EMPTY STOCKING FUND: Urban Peak helps teen get job training

by Ellie Cole Special to The Gazette - Published: December 23, 2013 | 6:30 pm 0

This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.

When Chelsea turned 18, her father and stepmom told her she was on her own. She then graduated from boarding school, joined the Air Force and was shipped off to basic training.

She didn't stay in the military for long, though.

"I got an entry-level separation from the United States Air Force and went back to Colorado and had no where else to turn," she said. She went to the library downtown to look for places she could stay and live. Urban Peak came up.

"I thought I'd give it a shot," she said. Now, at age 19, she has been with them since June 2012.

According to its website, Urban Peak helps youth who are either homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, overcome challenges by providing crucial services and a safe community so they can become self-reliant adults.

Chelsea is transgender, and she said that Urban Peak is a safe and accepting organization. She loves that the staff is understanding of it clients regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

"They are always there for you," she said.

Chelsea is training to work in the culinary industry. She said Urban Peak has been great with helping her figure out her education and employment options. She has 15 more weeks of training, and then she can have an internship in the food service with Colorado Springs School District 11.

She said she has been able to make friends at Urban Peak and the staff is awesome.

"You can come from any background, any socioeconomic heritage, and you'll be safe."

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