How it Began
Alternative Horizons (AH) was established in 1978 with the purpose of providing support to survivors of domestic violence in rural La Plata and San Juan Counties. AH was founded by a group of women who believed that no one ever has a right to abuse or control another human being. These women, many of whom were survivors of domestic violence themselves, were committed to ensuring that survivors could find safe, confidential help, information, and support.
Alternative Horizons’ founders collected donations to set up a telephone hotline and volunteered to respond to calls 24 hours a day. They organized a volunteer Board of Directors and established AH as a nonprofit organization. At that time, domestic violence was regarded as a “private family matter” that belonged behind closed doors. They educated the community that domestic violence is instead a larger societal problem causing enormous damage to the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. These steadfast women began a service that has benefited thousands of survivors for over forty years.
How it’s going
Today, AH is the primary nongovernmental provider of nonresidential services for survivors of domestic violence in La Plata and San Juan Counties, providing help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Services have expanded to meet the ever-increasing needs of individuals and families who are not safe within their own homes and relationships. In 1993, criminal-court advocacy services were added to assist survivors in navigating the legal system following the arrest of their perpetrator. In 2008, AH added an on-staff attorney to provide civil legal assistance to survivors. AH educates the community about the dynamics of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and connects survivors to resources and safety.
All of AH’s services are free, confidential, trauma-informed, voluntary, open and inclusive to survivors of domestic abuse and violence. AH was recognized as the 2014 Nonprofit Of the Year by the Durango Chamber of Commerce.