About Us

Our Story

Alternative Horizons (AH) is a grassroots organization started in 1978 by a handful of women who believed that no one has a right to abuse another human being. In our early years, women volunteered as board members and peer counselors for our 24-hour hotline. AH also offered a network of volunteer safe homes for stays of up to three nights. These services were available to residents of La Plata and San Juan Counties in southwest Colorado.

One of our earliest goals was the opening of a permanent shelter for women who were being abused and their children. During the early 1980s, AH worked closely with Volunteers Of America (VOA) to make this goal a reality. In June, 1985, Southwest Safehouse opened its doors. The two organizations have worked to offer the community a complete range of domestic violence services ever since.

AH has evolved over the decades. While our 24-hour hotline continues to be staffed entirely by community volunteers, the call volume has grown exponentially and the scope of volunteer training has increased from four to thirty hours. Nevertheless, our confidential services remain free of charge to anyone who calls seeking help. Over time, we have developed additional services including English- and Spanish-language support groups for adults; court advocacy and victim assistance within the criminal justice system; specialized multicultural outreach to ensure representative community service and support for marginalized communities; the Bridges of Hope legal project; 24-hour hotline services in Spanish; group counseling and case management for male and female adolescents; and prevention curricula for middle-school to college-aged youth. In addition, our staff, board and volunteers provide ongoing community presentations and education. 

AH support groups and our legal project are consistently full. Young adults are being arrested at higher rates, and at least one-third of students in AH prevention classes disclose being abused themselves or knowing someone who is. Because domestic violence knows no boundaries of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or socioeconomics, we are open and inclusive toward all.

While our services have adapted over time to accommodate community needs, AH has not changed the focus of the organization since our inception in1978. Providing alternatives and assistance to victims/survivors remains at the forefront of our work. A significant change over time has been expanded collaboration and connection among the community, service providers, advocacy agencies, human services, treatment providers, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. This is a direct outgrowth of a collective, common goal to prevent intimate partner violence and keep families safe. Our community is fortunate to have so many dedicated professionals, agencies and organizations willing to address common societal problems and working together on long-term solutions.