Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wounded Warrior Program criticized

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 12:11 PM

We snapped a picture of this business card, because we wanted to show the logo for WWP. But since WWP has been touchy about use of the logo, we figured this might be the better avenue.
  • We snapped a picture of this business card, because we wanted to show the logo for WWP. But since WWP has been touchy about use of the logo, we figured this might be the better avenue.


We just heard back from Rob Louis, public relations specialist with Wounded Warrior Project headquarters in a statement labeled, "WWP response to false news reports." Note that he doesn't say what exactly was false about those reports.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a leader in nonprofit transparency and the public reporting of the organization's independent financial audits. We are an open book. We owe that to those who support us and to those we serve - wounded warriors.

The chair of Wounded Warrior Project's Audit Committee, Richard M. Jones, a prominent tax attorney and certified public accountant, is the Executive Vice President, General Tax Counsel, and Chief Veteran Officer at CBS Corporation. Mr. Jones stands by our financial statements, our reporting methods, our public filings, and our independent audits.

CBS News did not reach out to Mr. Jones prior to airing a story with false information about our finances.

Wounded Warrior Project provides more than 20 needs-specific, free programs and services to more than 83,000 wounded veterans, who we call Alumni, and more than 15,000 family support members. We are constantly expanding our services to better support warriors. We just launched the Warrior Care NetworkT to help provide world-class mental health care for wounded veterans. Warrior Care Network represents a $100 million investment to ensure warriors struggling with the hidden wounds of war get the help they need. We have already committed $110 million to our long-term support initiatives - the Independence Program and Long-Term Support Trust - two programs that directly help the most severely injured veterans.

To be clear, Wounded Warrior Project is trusted by nearly 100,000 veterans, their caregivers, and families, to provide them with critical care programs and services every day. Alumni regularly praise our organization for making a life-altering impact. The demand for our services continues to grow as evidenced by the more than 1,200 new registrations we receive from the wounded each month. And, we are proud to welcome so many of our Alumni as WWP staff. Their belief in - and passion for - who we are, what we do, and why it matters, is evidenced in their very lives.

Many people like to talk about the need to support wounded warriors - Wounded Warrior Project is actually doing it - every day and in record numbers.

As for the Daily Beast, I am not familiar with any new reporting from them. 


Dave Philipps, a former Gazette reporter now working for The New York Times, filed this story on the WWP controversy:

——————-ORIGINAL POST 12;11 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JAN. 27, 2016—————————————————-

A year or more ago, Leslie Coleman, PR specialists with the Wounded Warrior Project in Colorado Springs, called asking for a "get acquainted" meeting. Sure, we said.

Today, we can't reach her. The office phone rings and rings before going to a message saying the number has no voice mail set up. The mobile phone number rings to someone else entirely, so that number apparently has been reassigned. The office is located in a swank building at 1 S. Nevada Ave. and is staffed by 10 to 12 people, according to receptionist.

There's no PR person locally, the receptionist said, and after we asked her three times if she'd attended a WWP party at The Broadmoor, she finally said, "It wasn't a party" but rather "some of it" was a team-building exercise that she said was "a lot of work."


CBS News reports that the WWP parent organization raised more than $300 million last year and spent freely on parties and "team building" for staff, which included that Broadmoor resort event.

According to CBS News:
Former employees say spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009. Many point to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs as typical of his style.

"He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He's come in on a Segway, he's come in on a horse."

About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado. The price tag? About $3 million.

"Donors don't want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don't want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building," said Millette.
The story is accompanied by a photo of The Broadmoor.

Here's the board, according to the WWP local website: Anthony Odierno, Roger Campbell, Richard Jones, Guy McMichael III, Justine Constantine, Robert Nardelli.

The local receptionist referred us to the PR person for the parent organization, Joanne Fried. We've placed a call to her and if and when we hear back, we'll update.

The Daily Beast reports WWP intimidates other organizations who help soldiers.
Wounded Warrior USA, a small Colorado charity with a $15,000 operating budget, had a Wounded Warrior Project lawyer reach out to them to demand they change the free clip art they were using as a label on coffee packages they were using for fundraising. “They got really nasty with us,” said Wounded Warrior USA founder Dave Bryant.
According to the WWP tax report for the most recent year available, the only Colorado entity receiving money from the parent organization was the Vail Veterans Foundation, which received $100,000.

CEO Steven Nardizzi, the form shows, was paid an obscene $500,000 in salary and benefits, including an $88,000 bonus. He's founder, according to the WWP bio available for him, which also says,
For more than 10 years prior to joining WWP, Steve worked as an attorney representing disabled veterans for several veterans service organizations. He spent nine years with the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), taking on increasingly responsible roles. He eventually became director of EPVA’s benefits service department and subsequently served as associate executive director of member services.
Read the 990 tax form here:

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why you can't drop off stray animals after hours

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 12:31 PM

  • Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
Years ago, if you found a stray pet wandering your neighborhood at night, you could simply take it to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and drop it off.

Even when the shelter was closed, there was a line of kennels where you could lock up the animal, along with paperwork you could fill out to leave with it. It was pretty easy, and the staff would pick up the animals come morning.

Those kennels are long gone. Personally, I was unaware of their absence until I tried to drop off a stray kitten at 3 a.m. over the summer. I was surprised to find there was no place to leave the little bundle. I mentioned it to a coworker, who said she found a stray dog after-hours and ended up keeping it in her backyard because the Humane Society wasn't open and could not take it.

We both wondered what had happened to the old system, but we shrugged it off. Yesterday, I got to thinking about it again. See, the Humane Society is part of the Indy Give! campaign. I wondered if, perhaps, the lack of kennels was a budget issue. I rang up Gretchen Pressley, the Humane Society spokesperson.

Pressley got back to me this morning. The kennels, she says, have been gone since about 2010. It wasn't a budget issue, she says. It was a safety issue. Some people were leaving extremely sick or injured animals in the kennels, which should have been taken to an emergency vet. Other times, people were putting cats and dogs in the same kennel. 

Removing those after-hours drop-off kennels was meant to keep animals safe, Pressley says, and it's a trend at shelters across the nation and considered a best practice. The Humane Society does accept animals every day of the year, generally from  8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Animal law enforcement works from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the winter, and calls after-hours are routed through the police (though animal enforcement officers still respond if there is truly an emergency).

In most cases, however, the Humane Society is asking citizens to keep stray animals until they can be dropped off during business hours. 

“We're just really asking the community in those cases to help us out and keep those animals safe," Pressley says.

She adds that the system seems to work pretty well.

“Most people are happy that they’re giving the best care to that animal,” she says.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Give to Give! on Colorado Gives Day

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 3:32 PM

Look, I know how you feel.

I too have had to watch my back at the local Michaels to avoid being plowed over by shopping carts full of glittery bulbs, ribbon, and fabric poinsettia wreaths. I too have stared apathetically at shrink-wrapped turkeys and hams in overcrowded grocery stores. I too have looked at walls laden with every conceivable configuration of Legos and wondered, "Seriously, didn't these things used to come in a bucket?" 

We all get holiday burn out, and we all go broke this time of the year. So sometimes it's easy to forget to donate to your favorite charities. I've been there.

But here's the thing: this is supposed to be the season of giving. And I'm not talking about giving $80 Lego sets to the kids in your family. I'm talking about giving to people who are suffering, or giving to support your community. Not only is this easy (you can do it online), I can tell you that it's enjoyable. Knowing that you've just given a gift to a deserving cause gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling. 

And let's face it, we all have too much stuff anyway. So why not celebrate Colorado Gives Day today by donating to the Indy Give! campaign? The campaign aims to raise $1.8 million for 88 local nonprofits this holiday season. The Indy its partners pay all the costs of the campaign, so 100 percent of your gift goes to the nonprofits of your choice. Give! distinguishes the various nonprofits by assigning each to one of the following categories: animals; a hand up; home safe; inspired learning; see art, make art; big ideas; build community; veterans and their families; youth in action; get well; and great outdoors. Give! also vets the nonprofits that it supports so you don't have to. 

So seriously, folks, don't be grinches. If you can, give a little something back this holiday season, either through Give! or another nonprofit of your choosing. 
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A night in the cold for a good cause

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 8:25 AM


If you shiver when you get into your car in the morning, imagine what it's like to have to sleep outside with nothing but a blanket to protect you from the frigid wind.

For many locals, that's reality. That's why more than 40 people are leaving their warm beds behind on Thursday to sleep on the streets. The annual Night Out to End Youth Homelessness gives the more fortunate a taste of what it's like to be homeless. Participants seek donations that go to Urban Peak, which provides safe shelter to homeless youth. The goal this year is to raise $50,000 in support of the 20-bed shelter.

You can go to" target="_blank"> to donate to the cause. Read on to learn more:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 40+ People Choose to Sleep Out in the Cold Thursday To Bring Youth in from the Cold This Winter

November 9, 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado – Between 40 to 50 people are volunteering to sleep outside in freezing weather on November 12 in order to bring attention to the issue of youth homelessness. Urban Peak Colorado Springs’ Night Out to End Youth Homelessness happens during November, National Runaway and Homeless Youth Month.

Volunteers sponsor their “night out” by raising money and taking part in a learning experience aimed at creating awareness about some of the challenges youth face when trying to exit homelessness. Among those sleeping out include the Manitou Springs High School’s Gay Straight and Transgender Alliance, the youth pastor from First United Methodist Church, and the CEO of the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership.

Night Out To End Youth Homelessness 2015 — Event Details

What Urban Peak Colorado Springs Night Out to End Youth Homelessness
Between 40 to 50 people sleep outside in freezing weather to raise awareness
about youth homelessness and to raise money for Urban Peak’s youth shelter.

When Thursday November 12th at 6pm to Friday November 13th at 6am
(Sleepers head outside for the night at approx. 9pm Thursday)

Where First United Methodist Church
420 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Why To help hundreds of youth experiencing homelessness in our community by supporting Urban Peak Colorado Springs shelter program. Donations can be made at

No tents are allowed during the night out, so people will use sleeping bags, cardboard boxes, and tarps to weather the night in the elements. “We know youth in the experience of homelessness do not have the fancy sleeping bags and warm clothes that we’ll have,” says Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of Urban Peak. “We don’t pretend it’s just like spending a night in the shoes of one of our youth. Instead, our goal is to raise awareness that in our community on any given night there are close to 100 young people sleeping in alleys, parking garages, abandoned buildings, or staying in the few shelter and housing programs available to them. This one night out for volunteers in the cold brings youth in from the cold this winter.”

The group’s collective goal is to raise $50,000 in support of Urban Peak Colorado Springs’ 20-bed shelter for youth ages 15 through 20. It costs about $50 per night to provide youth shelter at Urban Peak, so if the group reaches its goal it will mean 1,000 nights of shelter for youth in our community.

About Urban Peak Colorado Springs

Urban Peak Colorado Springs helps youth experiencing homelessness to get off the street and build a better future. Our programs include a 20-bed shelter with meals and support programs, street outreach for youth living on the streets, and housing assistance so youth can move off the street. All youth can access job-readiness training to create stability, support to further educational goals, life skills and case management, as well as access to healthcare. In fiscal year 2015, Urban Peak Colorado Springs assisted 528 young people. For more information, visit

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Put on your sneakers and stripes

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:32 AM


If you're a runner or walker and like wearing funny clothes, here's an event for you. The Waldo Waldo 5k Walk & Run is in its fourth year and is coming up in a couple of weeks.

Here's the release:
Last year over 3,100 participants dressed as Where's Waldo to raise money for Waldo Canyon restoration and trails and open space maintenance in Colorado Springs. The event has raised more than $100,000 since 2012!

This year, the 4th annual Waldo Waldo 5k Walk & Run will be in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. Join thousands of Waldos and Wendas on October 17th at the Pioneers Museum where the walk and fun run starts and finishes. Exhibitors, food trucks, Bristol beer garden and music will add to the festivities.

Day of event registration opens at 7:30 a.m., huge group photo at 9:30 a.m. and first wave starts at 9:45 am. The $35 registration fee ($40 morning of event), includes a "Where's Waldo?" costume kit with Waldo glasses, beanie and long sleeve shirt. Wenda costume kits and mini-Waldo kits for kids ages 6-12 are also available. Kids 5 and under are free (but do not receive a costume.) The Waldo Waldo 5K is open to all ages and all abilities.

The Waldo Waldo 5K was set up as a response to the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. The 5K raises money for The Waldo Waldo Fund, a fund of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, which supports natural disaster and fire recovery efforts, and trails and open space maintenance in Colorado Springs and the surrounding community. Money is granted from this fund to the primary event beneficiaries Trails and Open Space Coalition and Rocky Mountain Field Institute.

“With thanks to the Downtown Partnership and the City of Colorado Springs, we’ve got a new course that stretches from the Pioneers Museum to Colorado College and back, and this will be the biggest, best, and most red-and-white-striped fun run yet” said Chelise Foster, event creator and organizer.

elope, Inc., a leading designer and distributor of costumes and accessories, has held the DreamWorks “Where’s Waldo” license since 2008. “The Waldo costume has been one of our best sellers for years,” said CEO Kevin Johnson. “We love contributing our passion and support to The Waldo Waldo 5K, and watching a sea of Waldos running together is an incredible experience for our team. It’s become a signature event, and it’s definitely one of our favorite ways to give back to our community here in Colorado Springs.”

This event has been made possible due to gracious support from presenting sponsor elope, inc., platinum sponsors Downtown Partnership and Whole Foods Market, and a whole host of other very generous sponsors, contributors and volunteers.

Online registration and more information is available at the

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Building trails with thrifted clothes

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 8:27 AM

Unfortunately, not everything sold at our yard sale. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Unfortunately, not everything sold at our yard sale.
Over the weekend, my friends and I had a yard sale.

We thought we had done a pretty excellent job of it — placing signs at major intersections, letting our social networks know about the sale on Facebook and Twitter, pitching a big tent, and setting up an iPad for credit card sales. Despite our efforts, it was slow going throughout the day, and we eventually turned to our smartphones to post photos of our merchandise in an attempt to drum up sales.

It worked — to an extent. But at the end of the day, there were plenty of leftovers for the the thrift store. It was just a question of which thrift store to go to. Then I remembered that a new thrift store, Shift Thrift, had replied to one of my tweets, saying they'd love the leftovers.

I had recently heard of the store from a press release, and Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, had also emailed me to tell me about the store. It was a new shop, she wrote, and a new concept.

Shift Thrift is a social enterprise. It gives 30 percent of its proceeds to local charities — and donors get to choose what nonprofit they want to give to. Right now, donors can choose Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Trails and Open Space Coalition, Kids on Bikes, The Home Front Cares, Blue Star Recyclers or Springs Rescue Mission.

Davies let me know that a similar model at Mountain Equipment Recyclers was feeding $300 to $400 per month into TOSC.

"For a small non profit like mine," she wrote, "that’s a big deal!"

Mike Mazzola, Executive Director of Shift Thrift Store, wrote that as far as he knows, this is the first thrift store of its kind in the country. He's hoping to grow the store and expand it regionally, or maybe even nationally.

For now, though, the store is just getting started in a temporary location at 218 W. Colorado Ave. (under the Colorado Avenue bridge). The store hopes to find a permanent downtown location soon. 

After we wrapped up the garage sale, my friends and I decided to reward Shift Thrift for their social media savvy. The friendly staff were excited to see us and more than happy to help us unload our bounty.

And since Davies bothered to email me, we chose to give the nonprofit proceeds to TOSC this time around. 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Service before self

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Cadet 1st Class Broam Hart helps move logs in order to prevent flooding after the Waldo Canyon fire in June, 2013. Hart is one of thousands of cadets who participate in a variety of volunteer work locally while at the academy. - COURTESY USAFA
  • Courtesy USAFA
  • Cadet 1st Class Broam Hart helps move logs in order to prevent flooding after the Waldo Canyon fire in June, 2013. Hart is one of thousands of cadets who participate in a variety of volunteer work locally while at the academy.

The Air Force motto is integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do.

So to address the second part of that adage, about 3,500 Air Force Academy cadets will fan out over the region on Friday to perform volunteer work for 48 organizations along the Front Range, the academy said in a news release.

Here's the details:
Worksites for cadets will range in location from Peyton to Florissant, and from Monument to Widefield. Start times vary depending on the distance the work location is from the Air Force Academy, with cadets arriving at most El Paso County sites by 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for other locations. Work will continue until 4 p.m., or until the work at each site is completed, unless otherwise noted.
Organizations the cadets will be working for include:
* American Red Cross, Southeastern Colorado Chapter, for its one-day Home Fire Campaign event, sending teams of cadets and other volunteers door-to-door to test, repair and install fire alarms at homes in El Paso, Douglas, Chaffee, Teller, Pueblo and Otero counties.
* Black Forest Together, helping with fire recovery and mitigation work at several homes within the area affected by the Black Forest wildfire.
* Coalition for the Upper South Platte, thinning overgrown trees and brush near Woodland Park to be used as firewood for the needy, as well as trail maintenance at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for both events.
* City of Manitou Springs, removing debris from Fountain Creek and Williams Canyon to aid the city's continuing flood recovery and mitigation efforts.
* City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department, building a hiking trail at Ute Valley Park; clearing and maintaining Promonitory Point Open Space, and working at two other sites.
* National Dog Mill Rescue kennels in Peyton to clean, prep the kennel play yards for artificial turn, make blankets for adopted dogs, as well as socializing and walking some severely traumatized dogs.
* The Salvation Army in downtown Colorado Springs, cleaning and painting its Winter Warming Shelter, performing upkeep on its mobile canteen that provides meals to the homeless, and performing labor and setup for a senior citizens lunch.
Other organizations the cadets will work with include: Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Venetucci Farm, The Marian House, Rocky Mountain Veterans Village Foundation, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Partnership for Child Development, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Flying W Ranch, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, Al Kali Shriners Mule Team, and several elementary and middle schools across the region.

This cadet volunteer work is organized by the Air Force Academy's Center for Character and Leadership Development center, via its Cadet Service Leadership program, which connects community organizations with cadet volunteers. Cadets performed more than 30,000 hours of community service during the 2013-2014 academic year. Academy cadets have averaged more than 30,000 hours of community service work each academic year, for the past decade.
Organizations that wish to request cadet volunteers for future community service efforts can request cadet volunteers online at: 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Independence Center marks 25th anniversary of ADA

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 3:04 PM

The Independence Center drew a crowd at its luncheon. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • The Independence Center drew a crowd at its luncheon.

The Independence Center, a local independent living center that offers 14 programs for people with disabilities, held a luncheon yesterday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

One of the big announcements: both the city and county governments are "recommitting" themselves to fulfilling the promises of the ADA on its 25th anniversary. Largely, that means making it easier for people with a disability to traverse streets and sidewalks and to access buildings, particularly public ones. 

The luncheon, which packed the grand ballroom of the Hotel Eleganté, was a first for the nonprofit Independence Center. Dr. Patricia Yeager, CEO of the Independence Center, handed out awards to the county, city, the advocacy group ACT (Accessible Communities Today), the First Congregational Church (which recently installed an elevator for disabled parishioners), and Discount Tires on Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard (which responded to a complaint about being inaccessible by fixing the problem in three weeks).

The star of the show, however, was keynote speaker Richard Devylder, a retired government worker from California. Devylder was born without limbs and was rejected by his family, who believed his disability was repayment for sins. Raised in foster care, Devylder beat the odds and ended up advocating for disability rights. 

A video showed in detail how Devylder gets through his days — often with the help of technology he or friends have created. He has learned to brush his teeth and shave his face on his own. He even devised a tool that helps him remove and put on his pants when he needs to use the restroom. 

Devlyder drew applause from the audience by saying, "It's not that we need new laws; it's that we need to enforce the laws that exist."

He noted that when looking for a home, he had to rule out three condos because the sidewalks around them weren't accessible. And that impacts more than just people who use wheelchairs, he noted. Moms with strollers, and elderly people who have difficulty navigating stairs also benefit from ramps. 

Finally, Devlyder said that it was time for governments to get rid of "disability advisory groups." People with disabilities, he said, need to be integrated into the government. In his own community, he says, that means that there's not a group advising the planning commission on how to accommodate people with disabilities. There are people with disabilities on the planning commission.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Seniors, those with disabilities, welcomed to tour Bustang

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 2:10 PM

While many people of all walks of life are excited about the unveiling of the new Bustang interregional transit service, those who  lack other ways to get around the state may be the most delighted.

The bus, which is run by the state, will begin service on July 13. It will provide service between Colorado Springs and Denver, as well as to other cities, like Fort Collins and Glenwood Springs. Fare and ticket information is available here.  

Seniors and people with disabilities are invited to a presentation, Q&A, tour of the bus, and a short ride on the bus. The event will take place at the Independence Center, at 729 S. Tejon Street, on July 9 at both 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

Questions and concerns can be submitted at or


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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kids can get free lunch, breakfast over summer

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 10:22 AM

click image OĞUZHAN ABDIK
  • Oğuzhan Abdik

Needy families often rely on free and reduced-price school lunches to keep their children's bellies full. 

When summer rolls around, those free meals go away, creating a major strain for families. Colorado Springs School District 11 wants to make sure no child goes hungry this summer. That's why it's once again providing free lunches and breakfasts to kids over summer break - no questions asked. 

There's plenty of locations to choose from this year, so many local kids should be able to access the program. Read on for all the relevant details: 
Colorado Springs School District 11 Summer Food Service Program

Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition. Children who aren't hungry learn better, act better and feel better. During the school year, more than 18 million children receive free and reduced-price meals at school. During the summer, that number drops to about three million. Summer food programs provide nutritious meals to children.

Colorado Springs School District 11 will again offer an “open” summer food service program for children 1-18 years of age.

The program will provide free breakfast and lunch during the summer at the locations, dates, and times shown below. Please note: All sites will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

Please call District 11 Food and Nutrition Services, 520-2924, or go to for more information.


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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pueblo native's nonprofit seeks help in Nepal

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 11:22 AM

A few days ago, Mission Coffee Roasters sent out a newsletter in hopes of helping raise funds for a friend and client's nonprofit initiative in Nepal. 

That group is called Portal Bikes, and was co-founded by Pueblo native Caleb Spear. They were already working in Nepal on their bike development when the recent earthquake hit, and in response launched a new effort to construct smart shelters for families ahead of monsoon season. 

As the group explains, "These shelters cost just over $100, can be assembled in 30 minutes, and can be reused when a person builds a permanent home."

You can learn more about them and contribute toward both the bike and shelter missions on Portal Bikes' Indiegogo page

And here's a little more backstory and perspective from Mission Coffee Roasters:
Mission Coffee Roasters exists for the simple purpose of offering "really good coffee with a mission."

We roast and sell amazing fresh roasted coffee under our label, and the label of non-profits, businesses, churches, and schools for example: to donate profits to, and to help raise funding for good causes and good works locally and abroad for example: and

Shelters are constructed with two open sides so residents can use other local materials to customize the enclosure to a family's specific needs. - COURTESY PORTAL BIKES
  • Courtesy Portal Bikes
  • Shelters are constructed with two open sides so residents can use other local materials to customize the enclosure to a family's specific needs.
Most of this we do quietly in the background while we focus on serving you and your organization delicious fresh roasted coffee (wholesale, office coffee service, fund raising, church cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, at Whole Foods, and retail at Mission).

But, we can't be quiet about this...

The monsoon season is coming in Nepal and we know personally a team from here in Pueblo, Colorado that is working in Nepal to provide for the people of Nepal...shelter and a way forward.

We first got involved with them over a year ago doing a custom labelled coffee to drive awareness for their bike powered agricultural grinder, farm equipment, and cargo bikes. And, like many of you, Mission Coffee Roasters donated cash right after the disaster to help in Nepal. At the time, we didn't know what help was needed, we just knew we had to do something.

The need in Nepal is now clear...

A few days ago, we got the email below from our friends at Portal explaining what is really happening in Nepal and how they are helping and how they could use some help to help more.

Portal's email and video explain how you can help them help Nepal if you feel led to do so.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Help a big wet cat out

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Serenity Springs Wildlife Center recently put out a call for financial assistance, due to all the recent rains. This is its appeal, followed by some photos I snapped back in 2012, during drier times:
First we must thank everyone for all your support. As you know our facility is a 501c3 Non-profit organization. We exist because of you. Our favorite saying is, "They are why we do it, You are how we do it!". The recent storms and abundance of rain although needed has caused many issues for us. The most recent being the poor turnout for our 1st Fundraiser of the year Family Fun Day. We have had the added expense of buying an Industrial pump because many of the enclosures were full of water and needed to be drained. Rental of additional equipment and manpower as well has put a huge dent in our budget. This also lead to higher electric bills as well. While tour numbers have been decreased. Once again we must ask for your assistance to make it through. We have ongoing medical bills as well due to the fact that we do not refuse a home to any animals in need. Several facilities pick and choose younger and healthier animals. We deny none of them. We have many that came to our facility when we first opened and are now quite old requiring additional care. We have to Fundraisers going on at this time that can be donated to. I have provided a link to make it easy, every little bit helps! You may also mail a check to SSWC PO Box 112, Calhan, CO 80808

Purrs, Chuffs, and Lions Songs,

Julie Walker
Director of Operations
  • Matthew Schniper

  • Matthew Schniper

  • Matthew Schniper

  • Matthew Schniper

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Give input on the Senior Center

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 5:20 PM

click image ETHAN PRATER
  • Ethan Prater
If you're worried about the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region running the Colorado Springs Senior Center, then you may want to make it to the May 13 city meeting on the issue.

The city will present its transition plan at the public gathering and answer questions. The YMCA already runs all the city's pools, but the Senior Center was run by the Colorado Springs Housing Authority after the city decided it didn't have the funds to keep the doors open.

Now, the Housing Authority is in a similar situation and is handing the reigns for the center back to the city. But the city still isn't interested in funding the center itself, and thus asked for proposals from private companies and nonprofits to run it. The YMCA stepped up at that point.

REMINDER: City hosts second public meeting on future operations of Senior Center

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — The City of Colorado Springs will host a second public meeting regarding future operations of the Colorado Springs Senior Center on Wednesday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m.

The City identified the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region as a potential new operator for the Colorado Springs Senior Center after undergoing an official Request for Qualification process through the City’s Procurement Office to find a qualified operator.

City officials met with senior center users in March to receive feedback about current and future center operations. Since then, the City has been in coordination with the current operator, Colorado Springs Housing Authority, and the YMCA to evaluate input received from senior center users and stakeholders, and to gather additional information about senior center operations in order to ensure a smooth transition.

The City intends to enter into an operating agreement with the YMCA and will present its transition plan during a public meeting which will include a question/answer session.

Senior Center Public Meeting

May 13, 2015

1:30 p.m.

Colorado Springs Senior Center

1514 North Hancock Avenue


The Colorado Springs Housing Authority took over operations of the Senior Center from the City in 2011 due to City budgetary constraints. The Housing Authority has notified the City that they cannot continue to operate the Center long-term with current revenues. Per the agreement with the Housing Authority executed in 2011, the City has the first right of refusal to take back operations. The City has been in a due diligence process to identify capital and operational needs and identify a qualified operator to ensure the long-term success and continuity of the Senior Center programs. 

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Loyalty through leather — fight the trade

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Early in 2014, the Indy ventured to India with local nonprofit Yobel International to report on a business training aimed partly at combatting the sex trade.
Purchasing a satchel bag is one way to aid the combatting of the sex trade in India. - THE LOYAL WORKSHOP
  • The Loyal Workshop
  • Purchasing a satchel bag is one way to aid the combatting of the sex trade in India.

We brought you this feature, "Trading Places." 

One source that was intentionally left out of that story was a couple named Sarah and Paul Beisly, who we did later introduce you to here, who are also working in Kolkata to liberate women from the trade via the sale of fair-trade craft items. 

Their business, The Loyal Workshop, finally, recently, launched with an "ethical leather goods store" featuring wallets, satchels and belts, currently. 

Shop there to support the company's mission or give them a like on Facebook to track their progress. 

You can also buy an "Advocate Wristband Pack" aimed at helping spread the word, which comes with several perks. 

Sarah and Paul Beisly, displaying a prototype in early 2014 in Kolkata. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Sarah and Paul Beisly, displaying a prototype in early 2014 in Kolkata.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: It's Women's History Month

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Women's History Month serves as a reminder of how far American women have come (we can vote) and how far we still have to go (we still don't make as much as men for the same work). 

It's also a time to celebrate heroes of the past, from Amelia Earhart to Susan B. Anthony to Harriet Tubman, and to recognize those who today continue to break down barriers. Learn a little bit about our local women's history (and present) at the upcoming HERSTORY & Women of Southern Colorado:


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