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May 05, 2005 - Project PAVE Transforms Lives

What: 9th Annual Project PAVE and Janus Foundation Scholarship Luncheon

Where: Marriott City Center

When: May 5, 2005

Beneficiary: Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education)

Master of Ceremonies: Mitch Jelniker, Denver 7 NEWS

Honoree(s): Bill Ritter, Jr. Former Denver DA and Board Chair; Safe School Community Awards: Outstanding Safe School - Cherrelyn Elementary; Middle School – Kunsmiller Middle School; High School - Abraham Lincoln; 2005 Janus Foundation Scholarship Recipients: Lindsay Harman Servin, Shannon Rudd, Carolyn Cole, Zack Craddock, Kaite Carlson, Alicia Escamilla, Martha Espinosa, Justina Steveson, Travis Bryant and Natashia Cordero

Presenting Sponsor(s): Janus Foundation

Gala Chairperson(s): Marc Levine; Scholarship Chair: Elaine Gampel

Corporate Chairperson(s): Marc Levine and Justine Nathanson

Founders: Jeanne Elliott

Executive Director: Jim Bernuth

Committee Members: Scholarship Luncheon: Tai Beldock, Amanda Fein, Elaine Gampel, Amy Harmon, Marc Levine, Lori McGehee, Justine Nathanson, Michael Porto, Dr. Dean Prina, Ann Schiermeyer, Lisa Snider; Scholarship Review - Written Review: Rob Mintz, Justine Nathanson, Elaine Gempel, Michael Porto, Melissa Deegan, Mike Alcott, Larry Manzanares, Beth Goss, Lisa Snider; Personal Interviews: Elaine Gempel, Jim Bernuth, Mike Alcott, Jill DiPasquale, Lisa Snider, Esperanza Zachman, Rich and Carmela Gonzales, Michael Porto, Cec Ortiz, Patricia Crown

President(s): Cec Ortiz

Entertainment: Lindsay Harman Servin sang "Chain of Fools"

Sponsors: Academic Scholarship: Janus Foundation, Liz Jackson and Patricia Crown; Safe School Community Award: Kaiser Permanente: Gold: Big O Tires, Commercial Federal Bank, FirstBank Holding Company, Newmont Mining Corp., Universal Lending Corp.; Silver: Colorado Business Bank, Etkin Johnson Company, Frontier Communications, Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Great-West Healthcare, Hexagon Investments, Hogan and Hartson, Key Bank, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Land Title Guarantee Company, Loup Development Company, MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes, Morgan Stanley, Rose Medical Center, SPL Real Estate, The Colorado Trust

Quote of the evening: “Violence is a learned behavior and kids should never have to tolerate or live in that situation. We as a group (at Project PAVE) do not believe that you have to live that way," Bill Ritter, Jr. former Denver District Attorney and Project PAVE Board Chair

Attendance: 550

Attire: Business

Information: www.projectpave.org

Board of Directors: Cec Ortiz, Raydean Acevdeo, Jim Birschbach, Elaine Gampel, Carmela Gonzales, Rich Gonzales, Mike Johnson, Peter Lansing, Marc Levine, Jon Lorenz, Judge Larry Manzanares, Larry Melnick, Rob Mintz, Dr. Dean Prina, Lisa Snider, Esperanza Zachman

Blacktie Photos by: Elizabeth Byrnes Crony


 Founder of Project PAVE Jeanne Elliott poses with Bill Ritter, Jr., former Denver District Attorney and Project PAVE Board Chair
Founder of Project PAVE Jeanne Elliott poses with Bill Ritter, Jr., former Denver District Attorney and Project PAVE Board Chair

Elizabeth Byrnes Crony

“Violence is a learned behavior and kids should never have to tolerate or live in that situation. We as a group (at Project PAVE) do not believe that you have to live that way,” said Bill Ritter, Jr., former Denver District Attorney and Project PAVE Board Chair, after he accepted his tribute plaque from Cecelia “Cec” Sanchez de Ortiz, Board Chair, at the 9th Annual Janus Foundation Scholarship Luncheon, a benefit for Project PAVE.

The lunch is a wonderful opportunity to showcase and honor schools, scholarship recipients, along with staff and board members, that have been a part of transforming lives and breaking the chain of violence.

Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence Through Education) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth to end the cycle of relationship violence. Relationship violence is emotional, sexual or physical violence experienced within a family or interpersonal relationship. PAVE’s goal is to stop the generational cycle of violence by teaching youth positive social skills and counseling children and youth who have experienced such violence. Casey Cortese, Vice President of the Janus Foundation, introduced Lindsay Harman Servin, one of the eleven 2005 Janus Foundation Scholarship Recipients. Lindsay grew up homeless on the streets of Phoenix, AZ and most of her life has been what she calls “a harsh reality.” Her mother supported Lindsay and her three brothers as a stripper in a dance club, until heroin addiction led her to prostitution and the streets. Performing the song, “Chain of Fools,” at the luncheon, Lindsay knows first-hand the lyrics of the catchy tune…“One of these mornings, that chain is gonna break, but up until then I'm gonna take all I can take.”

Prevention and intervention are key steps in breaking the cycle of violence and Project PAVE started a Safe School Community Program, taking it to schools to educate and teach children. At the luncheon, PAVE honors schools that implement and see results.

Jim Bernuth, Executive Director of Project PAVE, announced that for the fourth consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente has been the sponsor of the Safe School Community Awards and presented, along with Dr. Harvey Bogard, a Kaiser Pediatrician, the winning schools. “We are very serious about getting the word out to schools,” said Bernuth. “This year over 40 schools applied for these awards!”

Outstanding Safe School was presented to Cherrelyn Elementary and School Principal Gail Neubert accepted the $3,000 check along with the award. The school’s motto is, “Safe, secure and included,” and when you walk into the building the “Tree of Peace” and posters tracking peaceful days, are prominently displayed. They have regular and specific lessons on bullying, aggressive behaviors and have implemented a five-step strategy to create win-win solutions.

Outstanding Middle School was presented to Kunsmiller Middle School and Abraham Lincoln was awarded Outstanding High School, both accepting $2,000 checks. At Kunsmiller Middle School a full-time Prevention Coordinator works with the entire school staff from administration to bus drivers to train them on how to intervene with students to prevent violence. At Abraham Lincoln, the school enforced a dress code to reduce gang identification by clothing.

Honoree and Former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, Jr., chaired the Project PAVE Board for 12 years, guiding it through the rough times. Under his leadership, PAVE has grown into an agency that now provides counseling and violence prevention education to thousands of youth and families every year. He acknowledged and asked for a round of applause for Jeanne Elliott, the founder of the organization and the reason he was involved.

PAVE was started in response to the violent in-court shooting that left attorney and battered-women advocate Helen Jeanne Elliott paralyzed. The man who shot Elliott was an Aurora Police Officer named Gerald Utesch who became distraught at this own divorce trial and shot his wife’s attorney, Elliott, four times in the back. Ritter was the special prosecutor for Utesch’s case.

Not only did he secure a conviction for Utesch he also got to know Elliott and other women who, as Ritter says, “were soldiers with Jeanne in battling domestic violence issues.” Started in 1986, Project PAVE was at crossroads by 1992, and Elliott approached Ritter and asked if he would join the board.

The 2005 Scholarship Recipients have lived and overcome the horror of severe physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, and neglect. Today, they are high school students that are performing at the top of their class and are continuing onto college. The eleven students were Lindsay Harman Servin, Shannon Rudd, Carolyn Cole, Zack Craddock, Kaite Carlson, Alicia Escamilla, Martha Espinosa, Justina Steveson, Travis Bryant and Natashia Cordero (Travis and Natashia were not in attendance).

Executive Director Jim Bernuth read off the names and at the conclusion of the award ceremony, made an announcement, “As a special tribute to Bill Ritter and his dedication service to Project PAVE, we are increasing the amount of this year's awards. Each recipient will receive a $3,000 scholarship!”

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