years helping young adults at Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction change their lives and successfully transition back into the community, has been named Colorado Department of Human Services Employee of the Year.
Sandoval, the Training and Restorative Community Justice and Transition Coordinator at Grand Mesa YSC, will be honored May 3 at the state’s public service recognition luncheon at the Governor’s residence on May 3. Co-workers and executive staff will recognize his contributions May 4 at the facility.
“Ruben is the type of person who is unwilling to say ‘no’ to anything. He likes new challenges. He has a passion for restorative justice and community justice. And he’s done a good job bringing those philosophies into the facility and presenting them to the kids,” said Chris Matoush, Director of Grand Mesa YSC. “The Employee of the Year honor definitely is well deserved. After nearly two decades in different positions at the facility, Ruben has discovered his niche, and he’s carved it out well.”
Sandoval’s impact goes far beyond his job description. He is a member of the collaborative Mesa County Restorative Justice Board, where he helps brainstorm interventions for victims, offender and the community. He’s served on the Mesa County Minority Over-Representation Committee (MCMOR) and with the Mesa County Youth Council/Committee.
He also helps coordinate an innovative mentoring program with a local advocacy group, Partners, to provide opportunities for youth to give back to their community. In the last 21 months, Grand Mesa YSC residents have helped the elderly with chores, snow shoveling, and landscape projects for businesses and local residents in need. These projects have resulted in the repayment of over $17,500 in court-ordered restitution.
“My heartfelt congratulations go out to Ruben on receiving this honor,” said Reggie Bicha, CDHS Executive Director. “His commitment to the youth he serves, collaboration with providers in the community, and outstanding work with the management team at Grand Mesa Youth Services Center fully encapsulates the Department’s creed of, ‘People Who Help People.’ And his impact both within and outside the facility’s walls make him an outstanding representative as CDHS Employee of the Year.”