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February 28, 2008 - Urban Peak Celebrating 20 Years of Impact

What: 8th Annual Maverick Thinkers Awards Dinner

Where: Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom

When: Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time: 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Beneficiary: The Programs of Urban Peak

Honoree(s): Anne Warhover, President & CEO, The Colorado Health Foundation, along with the 2008 Youth Honoree

EMCEE: Suzanne McCarroll, CBS4 NEWS

Presenting Sponsor(s): Gary-Williams Energy Corporation; The Piton Foundation

Committee Members: Jim & Pamela Basey, co-chairs; Sueann Ambron, Julika Ambrose, Tony Bolazina, Brad Buchanan, CJ Chapman, Linda Clark, Gene Commander, Dana Crawford, Mary Gittings Cronin, Jeff Dorsey, Tami Door, Cole Finegan, Jean Galloway, Jerry Glick, Bevin Hartnett, Rus Heise, Barry Hirschfeld, Dorothy Horrell, Tracy Huggins, Wayne Hutchens, Bruce James, Kim Koehn, Megan Lane, Sharon Linhart, David Livingston, Jill Lynch, Caz Matthews, Maureen McDonald, Sherman Miller, Bill Mosher, Susan Noble, Dean Prina, Rich Rainaldi, Amy Ritchie, Dave Ryan, Jackie Sarlo, Richard Scharf, Willie Shepherd, Leigh Sinclair, Mary Sullivan, George Thorn, Judi Wagner, Roxane White, Dave Younggren

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Sponsors: PRESENTING SPONSORS: Gary-Williams Energy Corporation, The Piton Foundation; OUT-OF-THE-BOX SPONSORS: Caz Matthews, St. Mary Land & Exploration Company; CREATIVE SPONSORS: Blair & Kristin Richardson Foundation, Denver Department of Human Services, Holme Roberts & Owen, HealthOne, MDC Richmond American Homes, Northern Trust, Rich Rainaldi & Martha Records, Dave & Christy Ryan, Susan & Howard Noble, Devonshire, UnitedHealthcare, Wagner Investment, United Western Bank; INNOVATIVE SPONSORS: Alvarado Developent, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schrek, The Colorado Trust, CoBis Financial, Downtown Denver Partnership, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jean Scandlyn & Randy Eppler, Cristi Engblom & Jame Cox, Brooke Johnson & The Carson Foundation, Eric Sondermann & Tracy Dunning, FirstBank, Kaiser Permanente, Denver Urban Renewal Authority, Opus, RBC Capital Markets, Shughart Thomson & Kilroy, Robert Half, VectraBank, Wells Fargo

Quote of the evening: "Urban Peak took the hurt in my heart away." --Elvis Nunez

Attendance: 500

Special Thanks: Ceramics in the City provided youth-created plates as centerpieces

Information: www.urbanpeak.org; 303-974-2900

Board of Directors: Joanne Reilly, Chair; Rob Alvarado, Ron Barber, Terry Brown, C.J. Chapman, Susan Cheedle, Suzanne Discenza, Jim Grenfell, Allison Johnson, Brooke Johnson, Anita Khanna, Greg Kleinert, Mark Kling, Cecilia Mascarenas, Janet Meyers-Colley, Susan Noble, Howard Pollack, Rich Rainaldi, Alex Ritchie, Trinidad Rodriguez, Dave Ryan, Jackie Sarlo, Jean Scandlyn, Leigh Sinclair, Eric Sondermann, Stefan Stein, Dick Thomas, Susan Wolff, Dave Younggren, Kay Ramachandran

Blacktie Photos by: Stacy Ohlsson


 Maverick Thinker honorees Anne Warhover and James Elvis Nunez
Maverick Thinker honorees Anne Warhover and James Elvis Nunez

When Urban Peak began helping homeless youth back in 1988, they had no idea of the long-term impact they would have on the community, or that 20 years later, they would still be celebrating the exit of youth from street life.
 
Since 1988, the number of youth living on the streets has grown exponentially. But the number who have transitioned to success and independence has grown as well, thanks to the programs of Urban Peak.
 
Urban Peak grew as the need for their services grew, but could not be what it is today without the number of creative, dedicated and committed community members who have devoted their time, energy and resources.
 
Supporters of Urban Peak’s programs gathered at the Seawell Ballroom on February 28 to honor two “Maverick Thinkers.” Urban Peak’s Maverick Thinkers Award was created eight years ago to honor community members and youth who think outside of the box, take risks, and make a difference.
 
The evening started off with Joe Manley, a “Peaker-from-the-Day” (1989!) who spoke for dozens of teens when he said that previous experience with systemic organizations had always been negative, but Urban Peak provided a nourishing environment, leading youth to become independent and successful members of the community. Joe became an accomplished artist, known in Denver and Chicago, and now runs a tattoo and piercing salon called Kitchen's, Inc. on 7th & Santa Fe.
 
Anne Warhover, President and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation was honored for her dedication and commitment to health and youth services. Her accomplishments are numerous and have had deep impact in the Denver community. As the president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, she organized the Center City Housing Support Office, helped plan the Central Platte Valley neighborhood, redeveloped Skyline Park, and expanded the Business Improvement District.
 
She has spent numerous hours interacting with Urban Peak youth, from participating in Outreach in downtown Denver to helping with meals in the kitchen.
 
As she has always been an “Out-of the-Box” thinker, Anne said, “I’m glad that now it’s good to be a Maverick Thinker. My mother didn’t think so when I was a teenager.” She reminded the audience that homelessness can affect any family, regardless of socio-economics, race or age. (One in every seven youth will run away before they are 18.)
 
Youth Honoree Elvis Nunez had a big presence on stage, as he spoke from the heart, passionately and without notes. Through no fault of his own, he ended up on the streets at age 12 and had to conform to a sort of gang mentality in order to survive. He found Urban Peak, whose staff, “from outreach workers to administration” became family to him. An accomplished break-dancer, Elvis perfected his form at The Spot. “I didn’t realize that I had anything in life until I went to Urban Peak. I didn’t know I had potential or a way out of a life of crime. Urban Peak taught me that your mind is infinite. There is no limit to what I can do.” Elvis is currently with AmeriCorps, and stays involved with the programs at The Spot.
 
Urban Peak’s CEO of three months, Kay Ramachandran closed the evening by sharing some good news. At the Acoma facility, Urban Peak is adding 1,300 square feet, dedicated to direct service. There will be room for ten more youth to sleep, a new GED lab, a “crisis room” where case managers can have one-on-one time with youth in crisis, and an intake room, for interviewing new entrants to the program.
 
Robert Hamm created an emotional video depicting the history of Urban Peak’s programs, and set it to the music from the play, Rent, which seemed appropriate since Urban Peak has been making an impact with Denver’s homeless youth for 20 Years, translating to:
240 Months
7305 Days
175,320 Hours
10,519,200 Minutes
631,152,000 Seconds
 
But, for each of the 975 youth on Denver’s streets each night, each moment can feel like forever. Until they find a connection at one of Urban Peak’s programs. Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from their continuum of services, providing an alternative to life on the streets.
 

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