Skip to content

Angels Among Us

Each month, The Castle Pines Connection features a different Douglas County nonprofit with the goal of introducing our readers to various organizations and ways they can help.  For everyone who contributes in any way, no matter how large or how small, we recognize that you make the difference.

Here are the featured stories.

The Marilyn Lichtman Foundation

By CPC | October 1, 2020
Photo of grant presentation i

Neighborly chat leads to $50,000 grant By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of the Marilyn Lichtman Foundation A conversation between neighbors in Glen Oaks set in motion a chain of events that could positively impact job opportunities for the visually impaired for years to come. It was in May that Elaine Hussey and Michael Scott were…

The Aspen Effect

By CPC | September 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; courtesy photos September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Colorado is unfortunately no stranger to mass gun violence, and from 2016 to 2019, the state had the highest increase (58%) in teen suicides. With greater emotional and mental strain due to the current pandemic, programs helping youth deal with mental…

Robin’s Nest and War Horse Project

By CPC | August 1, 2020
Photo of Emma Beaman and rescue horse Stormy

Article and photo by Carin R. Kirkegaard Mental health – the emotional, psychological and social well-being of an individual has always been important, particularly among youth and veterans. Robin’s Nest and War Horse Project are two Douglas County nonprofit organizations that provide a community space where individuals suffering from challenges like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic…

Roundup Riders of the Rockies Heritage and Trails Foundation

By CPC | July 1, 2020
Photo of volunteer for Roundup Riders of the Rockies

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos courtesy of Roundup Riders of the Rockies Heritage and Trails Foundation Colorado is known worldwide for its picturesque outdoor living. Whether white water rafting down river rapids, camping in remote areas, mountain biking rocky trails or riding horses through beautiful vistas, love for the state’s wilderness is shared by many.…

Facing Homelessness: Denver

By CPC | June 1, 2020
Photo of Facing Homelessness ladies

By Carin R. Kirkegaard, courtesy photo Homelessness is a prevalent, growing and evolving issue. For those individuals experiencing life on the street, there may be a stigma of prejudice and ridicule that creates isolation and vulnerability. Facing Homelessness: Denver (FHD), a Douglas County-based nonprofit, is working to end homelessness by inviting the community to be…

Second Wind Fund

By CPC | May 1, 2020

Lifeline for struggling youth By Carin R. Kirkegaard May is Mental Health Month. Nearly 450 million people across the world are currently living with a mental illness. One in six children between the ages of 6 and 17 is experiencing a mental health disorder in the U.S. In Colorado, suicide is currently the leading cause…

Manna Connect

By CPC | April 1, 2020
Photo of leaders from the Manna Connect personal development program

Training to overcome poverty By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos courtesy of Erin White Homelessness is quite often equated with urban living. Tent cities under bridges and panhandlers on street corners are stereotypical images of disadvantaged members in society. While the Denver metro area is seeing a rise in the homeless population, suburban poverty is also…

Bringing Music to Life

By CPC | March 1, 2020
Photo of Pete Chambers brings musical instruments to kids

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of Steve Blatt Numerous studies show that introducing music into the lives of children is beneficial. From improving IQ levels to increasing happiness, music in countless ways enhances one’s life. For many that love of music begins when picking up an instrument in a school band or orchestra. Steve…

Jessie’s Heart Foundation

By CPC | February 1, 2020
Photo of Members of the Children’s Hospital Colorado Heart Institute Wellness Program

Healing little hearts By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photos courtesy of J.C. Heinen New Year’s Day 1975, J.C. Heinen gave birth to her daughter Jessica Renee. Jessie was born premature with a congenital heart defect (CHD) called Tetralogy of Fallot. Her condition required Jessie to remain in the pediatric intensive care unit for the first 18…

One Good Turn

By CPC | January 1, 2020
Photo of girls One Good Turn nonprofit

Offering dignification By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of One Good Turn     Driving around the metro area it is not uncommon to see someone at a street corner holding a sign asking for money. It happens frequently outside of Castle Pines and recently has been a topic of conversation here in the city…

Tennyson Center for Children and Operation Santa

By CPC | December 1, 2019

By Carin R. Kirkegaard The holiday season, for many, is met with joy and anticipation, and perhaps a dose of stress. Across the Denver metro area, there are many families that struggle through the holidays. Tennyson Center for Children (TCC), located in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, is able to bring the excitement of the…

Victory for Veterans and Memorial Day Flowers

By CPC | November 1, 2019

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of Memorial Day Flowers It has been said that Veterans Day is for the living and Memorial Day is for the fallen. Many have cause to mark both holidays and reflect on loved ones who have given their lives to service. Victory for Veterans is a national foundation with…

Sense of Security

By CPC | October 1, 2019

Providing a Sense of Security By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of Grant Oakes   October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation, more than 265,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2019. It is a dise ase that impacts many,…

Rylie’s ARK

By CPC | September 1, 2019

Random acts of kindness By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of Meghann Guentensberger After a terrible tragedy, the Guentensberger family made a decision that they hope will have a ripple effect for years to come. Following the accidental death of their daughter Rylie at just 12 years old, the family decided to honor her memory in…

ShesCHERIshed

By CPC | August 1, 2019

Peaceful future grows through ShesCHERIshed By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of ShesCHERIshed It is the kind of thing most people think couldn’t happen to them or someone they know, but it does. Domestic violence happens to people in all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, education, profession or socioeconomic status. In fact, Douglas County…

2 Blondes All Breed Rescue

By CPC | July 1, 2019

Dogs looking for forever homes By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of the Mellor family As any dog lover can tell you, underneath all that fur, beyond their love of people food, chew toys and causing household mischief, a dog has a heart of gold that offers an unconditional love rarely found anywhere else in life.…

The Happy Crew

By CPC | June 1, 2019

Teens supporting teens By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of The Happy Crew A smile and a kind word from a friend can brighten anyone’s day, but when teens need extra support, The Happy Crew is here! The Happy Crew is a group who empowers teenagers to help their peers reduce stress, anxiety and depression through…

SECOR and Food for Thought

By CPC | May 1, 2019

SECOR ensures students have Food for Thought By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of The Happy Crew Remember during your school-age years, that feeling of excitement as the last few minutes of Friday afternoon ticked away before the bell rang to dismiss you for the weekend? Many students feel that excitement to get to the weekend…

Aging Resources of Douglas County

By CPC | April 1, 2019

Resources and education for older adults By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of Aging Resources of Douglas County Age is just a number, but as that number changes, the mental and physical needs of people change too. When older adults seek help to navigate the changing needs in their lives, a newly formed nonprofit, Aging Resources…

National Charity League

By CPC | March 1, 2019

Connecting mothers, daughters and community By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of National Charity League With a family calendar full of birthday parties, school events, holidays, graduations, practices and much more, it can be hard to find time to volunteer together. For mothers and their daughters in seventh to twelfth grade in Douglas County, knowing where…

Home Builders Foundation

By CPC | February 1, 2019

Making a house home By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of Home Builders Foundation When people have accidents, illness or other events happen in their lives that suddenly leave them physically disabled, it can make the everyday task of moving throughout the home difficult. Imagine trying to use your kitchen from a wheelchair, or come into…

Christmas for Kids and Kids Crossing

By CPC | January 1, 2019

Christmas for Kids event supports children in foster care By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of James Dewhirst Photography Four years ago, friends Tom Vieregger and Kuntal Vora had an idea to create a charitable event that would help kids in foster care have a happier holiday season. The pair created Christmas for Kids benefiting Kids…

Featuring angels in our community

By CPC | December 1, 2018

By Elise Brassell Each month, The Connection profiles a different nonprofit organization that is active in Douglas County through our Angels Among Us column. From caring for animals, to teaching kids leadership skills, to dressing in costume to help cheer up families struggling with illness, there are Angels Among Us who wake up every day…

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

By CPC | November 1, 2018

On a mission Article and photo by Elise Brassell About one and one-quarter million Americans have type 1 diabetes (T1D), an auto-immune disease that strikes suddenly regardless of diet or lifestyle, can’t be prevented, and has no cure. T1D causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin – a hormone the body needs to get energy…

Unified Sports

By CPC | October 1, 2018

Bringing students of all abilities together By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of Special Olympics There’s something special about the bond between sports teammates, forged by struggling together through wins and losses, teamwork often builds lifelong friendships. For many young athletes, learning to compete and have fun in sports begins with school sports teams, but people…

The OathKeepers

By CPC | September 1, 2018

Caped crusaders at large in the community By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of The OathKeepers What do Chester Cheetah, Mr. Peanut and a high school mascot all have in common? Vinessa Olp, founder of The OathKeepers has portrayed them all. The OathKeepers is an all-volunteer, costuming for charity organization. Costumers for charity don costumes of…

Denver Dumb Friends League Buddy Center

By CPC | August 1, 2018

By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of Dumb Friends League Walking through the Denver Dumb Friends League Buddy Center (Buddy Center) feels like visiting a community center where the love of animals is shared by everyone inside. Buddy Center is a full-service animal shelter, just off Meadows Parkway in Castle Rock, offering pet adoptions, lost-and-found services…

Colorado Young Leaders

By CPC | July 1, 2018

Building youth leadership skills through acts of service By Elise Brassell; photo courtesy of Eden Mendrala It is often said that leaders aren’t born, they’re made, and many great leaders are being made right here in Douglas County and throughout our state as a result of the innovative programs at Colorado Young Leaders (CYL). CYL…

A tale of adversity turned into a vision, then action

By CPC | July 1, 2018

By Patte Smith, courtesy photos Several years ago, Susan and Pat Mooney jumped in “boots” first to establish a safe and supportive community for adults challenged with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thus began the story and growing reality of Tall Tales Ranch (TTR). Their son, Ross, who is now 20 years old, was diagnosed at…

Douglas/Elbert Task Force

By CPC | June 1, 2018

Giving locally matters By Elise Brassell; photos courtesy of the Douglas/Elbert Task Force When donating to a nonprofit organization, sometimes it can be hard to know whether the help is applied locally. But when someone donates food or other necessities to the Douglas/Elbert Task Force (Task Force), it means giving back to those in our…

Castle Rock Senior Activity Center

By CPC | May 1, 2018

Boasting 47 years of making a difference Article and photo by Barbara Neff Their motto used to be, “not your grandparents’ senior center,” but since opening in 1971, Castle Rock Senior Activity Center (Center) has changed much with the times, including their motto.  Today their motto is, “loving life in the second half,” a thoroughly…

Cultivating the arts – Castle Pines Arts and Cultural Foundation

By CPC | April 1, 2018

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo by Lynn Zahorik In 2009, the Castle Pines Arts and Cultural Foundation (CPACF) began as a committee to help establish a library in Castle Pines. Funds were raised for the first storefront library and, eventually, the new standalone facility. Throughout that time, the organization grew to a commission, and in…

Cultivating future leaders – YouthRoots

By CPC | March 1, 2018

By Lynne Marsala Basche During her high school years in South Dakota, YouthRoots founder Lacey Books participated in a basic leadership program. When Books was out of school and looked back on the experience, she realized how beneficial it would be to have been able to apply those lessons and skills right away. In 2010,…

Community service for children – Kiwanis Club of Castle Rock

By CPC | February 1, 2018

By Lynne Marsala Basche In 1915, Kiwanis International was founded by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan with a mission to “empower communities to improve the world by making lasting differences in the lives of children.” The local Kiwanis Club of Castle Rock takes that statement to heart as the organization strives to have…

Heroes in all shapes, sizes and species – Friends of Douglas County K-9

By CPC | January 1, 2018

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of Friends of Douglas County K-9 In 2011, David Swieckowski, Angela Sanders, Terry Barnhart and Kim Vanderholm learned that two of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) working dogs needed to be retired but that the DCSO did not have the funds to purchase new dogs. The four then…

A year in the life of Angels Among Us

By CPC | December 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche At the beginning of 2016, The Castle Pines Connection began its Angels Among Us segment with a belief that nonprofit organizations strengthen our community along with faith in our readership and humanity in general that we all have talents to give.  Each month, the paper featured a different Douglas County nonprofit…

Douglas County Mental Health Initiative

By CPC | November 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche You may be struggling. Someone you know could be suffering. In fact, one in five adults and adolescents will be diagnosed with a mental health issue in their lifetime. In 2014, after seeing a spike of various mental health issues in Douglas County, officials recognized the need to increase community mental…

Where to donate when disaster strikes

By CPC | October 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of NASA Traditionally, the Angels Among Us segment features a different local nonprofit each month. With the many recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the wildfires in California, Montana and Oregon and the earthquakes in Mexico, The Connection is featuring national nonprofit…

Focus on student success – ACCF

By CPC | September 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche Arapahoe Community College (ACC) opened its doors in the mid-1960s, and by the early 1970s, a foundation was formed to host events and bring attention to the college. This foundation, the Arapahoe Community College Foundation (ACCF), transitioned to a fundraising organization when it became apparent that certain aspects of the school…

Providing homes to rescued cocker breeds – RMCR

By CPC | August 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of RMCR In 2009, Douglas County resident Kathryn Glass founded RMCR after volunteering for other rescue organizations and developing a network of contacts and shelters. RMCR became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and remains the only state-licensed cocker spaniel rescue facility in Colorado. Glass recognized the need to help cocker spaniels,…

Connecting people to agriculture – CALF

By CPC | July 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of CALF In 2002, lifelong Douglas County residents and ranchers John and Bea Lowell saw the tremendous pace of growth happening along the front range and felt that people and especially children needed a place to learn about agriculture. Together with a group of like-minded citizens, CALF began with…

Horses find hope and homes – Harmony Equine Center

By CPC | June 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of DDFL Chances are high when people hear about the Denver Dumb Friends League (DDFL), their thoughts immediately turn to dogs, cats and possibly rabbits. However, it might be a surprise to learn that the Dumb Friends League has a 168-acre facility dedicated to horses, ponies, donkeys and mules…

Be a hero to a hero – Douglas County Veterans Monument Foundation

By CPC | May 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of Nick Lucey When the Douglas County Veterans Monument Foundation (DCVMF) began, the organization’s mission was to promote the creation, construction and maintenance of a monument to honor all Douglas County veterans, including past, present and future military personnel. After a six-year effort, the majestic “Freedoms Keeper” monument (pictured…

Revealing history and keeping it alive – Historic Douglas County

By CPC | April 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche Imagine triggering the 1858 Colorado Gold Rush by finding gold flecks in Cherry Creek and the Platte River.  Think about trekking up to the Devil’s Head summit in the late 1800s to what would become one of only four fire lookout stations along the Front Range.  Picture the few telephone operators…

Parenting Ph.D. – Douglas County Parenting Coalition

By CPC | March 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche   Raising a child is difficult.  While challenges may change with the times, if you are a parent, grandparent or a caregiver to a preschool-aged child through high school-aged student, the need for education and guidance is always necessary.  The Douglas County Parenting Coalition (DCPC) is waiting to support those efforts.…

Called to help – Douglas County Search and Rescue

By CPC | February 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche One of the many benefits of living in Douglas County is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  The open space and trail systems are extensive, and when something unexpected occurs and help is needed, the Douglas County Search and Rescue (DCSAR) team is ready to respond. DCSAR began in 1998 with…

Giving now for generations to come – Douglas County Libraries Foundation

By CPC | January 1, 2017

By Lynne Marsala Basche The Douglas County Libraries (DCL) system has always played a vital part in its communities and has been fortunate to have strong leaders with innovative ideas that have allowed DCL to thrive and become a nationally recognized district.  As districts look to secure funding, creating a foundation is often necessary to…

Fallen Officer Fund

By CPC | December 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche In 1999 Deputy Ronald King was killed by a drunk driver when he and his partner were returning from an assignment.  At that time, Douglas County had no benevolence organization that could step in and help his family with expenses.  With the notion that we are one incident away from becoming…

Smiles change lives – Smile for a Lifetime

By CPC | November 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche Can a smile open doors, inspire self-confidence and create a ripple effect of goodwill in a community?  The 501(c)(3) Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) of Greater Denver seeks to achieve all that and more.  Drs. Kevin Theroux and Brooks Barefoot of Total Orthodontics in Lone Tree are dedicated to changing lives…

Building a basis for excellence – Douglas County Educational Foundation

By CPC | October 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche Readers may not be aware of the DCEF, but chances are high they have taken advantage of their services.  For the past 25 years, the DCEF has been a partner with all Douglas County schools to prepare students to become career, college and citizenship-ready and not just in the classroom either.…

Here to help and serve – Y.E.S.S.

By CPC | September 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche Alcohol, social media, bullying, drugs, sexting – these are just some of the challenges that students face today.  It can be overwhelming especially when these pressures shift and new ones surface faster than they ever have.  Douglas County, however, is fortunate to have the Y.E.S.S. program in place to reach students…

Hope thrives here – Hide in Plain Sight

By CPC | August 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche The numbers are startling.  Despite being one of the wealthiest counties in the country, 100 percent of all Douglas County high schools and middle schools have homeless students, and elementary schools are not far behind with 82 percent.  In fact, in the last five years, the homeless student population has doubled,…

Granting comfort and hope – The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation

By CPC | July 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche Knowledge is power.  Three words that CHF founders Doug and Julie Hutchison want everyone touched by epilepsy to know.  With a mission to raise awareness about the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), CHF exists to grant comfort, hope and positivity to individuals and families living with epilepsy. Chelsea Alice Hutchison…

Protecting open space – Douglas Land Conservancy

By CPC | June 1, 2016

Angels Among Us By Lynne Marsala Basche Some people are part of the morning canine and coffee bunch scene at the Glendale Farm Open Space dog park.  Others prefer high tea at Cherokee Ranch and Castle.  There are those who participate in the ultramarathon as part of the Greenland Open Space trail run.  Residents appreciate…

Making a difference in the lives of kids – Connect Us

By CPC | May 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of Connect Us Imagine a world where all children embrace diversity, and social stigmas do not exist.  Connect Us strives to create that type of reality.  Connect Us knows that despite differences and abilities, children can thrive and learn from one another through social-skill building experiences that encourage social…

Helping seniors stay in their homes – Neighbor Network

By CPC | April 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche   Douglas County’s older adult population is one of the fastest growing in the country.  By 2030, the State Demography Office estimates that one in four Douglas County residents will be over 60 years old.  With a mission to help older adults stay independent, Neighbor Network is committed to making sure…

Creating a healing journey through art – Healing Arts

By CPC | March 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of Sue Fraley The belief that nonprofit organizations strengthen our community, combined with faith in our readership and humanity in general that we all have talents to share, The Castle Pines Connection is committed to featuring a different local nonprofit each month.  This month Healing Arts is highlighted. While…

Promoting a culture of giving – Douglas County Community Foundation

By CPC | February 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, publicly supported philanthropic organization with a long-term goal of building permanent, named funds for the benefit of the residents in a specific geographic area.  In very broad terms, a community foundation is a way to connect people who care with causes that matter. The…

Angels Among Us – Featuring the organizations that give year-round

By CPC | January 1, 2016

By Lynne Marsala Basche The holidays have drawn to a close, and the toy drives, donation boxes, and bell ringers have packed up again until next year.  While the focus of giving seems to be more directed during the holiday months, the need for assistance in Douglas County continues year-round.  There are angels among us…