My American Dream: Borderlands and Belonging

This past fall, the Rural Youth Catalyst Project announced our partnership with PBS American Portrait: A National Storytelling Project.  Utilizing themes from the American Portrait Project, we asked rural young people from across the country to respond to our prompt “My American Dream: Borderlands and Belonging,” which sought stories about the meaning and pursuit of the American dream and the obstacles people face as they strive to make their dreams come true.  

This week we share the voices of three young adults and community leaders from Alamosa, Colorado: Eliasa Chavez, Garrett Pearson, and Katy Plumb. They are part of a team of young people leading the work of H.O.P.E. (Helping Others and Promoting Equity) in Alamosa.

An innovative, youth led project that is spearheaded by the Colorado Trust, their work is dedicated to understanding the health and wellbeing of young adults living in Alamosa.

Take a moment to listen to their perspectives. 

Eliasa Chavez

Eliasa Chavez: “The American Dream is an outdated ideal. The ideal that if you work hard enough, you’ll get what you want? It’s not accurate. I know way too many families in this community that have two parent incomes and they still are barely scraping by living paycheck to paycheck.” 

Garrett Pearson

Garrett Pearson: “I think there is hope. We can fight corruption in Washington, and the pharmaceutical companies, and the health insurance companies, and create a new American dream across the 50 states.” 

Katy Plumb

Katy Plumb: “The American dream is that if they work hard they should be able to elevate their status. And these families are working hard but they haven’t elevated anything. They are barely maintaining.”

To learn more about H.O.P.E. ‘s great work, visit their website You can contact the program through Tori Martinez, Colorado Trust Community Organizer, at


The Rural Youth Catalyst Project as an independent working group aligned with the Rural Assembly. Working nationally, the Rural Youth Catalyst Project aims to strengthen and create opportunities that allow rural and Native youth to realize their hopes and dreams while remaining in or returning to their communities. 

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