The 'partners ' who make up the nonprofit Partners in (Hope and) Housing celebrated a year of achievements with a 'Spring Forward ' dinner March 14 at the Colorado Springs Senior Center.

The teams of partners that work together to help homeless families with children achieve self-sufficiency include the families, staff, volunteers, board of directors, donors, sponsors and resource agencies.

Several of the partner families were saluted as they successfully graduated after a year that had included transitional housing, life skills training, mentoring, support services and budgets.

There were family 'Stick with it Awards ' described by Executive Director Mary Stegner as 'maybe it's not the best job, maybe it's not the best housing, but they stuck with it. '

Even the kids received awards for successfully taking care of their own family responsibilities such as cleaning up the house, going to school and helping take care of siblings.

Volunteers honored help at Colorado House transitional housing; Ron Manuszak was thanked for picking up furniture that's donated and delivering it to the families; and Ned Fenlon had the favorite nickname of the evening, 'Mr. Sparky. ' Insurance wouldn't cover the liability if donated electrical appliances were responsible for a house burning down, it was explained, so Mr. Sparky makes sure appliances are all safe.

Supper was prepared by another of the program's partners, Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton of Common Cause Catering, who teach families about healthy meals, offer alternatives to fast food, and show how to pass on good eating habits to the kids.