May 19, 2005 - Urban Peak Celebrates Mavericks
What: 6th Annual Maverick Thinkers Awards Dinner
Where: Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom
When: May 19, 2005
Time: 6:00-9:00 pm
Beneficiary: Proceeds from this event go to support Urban Peak Denver, Urban Peak Colorado Springs, The Spot and Urban Peak Housing Corporation
Honoree(s): Sam Gary of Gary-Williams Energy Corporation & Piton Foundation, and Youth Honoree, Jen Samimi
EMCEE: Anne Warhover, CEO & President, HealthONE
Committee Members: David Banks, Wayne Berger, Jim Bye, Janet Myers Colley, Suzanne Discenza, Todd Fredrickson, Nancy Gary, Neil Goldblatt, Paula Henry, Joy Johnson, Charles Knight, Diane Leede, Hal Logan, Tony Mayer, James Mieja, Susan Noble, Jim Polsfut, Rich Rainaldi, Alex Ritchie, Trinidad Rodriquez, Leigh Sinclair, Dick Thomas, Jennifer Veiga, David Younggren
Welcome: Mayor John Hickenlooper
Speaker: Leigh Sinclair, Chair, Urban Peak Board of Trustees
Sponsors: Title Sponsors: Gary-Williams Energy Corporation, The Piton Foundation; Out of the Box Sponsors: MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes, Rita and William Coors; Creative Sponsors: Adco General Corporation, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado; Innovative Sponsors: Deloitte & Touche, Gallagher Enterprises, Holme Roberts & Owen, Dian & John Leede, Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Rangonetti, Rich Rainaldi & Martha Records, RBC Dain Rauscher, St. Mary Land Exploration Company; Exceptional Sponsors: Craig Archibald & Ann Sperling, Wayne & Debra Berger, Brian Deevy, HealthONE Alliance, Inverness Properties, Johnson & Wales University, Joy Johnson, Charles & Suzanne Knight, Jennie & Charlie Kurtz, Hal Logan, Frederick & Jan Mayer, Miller-Weingarten Realty, Mountain States Employers Council, Susan & Howar Noble, Oakwood Homes, Blair & Kristin Richardson, Sage Foundation, Betsy Searle & Mike Branham, Leigh Sinclair & Arlan Preblud, Stapleton Foundaiton, Children’s Hospital, Dave & Christy Ryan, Wells Fargo; One of a Kind Ticket: Orlyn & Flora Terry, Jean Scandlyn & Randy Eppler, Amy West
Board of Directors: Trustees: Craig Archibald, Interim CEO, Wayne Berger, Janet Myers Colley, Cynthia Davis, Bill Hornbostel, Joy Johnson, James Mieja, Abby Modesitt, Susan Noble, Jim Polsfut, Rich Rainaldi, Tom Schilling, Leigh Sinclair, chair, Bill Sorenson, Dick Thomas, Parry Thomas, Jennifer Veiga, Dave Younggren
Blacktie Photos by: Stacy Ohlsson
More Mavericks are a click below!
Thinking Outside the Box.
Urban Peak’s successes over the years are due to the innovation and dedication of Maverick Thinkers, two of who were honored on Thursday, May 19 at the Donald Seawell Ballroom.
Youth Jennifer Samimi and executive Samuel Gary have demonstrated the type of outside the box thinking that drives individuals and corporations to become successful. In past years, Urban Peak has honored Frederick Mayer, Judith B. Wagner, Gail Klapper and Jim Bye.
The ballroom was dotted with local dignitaries who value and support the efforts that Urban Peak has made in helping hundreds of homeless youth make the transition from street life to becoming productive members of society.
The cost to the community to house a juvenile in detention is $55,000. In budgetary terms, Mayor John Hickenlooper pointed out that Urban Peak is one of the best investments you can imagine: $3,800 will move an at-risk teen from a life on the streets to independent living. On any given night, there are 1,000 youth living on the streets. 63% of those youth exited the streets for good last year, thanks to Urban Peak’s outreach, educational, vocational, and housing programs.
Jennifer Samimi came to Urban Peak in 1997 at the age of 16. Urban Peak was a refuge that Jennifer used from age 16 to 19, sometimes staying at the shelter in the basement of a church, at Urban Peak’s old location on Clarkson Street in Capital Hill.
While engaging case management with Urban Peak, Jen became involved with ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and learned about social justice issues in the area, which would become the drive behind her educational pursuits.
Jen exited Urban Peak programs through transitional housing and has been self sufficient for five years. Jen was a Youth Opportunity Worker with Urban Peak’s Outreach team for a year where she took an active role in HIV testing at various service providers in Denver, including The Spot, and on the streets doing outreach.
Jen moved on to CHIP (Children's Hospital Immunodeficiency Clinic) in 2002 to continue her work with HIV in reaching out to youth throughout all of Colorado. Jen also received an Associate’s Degree through Colorado Community College and is into her junior year at the University of Colorado pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Jen is a very active youth advocate on campus for social justice-themed organizations at school and in the community.
Jenn was thinking outside the box when she decided to discard advice regarding her speech for this evening, to talk about her struggles and accomplishments. Although she is being honored for her triumph in overcoming adversity, Jenn moved the spotlight away from her and focused on the big picture at Urban Peak.
“To all the youth of Urban Peak and all young people who have not been lifted up the way they should: Your suffering is not your fault. The abuse, hurt, fear, anger; the cold, lonely nights and days; you did not bring this upon yourself. Rather, your oppression is the result of a long-standing tradition in our society – the tradition of ignoring those of us who live in the margins. Society, you see, likes to believe that everything is okay, and that the only people who need help are in some far off distant place. As a result, we go unnoticed, kept in the margins.”
“When a young person walks through the doors of Urban Peak, we all know they have a long, difficult and painful road ahead of them. But what we often forget is the extremely long, incomprehensibly difficult and painful road they have been walking already. This is a road that most people can never understand. I am here tonight to ask that we all work together, to revoke that pain, and so that young people are lifted up, and never blame themselves again.”
Unconventional and highly successful Sam Gary from Gary-Williams Energy Corporation and the Piton Foundation is a Maverick Thinker and a Maverick Doer, “coming up with new answers to age old problems.” “Sam doesn’t know what the inside of a box looks like.”
Realizing that one can’t do it alone, he is known to motivate and inspire others. A compassionate man, Mr. Gary established The Piton Foundation, a private operating foundation that functions as the community investment division of Gary-0Williams Energy Corporation. Since its inception in 1976, the Foundation has made grants and loans of over $70,000,000.
After receiving his award and recovering from a momentary (and uncharacteristic!) loss for words, Sam noted that the stereotype for homeless people is that they just don’t think. “In fact, most of them think outside the box.” Homeless youth left home because the streets are better. These kids are bright and strong, and yearning to escape from the cycle that they are caught in. They deserve the respect and encouragement that the Urban Peak staffers offer in recognizing their potential.
Sam himself was not a stellar student, as he struggled with dyslexia and focusing on the tasks at hand. Well-meaning teachers prodded him to “try doubly hard,’ but he was already trying triply hard. By learning to live “inside the box,” he found ways to hang in there. Thinking “outside the box,” however, is what got him to where he is today, as he took risks to discovered strengths he never knew he had.
By thinking outside of the box, Sam Gary, through the Piton Foundation, has made immeasurable impact in creating a community of caring citizens who share common values and a commitment to all our children and families.
It its fourteenth year, Urban Peak’s vision is to see all youth become healthy adults by living in safe, caring and respectful environments.