Over the past year, the Pikes Peak Regional Council has responded to our community’s needs through supporting innovative grant making and providing seed money to unique pilot programs such as the Veterans Climb program at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center (Mt. Carmel) and the Achieving Competitive Excellence Program at SPEED Track and Field.
In early 2018, the Pikes Peak Council identified homelessness as an area of need for El Paso and Teller counties, taking specific interest in homelessness prevention services. After identifying partnerships that could move the needle on this complex issue in a small but tangible way, our Council made a three-year grant to Mt. Carmel to support a pilot program, Veterans Climb.
Veterans Climb works to address the many challenges faced by at-risk veterans such as family discord, addiction and incarceration resulting from the lingering impacts of their military service. Mt. Carmel, Pikes Peak Workforce Center, and Pikes Peak Community College combined efforts to offer a pilot program to support these veterans. This collaborative program seeks to ensure the future success of participants through short-term education in career and technical education programs, supportive services and case management, and targeted employment preparation and acquisition.
Alternatively, SPEED Track and Field encourages, educates and equips athletes and students to train and study with a powerful belief in their ability to perform. After seeing the need for increased youth development in social-emotional intelligence in local middle and elementary schools, SPEED piloted the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) program at North Middle School in 2018. This program takes the same concepts that promote success in athletic endeavors: grit, cool-thinking and emotional intelligence, and applies them to classroom performance. Students are guided through novel decision-making approaches which result in improved behavior, increased attention and better classroom performance.
The Pikes Peak Regional Council had previously supported SPEED Track and Field through its athletic programming, and after reviewing the implementation of the ACE program at North Middle School and Adams Elementary, chose to support its continued growth. With this funding, SPEED Track and Field will be able to serve more students at North and Adams, while also expanding to reach students at Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy.
Through supporting these innovative pilot programs the Pikes Peak Regional Council strives to support creative solutions to community challenges. As 2019 progresses, the Regional Council looks forward to the continued success of both programs and to the community change they will both promote.
Judy Bell Lt Gen Mike Gould (USAF, Ret.)
El Pomar Foundation Trustee, Pikes Peak Regional Council Regional Trustee