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February 14, 2004 - Urban "Peaks" Abound at Annual Dinner

What: 7th Annual Climb the Peak Dinner

Where: Temple Events Center

When: February 12, 2004

Beneficiary: Urban Peak

Mistress of Ceremonies: Natalie Tysdal of WB2

Presenting Sponsor(s): First Data, Intermountain Corporate Affairs

Executive Director: Jerene Peterson

Committee Members: Suzanne Knight, Debra Berger, Karen Thomas, Melissa Thompson

Welcome: Jim Polsfut, Urban Peak Board of Trustees President, and Dr. Chris Nyquist, Urban Peak Denver Board Chair

Sponsors: Mentor:ADCO General, Guide The Children's Hospital, Ned & Libby Harvey, Charlie & Suzanne Knight, Tringi Rodriguez & Sarah Winbowin, Friend Mark Kling, Abby Modesitt, Jerene Petersen & Russ Wulfson, Chris Nyquist & Melissa Thompson, Craig Poulter, Jean Scandlyn, Craig & Ann Archibald, FirstBank of Aurora, David Goldberg, Tammeron Trujillo

Attendance: 300


Board of Directors: Craig Archibald, David Banks, Terry Brown, Todd Fredrickson, David Goldberg, Ned Harvey, Leah Howard, Eric Jenkins, Mark Kling, Charles Knight, Paige Lankster, Dr. Chris Nyquist, Craig Poulter, Trinidad Rodriguez, Thomas Schilling, Dick Thomas, Tammeron Trujillo

 Dylan (l) started using drugs at the age of 9. Dylan was honored for kicking the habit and now serving as mentor to other youth.
Dylan (l) started using drugs at the age of 9. Dylan was honored for kicking the habit and now serving as mentor to other youth.

The bitter cold of last week reminded everyone that the streets are a horrible place to live. The streets are even worse if you’re a kid with a drug or alcohol problem. Luckily, Urban Peak has had a great deal of success in working with troubled youth. Urban Peak holds a special place at Blacktie. They were one of the first organizations to join Blacktie in 2001. As such we have covered a number of their events over the years. Yet, each event remains inspirational. Founded in 1988 in response to growing concern among members of Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood regarding increased numbers of homeless youth, Urban Peak has expanded over the years to meet the changing needs of the community; but their mission remains serving homeless and runaway youth. Urban Peak offers a full array of supportive services including a street outreach program; a 40-bed overnight shelter; basic services such as nutritious meals, clothing and hygiene products; intensive case management; a GED program; job skills and job placement; a medical clinic; and financial assistance for higher education. Urban Peak has remained unique for its focus on the homeless youth population, serving youth aged from 15-20 and operating the only licensed homeless youth shelter in the state of Colorado. In 2003 Urban Peak served 762 youth. Of that number, 61% permanently exited street life, 154 found employment and 48 obtained their GED. In addition, 216 attended school. That’s a record to be proud of! But it’s also expensive to run this operation. The fundraising events are a reminder to the Denver community that the old adage of “pay now, or pay a lot more later” is true with respect to troubled youth. Without successful intervention, troubled youth become troubled adults and adults have a more difficult time in securing a future with a positive outcome. Thanks to the efforts of Board Chair Jim Polsfut, Denver Board Chair, Dr. Chris Nyquist and executive Director, Jerene Petersen, Urban Peak continues to do well. This year 5 youths were honored for being able to turn their lives around. Angela returned from college in Florida with a medical condition. She needed housing, medical care and employment. In March of 2003 Angela secured employment and in June of that year she secured housing. She has reunited with her mother and is exploring college options, all with the help of Urban Peak. Keysha was honorably discharged from the Army with a broken pelvis. In just three months with Urban Peak she got employment and housing. Chris came to Urban Peak after being discharged from foster care Now Chris is on the honor roll, a member of an honor society and president of his high schools Key Club. He works part time and has housing. Shehila Rae had troubles on the home front. With Urban Peak's help she is attending school and has a job. Dylan came to Urban Peak in 2001. By the age of 9, Dylan was using and by 16 had been in jail. After utilizing all the services that Urban Peak had to offer over a two-year period, Dylan is living a drug and alcohol free life. In addition he is running Project YES and serves as role model to youth struggling with addiction. Until such time as the services of Urban Peak aren’t needed in our society, they are to be heartily congratulated for the work they do.

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