Many recipients are seniors and all have limited incomes. Aid may consist of financial help with a direct payment of a bill or a service.  Significantly, money is paid to the provider, never to the person making the request.


The Crestone Free Box was built around 20 years ago as a place to exchange goods for free. A free box is a location that allows for people to rid themselves of excess items without the inconvenience of a garage sale. When someone has items they wish to be rid of, but which might be useful to another person, they are set out and given to whomever wants them. If, after a period, no one has claimed the items, the contents of the box may be donated charity.



The Crestone Food Bank receives food donations from La Puente in Alamosa, Chokurei Farm, Dharma Ocean after retreats, and from local individuals. Commodities, including canned goods and meat, come to Crestone once a quarter by way of Saguache County. Proof of local residency is required to take part in the commodities program, which is hard for some people to provide.

On the third Wednesday of each month, Care and Share in Colorado Springs delivers quantities of potatoes and other staples that anyone can pick up from the Town Hall porch. Commodities and Care and Share notifications are posted on the Crestone Facebook pages. There is always a need for donations. In particular, proteins — peanut butter, eggs, beans, and meat — are always welcome, as are hearty canned soups and stews for those without access to a kitchen for cooking from scratch. For more information, call Denise Peine 719.256.4644.




The Crestone End Of Life Project (CEOLP) is a community-initiated organization founded in 2006 in the beautiful San Luis Valley, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range in southern Colorado. CEOLP was conceived to facilitate localized end-of-life care in Crestone and supports area residents in handling the repose, memorialization and disposition of deceased loved ones. We support green burial and operate a legal, open-air cremation site near the town of Crestone.

Out of the satisfaction we have taken in our work, and the expressions of gratitude received from those we have served, we have developed a sense that this approach to death and dying is of great benefit to our society. For this reason we have undertaken to make ourselves available to advise people from other areas – whether individuals seeking to learn about options in caring for their own, or communities wanting to build a similar type of organization.

The Crestone End-of-Life Project (CEOLP) is a volunteer service effort in our Crestone/Baca community to take loving responsibility for those who wish our services once they die.  We are primarily an educational organization focusing on informing our community members of their end-of-life rights and end-of-life choices (traditional and green burial, and traditional and open-air cremation).  

We encourage the members of our community, and everyone, to make their end-of-life wishes known, by filling out a “Five Wishes” document or Colorado Form 20.  Then the family members understand exactly what their loved one wishes to happen when he or she passes.

CEOLP is fortunate to have the only legal open-air cremation pyre site in the country.  Since our inception in 2007, we have served 20 community members who have registered with us for this service, and then then passed away.  While open-air cremation is only one end-of-life option, because it is such an ancient, natural, intimate and moving way to deal with the body, most of those whom we serve have selected this option.

This work is so very rewarding that we welcome anyone who wishes to participate in whatever manner they wish–either educationally or in more hands-on service when a loved one in our community passes.  We have various teams who do specific work in informing and serving those who are interested in our help.  Lives transform when a community serves one of its own who has died, and the families of the deceased are always deeply grateful.


Crestone Baca Village

The Crestone Baca community is nestled beneath the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains in south central Colorado. The Crestone Baca Village is a network of community members who have joined together in order to help each other in a variety of ways. Membership is free and it is easy to join. Membership in the Crestone/Baca Village is open to any adult living in the Crestone/Baca community who wants to share his or her skills with other members. It is also open to adults in the community who have any particular needs that village members might be able to satisfy.

When you sign up to join the Crestone/Baca Village network, you will list any particular skills that you have to offer other Village members, and you will list any particular needs that you have that other members might be able to help with. This information will be placed in a special database that is accessible to Village members only (or accessible only by the Coordinator if you wish.) Then when you need some help with something you can make direct contact with another member who has a matching skill to your need. Or if you want to help someone, you can see which other members might need your assistance. You can also contact the Coordinator who can assist you to make these connections.


We are funded 100% by donations from our small community and we try to spread those funds as widely as possible in our community.

We prefer that community members use our community vet (Linda Behrns) because she often gives a discount when Pet Partners is partially paying for vet services. This allows us to do more with the limited funds we have. We know she does not provide blood work and some other services, so sometimes it’s necessary to go elsewhere.

We prefer pre-approval before expenses are incurred so we can tell you how much we are able to help. The way Pet Partners works is that whoever receives assistance pays it back when they are able so someone else and their pets can be helped. Many people pay it back in increments over time.


Patrick Moore 719-588-6431
Elaine T. Johnson 719-256-5887



More than two decades ago, Colorado College sought to expand its reach further into the wild beauty of Colorado. The Baca campus, located 175 miles southwest at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, offered students, staff, and faculty the perfect solution.

Since 1987, more than 30,000 students have experienced the relaxed immersion of the Baca Campus. In the winter of 1987, Colorado College English Professor Joe Gordon took his “Literature of Wilderness” class on a field trip to the Aspen Institute’s nature facilities in Crestone, Colorado. He found that while dwelling in an environment of mountains, trees, streams, and wildlife, his students relaxed and engaged more deeply with the material than ever before. The rest is CC history.

Spurred by Gordon’s recommendations, the college initiated a fund-raising campaign and began experimenting with the creation of distraction-free space for reflection and enhanced learning. The Baca campus – made up of a lodge, conference center, classroom, restaurant, and student townhouse facilities – is a culmination of those experiments.

Contact Information

The campus is in use (by CC classes and groups, and both CC and non-CC conferences and meetings) year-round. For more information, contact the Baca Manager, Drew Cavin at 719.389.7613



Fourteen charter schools in the state of Colorado launched into being when the state passed the Charter School Act of 1994. Within a few years, all but four of those programs were out of business as the trends in their community or the values of their constituency shifted and these programs were unable to adapt. This is where Crestone Charter School (CCS) pulled away from the pack. In operation since 1996, CCS has managed to serve the needs of rural students in the second poorest county in the state, while growing the depth and consistency of educational programming that has earned it the John Irwin Award for Academic Excellence.

In 2006, the Crestone Charter School high school program was named one of the top three schools for academic achievement in the state by the Colorado Department of Education. CCS has sustained a program of academic excellence over the past fifteen years while developing an expeditionary program that allows rural students a leg up into global citizenship through service learning, academic and cultural studies in Japan, Costa Rica, India, and Mexico.

Located since its inception in a series of disconnected, thirty+ year old modular trailers and rental buildings four miles outside of the town limits, the program is now exists in a permanent facility through a Colorado Department of Education’s BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) capital construction grant.

The Crestone Charter School serves 97 students, K-12, in multi-age classrooms. Our instructors provide innovative educational programming, aligned with state standards with a focus on environmental and character education. The Moffat District notes from 2014 surveys, 67% of our students qualified for Free and Reduced Lunch. Our graduates have earned acceptance into universities such as Colorado School of Mines, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Colorado, Mesa State, Antioch College, University of New Mexico, Western State and two alumni have just this past year gone on to earn Master Degrees from The University of California, Davis and Denver University.

The Crestone Charter School’s commitment to global awareness for its students is matched equally with its commitment to improve the quality of life for residents of our local community. It is to this end we constructed a school building that excels as a model of sustainability and green construction, and serve as the community’s desperately needed, only shared space for civic activities, after school programs, and continuing education for our local residents.


The mission of the Crestone Charter School is to provide a stimulating experiential program that nurtures each student’s sense of wonder and natural desire to learn, in a creatively structured atmosphere, emphasizing academic excellence and uniqueness of character. We strive to inspire healthy responsibility in relationship with self, community and environment, both locally and globally. The scope of the Crestone Charter School shall include, but not be limited to, the following objectives:

  • To offer an innovative educational program of academic excellence that integrates body, mind, emotions and spirit;

  • To provide a learning environment that encourages self-esteem, and respects the experiences, talents and uniqueness of every student;

  • To prepare each student to be a life-long learner through relevant education;

  • To prepare each student to find his/her place in the context of human history and to comprehend the challenges we all face in a world in transition;

  • To insure mastery of basic skills in literacy, numeracy and artistry that meet or exceed the state content standards;

  • To develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, collaborative skills, and a sense of community responsibility;

  • To use the natural environment as a classroom to foster appreciation for our ecosystem and the Earth as a whole;

  • To engage the united efforts of parents, teachers, students and community members in the educational process and school governance;

  • To participate in the nationwide effort to reform public education.