Here it is! The first edition of my Nonprofit November project. Each weekday in November I am interviewing a different nonprofit agency in our community. I will be sharing what I learn with you. My hope is that you learn a little something, and maybe even get connected with a cause or agency that sparks your passion.
Thank you for reading! Please share with others who you think may be interested. Let’s spread the word about the amazing impact these agencies are providing to our community.
Alzheimer’s Association – Colorado Chapter
Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the SIXTH leading cause of death in our country? RoseMary Jaramillo is our region’s director for the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She shared that the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to live in a world without Alzheimer’s and dementia. The main focus of this nation-wide agency is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Locally the focus of RoseMary’s work is to support caregivers and families of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. With her one additional staff and very robust volunteer team, RoseMary serves our 13 county region with education and state level advocacy.
Helping families to secure an accurate diagnosis is key to providing local support. It helps families to understand heredity issues, appropriate treatment options, and relevant research. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association helps loved ones to understand the disease better and learn how to communicate with, and support their family member.
RoseMary shared that their biggest challenge is getting access to those who can benefit from their educational programming. Connecting with doctors, law enforcement, the military community, first responders and others who have the opportunity to interact with those struggling with the disease. Her programming can educate them on what to look for and how to get the individual much needed support.
If you have connections that could expand the Alzheimer’s Association education, please email RoseMary. She would also love to visit with you if you are interested in volunteering. As you can see here, there are many opportunities to get involved and have an impact.
Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is the state’s official health insurance marketplace. This state appointed nonprofit provides choice and transparency for Coloradans, who can view all their health insurance plan options side-by-side. This is the only place where you can find savings to make health insurance more affordable.
I met with Maria Adams, who serves as the agency’s Community Partnership & Outreach Program Manager for our Southeast region. She shared several stories of people who were paying way too much for their health insurance, or did not have the right coverage for their specific needs. Connect for Health Colorado has been able to help so many people lower their monthly premium costs. With over 700 contracted brokers and assisters in the state they are well equipped to help the uninsured become insured.
I found it interesting that 35% of the people they serve are 55 or older. These are often folks who want to retire, but are continuing to work primarily for their insurance benefits. Connect for Health Colorado gives them options.
Since I didn’t know that this agency existed, I learned a ton from Maria! The biggest challenge facing Connect for Health Colorado is a basic lack of knowledge and awareness about who they are and how they can help. For anyone interested in seeing if they can lower their monthly health insurance expenses, please go to https://connectforhealthco.com or email Maria and she will help get you connected.
Before visiting the Stable Strides ranch in Elbert I had a fairly limited understanding of the kind of work they do. In addition to meeting some of their beautiful horses, I learned that Stable Strides is the largest therapeutic equestrian center in the area. They are also the only PATH Accredited center.
Oftentimes when it comes to equestrian therapy, people (like me) think mostly of Adaptive or Therapeutic Riding. In addition to providing that service, Stable Strides also provides Mental Health Services and Hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is also known as POST which is an acronym for Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy.
The agency has a brand new Executive Director, Jason Frazier. So I met with members of the Development team, Brittany Williams and Arrika Bales. They shared that in 2020 they delivered over 5,000 contact hours of service. 60% of that work was for mental health therapy with members of the military, active duty, and first responders. They serve clients ages 4 to 88 and help with dozens of different diagnoses.
The biggest challenge facing Stable Strides, and their new Executive, is that there is more need than they have the capacity to provide. Every program they run has a 20+ person waitlist. Equestrian Therapy is often a last resort for people seeking services. That makes their waitlist situation even more of a challenge for individuals looking for help. To get involved and help, go to their website at https://www.stablestrides.org/get-involved.
Every parent of a child with special needs worries about what will happen to their child once they are gone. Rich and Becky Caldwell are no different. With limited residential options for special needs adults in Colorado, the Caldwells felt a calling to create a new solution for families with similar needs.
That’s how the vision for Hilltop Ranch was formed. Designed to provide a permanent, forever home for adults with intellectual disabilities, where they can live their lives to the fullest. The first phase has begun with the purchase of a lodge in Palmer Lake. Eventually the project will include an entire campus with housing, support services, a dining hall, outdoor sports areas, greenhouses, and more!
Current challenges include funding, building a board, and getting the word out that there is an option for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. The biggest need they have right now is for staff who can serve as “house parents” or “caregivers”. Ideally they would like to find two couples who can alternate living on campus in shifts. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please reach out to Rich. To learn more or to get involved in other ways, check out their website: https://hilltopranch.org.
Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (SCWCC) Foundation
In full disclosure, I am a member of the SCWCC, and I did not really understand the difference between the Chamber and the Foundation. Thanks to Foundation President, Brandon Eldridge for visiting with me and helping me expand my understanding! The short answer to the difference is that they are two separate organizations that work very closely together.
The Mission of the SCWCC Foundation is to support women by providing life-changing opportunities through leadership training and scholarships. The Foundation has a long history of providing scholarships for women in our community. Over the past couple of years they have been working to expand and deepen their impact by providing training and mentorship for what they call “nontraditional women” in our community. These are women who have unique challenges to completing a degree or establishing a career. The first round of programming is going to specifically target women who have been job displaced due to the pandemic.
Brandon has a strong team of volunteers who have worked with him to shift and evolve the organization during the past two years. He’s very proud of the work they are doing to advance their impact on our community. The Foundation is in a very good place now; but like all organizations, they can use more funding and more amazing, engaged volunteers. To learn more or get involved, check out their website at: https://scwccfoundation.com. Something super easy you can do to help is to like and follow them on social media ~ Facebook and LinkedIn.
Want to learn more about how you can have a lasting impact on your community? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect them for a free 30-minute discovery call or check out this article on how to be a community superhero. In order to save the world, nonprofits need superheroes like you to help them have the kind of impact they exist to deliver.
Kim is a mom, wife, lover of being active and the outdoors,
and helper of small businesses and nonprofits.