Lance Cheslock Executive Director
When people mention “La Puente,” Lance’s face is the one most people associate with the organization. Having served as the Executive Director since 1989, Lance certainly knows the ins and outs of every program. But more than that, Lance loves his job – even when he first started out at $5 an hour, he considered it his “dream job.” Before entering the world of non-profit service, Lance graduated from Colorado College in 1982 with a major in Chemistry. After teaching high school chemistry and physics and coaching basketball for Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, Lance spent three years serving with Habitat for Humanity in Dumay, Haiti. Dumay was one of Habitat’s first international projects, and Lance helped the project with rural third world community development and house construction, a service that he returns to each summer in various places around the world. In 1989, he was ready for a change, and La Puente desperately needed a new director. A partnership was formed when Lance accepted the position. Lance is the father of four kids and is proud of having built his home using recycled materials and the labor of his family and friends. He enjoys playing the dulcimer, snowshoeing, biking, bird watching, and swapping stories – but not all at the same time.
Tara Bay Director of Adelante
Jamie Snow Assistant Director of Adelante
Tim Dellett Director of PALS Program
John Reesor Director, Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley
John first came to Colorado in August 2013 through Mennonite Voluntary Service and served as a night staff member at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Before being hired on as the Director of the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley, John served one year at La Puente Home as an AmeriCorps Member working in Outreach Services and Volunteer Coordination. John has an educational background in social work which reflects his passion for serving at-risk populations with dignity and respect. Outside of work, you might find John playing shortstop for his rec softball team, or summiting atop one of Colorado’s “fourteeners”. Yes, John is originally from Canada, so go ahead call him out on one of his many Canadianisms.
Matt MooreOperations Manager
Matt oversees the management of operations of La Puente's social enterprises – Milagros Coffeehouse, Rainbow’s End Alamosa, and Rainbow’s End Monte Vista as well as overseeing the management of La Puente’s apartments, Over the Rainbow Apartments. Matt has a bachelor of science degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration, but what he has the most of is an unfailingly helpful attitude. With La Puente since June of 2014, Matt is motivated in his daily work by all of the smiling faces around him. Clearly, he isn’t a shabby rock climber, either!
Rochelle Ruark Director of Finance
Rochelle keeps everyone in line – and all with an invariably cheerful attitude. She has been serving with La Puente for over two years and loves the team she works with as well as providing service to our programs and clients. Rochelle has an associate’s degree and is a native of the San Luis Valley.
Teotenantzin Ruybal Shelter Director
Teotenantzin or “Tona” has served as La Puente Home’s shelter director since 2008. A native of Antonito, a small town in the San Luis Valley, Tona has close ties to the people she serves. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Adams State College (now Adams State University). Prior to her service with La Puente, Tona worked as an EMT and with at risk students in the Alamosa School District as well as working for many years with the SLV Behavioral Health Group, particularly with children and adults. She keeps the small successes she sees in mind to stay motivated and enjoys speaking with guests and community members who come through the shelter’s doors. Outside of La Puente, Tona spends time hunting, fishing, hiking, riding ATVs, and caring for her horses and chickens.
Mae Mercadante Director of Outreach Services
Amy Scavezze Director of Volunteer Services
Amy has been the driving force behind La Puente’s partnership with AmeriCorps for over three years. A graduate of Alamosa’s local university, Adams State College (now Adams State University), Amy holds a degree in physical geography. Amy has worked as a preschool teacher, camp counselor, as well as with the Conservation Corps and has coached rock climbing, elementary school basketball, and Special Olympics track and field. She stays motivated by seeing the transformation in the lives of AmeriCorps members and community volunteers. “I’m constantly learning a new perspective and being transformed myself,” she says. Amy gives kudos to her supervisor as one of the most humble and compassionate people she knows, and is proud of being part of La Puente’s service and leadership team. When she isn’t serving, Amy spends time with her adorable baby, her family and friends, and playing outdoors.
Shanae Diaz Assistant Director of Volunteer Services
Amanda Pearson Development Director
Amanda served the San Luis Valley for 25+ years in child protection and the legal system as both judge and attorney. She retired to find other ways to serve. "I believe that community is defined by how we care for one another, including those who have the least, for whatever reason. I want to help others identify and support values that will make us strong while we give hope to those in need. Amanda is an Adams State, University of Colorado and Gonzaga University graduate. She loves riding her bike, teaching archery, learning new things and meeting new people.
Claudia Ebel VEGI Director