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September 18, 2003 - Urban Peak's Gathering was "Homey"

What: Third Annual "A Home of Our Own" Celebration

Where: Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. @ 3012 Huron St., Denver

When: September 18, 2003

Beneficiary: Urban Peak Housing Corporation, providing affordable housing for homeless youth

Honoree(s): Shehila Rae and Aaron, two successful youth

Executive Director: Judy Hudson-Trujillo, Interim CEO

Entertainment: Melisa Hampton, Amanda Hawkins, Emily Shreve

Sponsors: Urban Neighborhoods, ADCO General, Versatile Surfaces, Sevilla, Right Solutions, Big Time Sports Memorabilia, 1st Bank, Clear Channel, Colorado Business Bank, Chapin Foods, aMAIZEing Farm Events, Coast of Colorado, Corks

Menu: Paella from Sevilla

Attendance: 130

Attire: Business casual

Special Thanks: Jose Trujillo, for photography

Information:, 303-777-9198

Event Coordinator: Lauren Hughes

Planning Committee: Urban Peak Housing Corporation Board of Directors

Board of Directors: Craig Archibald, past chair, Lisa Austin, Daniel Bormolini, Kathy Kranmer, Janet Meyers-Colley, Valri Gimple, Ismael Gurerro, Barbara Cashman-Hahn, Mickey Landy, Joanne Reilly, Ricardo Rodriguez, Peggy Shupe, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Dick Thomas, Judy Hudson-Trujillo

Blacktie Photos by: Stacy Ohlsson and Jose Trujillo

 Urban Peak Program Director Jamie Van Leeuwen, Jon Ward, Trustee Tom Schilling
Urban Peak Program Director Jamie Van Leeuwen, Jon Ward, Trustee Tom Schilling

“Emmy Awards … Reality T.V. … Survivor, Colorado … ‘And the award goes to … Urban Peak Housing Corporation and the homeless youth that they serve!’” Okay, so it’s a fantasy. On Thursday, September 18 at the UPHC headquarters in Denver, Urban Peak Housing Corporation (UPHC) awarded two youth who have risen above the plight of being homeless.

The reality shows on network television depict footage exhibiting fear, hunger, violence, competition for popularity, and (!) fighting for one’s life. But they don’t come close to capturing the agonizing experiences known by hundreds of Denver metro area’s homeless teens. After all, the current reality shows on T.V. are family oriented, and a majority of metro area homeless youth has survived daunting life-changing events that could never be chronicled on television. However, if there was a video of the ordeals facing Denver metro homeless youth, the impact that Urban Peak Housing and its partners have would be award winning. The two youth honored at this third annual “Home of Our Own” celebration have succeeded in their goal of permanently exiting street life. Aaron, now 21, accessed the full continuum of care that Urban Peak has to offer. He has maintained a steady full-time job, reunited with his family, and has set realistic goals for a productive future. Shehila Rae, after hard work and determination at Urban Peak, moved into housing at Rocky Mountain Youth International House Program on Ogden Street. Now attending George Washington High School and holding a job, Shehila is described by many as courageous and ambitious. Aaron and Shehila Rae, along with their case managers, shared their stories of transformation with the audience and gave heartfelt thanks to the people at Urban Peak. Thursday’s celebration, held at Urban Neighborhoods, Inc., thanks to Dana and Jack Crawford, included a huge colorful platter of Sevilla’s famous paella and singing by three young women who are well on their way to stardom: Emily Shreve, Amanda Hawkins and Melisa Hampton. A silent auction, with donations from Chuck Morris at Clear Channel, Colorado Business Bank, Big Time Memorabilia, as well as many board members, raised hundreds of dollars, which will directly support youth transitioning from homeless to independence. A large percentage of Denver’s homeless youth have experienced significant abuse and neglect, and engage in high-risk behaviors, drug abuse, prostitution, and theft. They escape the nightmare of their homes only to find another nightmare on the streets. Without the support from Urban Peak and its affiliates, The Spot, Urban Peak Colorado Springs and Urban Peak Housing Corporation, youth on the streets would have a dim future. And without the support of the community, Urban Peak could not operate. Remember, it takes $54,000 per year to incarcerate a youth, and less than $10,000 for Urban Peak to move a youth from the streets to living a productive life. Aaron, Shehila Rae, and Urban Peak … Colorado Survivors.

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