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Connection through Service: Giving Back to Colorado

Tags: Fellowship

Kayla Try 3.JPG

Connection Through Service: Giving Back to Colorado  

By Kayla Shock


Colorado has been my home for the past 10 years of my life. This state is like no other: the people, outdoors and culture are all reasons I have committed myself to serving the people of this state and exactly why I ended up at El Pomar Foundation. The Foundation strives to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado. To be part of an organization dedicated to giving back to nonprofits that are the change makers everywhere from the rural southwest to right here in Colorado Springs perfectly aligns with my idea of what it means to be a citizen in the state of Colorado.

I am no stranger to the impact of El Pomar in my local community. Growing up in Colorado Springs, it is hard to miss the legacy that Spencer and Julie Penrose left behind in every part of the city. During undergraduate career at UCCS, I witnessed the impact of El Pomar’s grant dollars firsthand and after learning about the Fellowship program during my senior year, I applied immediately.

With my time here in the Fellowship, I hope to learn more about the issues affecting Colorado, dive into the Fellowship’s extensive leadership and nonprofit management curriculum and apply that curriculum to those issues affecting the state’s unique communities. For example, as a Reservist in the United States Air Force, I have the opportunity to serve both my country and my hometown of Colorado Springs. Through my work supporting El Pomar’s Military Affairs program, I have the opportunity to stay connected and build upon my military knowledge and service. Although philanthropy and military service may not sound like they have much in common, I have been able to transfer my skills between both sectors with a fluidity that affirms my decision to participate in the Fellowship program.

When I travel to different bases around the U.S., I am often asked “What is Colorado known for?” Historically, we think of the Wild West as the place to truly find what you are made of. Although technology has advanced and populations have grown and diversified, I still believe you can find that introspective growth here in the West. Colorado, to me, is the frontier of giving, community, service and growth – and so is El Pomar. For the rest of my Fellowship, I hope to continue to advance the Penrose legacy and serve Colorado for years to come.   




Kayla Shock joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the 2019 Fellowship class. As a Fellow, Kayla works on the American Council of Young Political Leaders, Fellowship Recruiting, Military Affairs, Southeast Colorado Springs Iniative and Superintendents Leadership Endowment.  Additionally, Kayla supports the San Juan region. Read more about Kayla here