October 4, 2013 Updated: October 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm
Characters were wandering Cheyenne Mountain Resort in jesters' hats. People were serious about picking the best numbered rubber ducky for the Lucky Duck Plunk. And normally reserved educators were intently grabbing their heads and their behinds in the "Heads or Tails" game.
It was all in fun but linked to a serious purpose.
The Teens With Promise "What Does It Take to Help a Teen in Need" celebration and fundraiser on Sept. 14 was designed to help the nonprofit continue its mission of advocating for at-risk teens to be able to complete their education, "while promoting recreational and social activities."
As Executive Director Robin Coen explained, while they are providing services needed by homeless youth who want to finish high school, they are supplying backpacks and school supplies as well as providing the necessary school clothes and winter coats for school. A special extra is those just-right outfits so the teens can go to their proms and homecoming dances.
For Jermiah Garcia, Teens with Promise was the only place to turn when his abusive father left for Mexico, his mother moved to Texas and he was left homeless. "I needed someone to care, to push me. That's what it took," he told a sympathetic audience. Garcia is struggling now to find a way to pay for college so he can become an engineer.
Candice Davis is a perfect role model for Garcia and other teens in Teens with Promise. She moved from homelessness to a Dec. 21 ("at 5 p.m.!") graduation date at Colorado State University. She plans to be a nurse.
Kathy Brown shared a story of years of sexual abuse by her now-incarcerated father, of drinking, guilt and confusion and of being guilt-tripped by her mother for "ruining" their family.
She thanked the couple who took her in as a foster child as well as Kevin Butcher and Sam Cameron, who took a chance hiring her for her first job and became "amazing mentors. So many teens need mentors and programs like Teens with Promise,” she said.
Coen gave a shout-out to the people and entities who have given continuous support to the nonprofit and make these success stories possible:
Aspen Creek Medical Associates, Dr. Mark Albers, Cameron/Butcher Real Estate, Benning and Mathews Orthodontics, First Lutheran Church, KOAA News First 5, Olympic Training Center, Pikes Peak Kiwanis Club, Plato’s Closet/Citadel, Rockrimmon Vision Source and State Farm Insurance Group.