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El Pomar’s Scholars Create Impact in Their Communities


Ben Jourdan

El Pomar’s Student Leadership Experience held its last retreat of the academic year recently. Over the last nine months the 44 scholars, representing the 11 universities associated with the Colorado Leadership Alliance, attended retreats in Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver. The yearlong theme also served as a challenge: Commit to Community: Know more. Do more. Be More.

The objective of holding these retreats in different locations was to allow the scholars to view how communities throughout Colorado contrast and, more specifically, how their needs vary. Scholars were able to explore these three communities by meeting elected officials, academic trailblazers, and community leaders, as well as taking part in volunteer projects that were distinctive to each city.

In Colorado Springs, the scholars volunteered with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute to repair trails at the Garden of the Gods; in Boulder, they volunteered at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless by cleaning the shelter’s facility; and in Denver, they volunteered with Denver Children’s Home during an event that promoted child abuse prevention month.

In addition to volunteering at these retreats, the scholars had the opportunity to attend leadership development and nonprofit curriculum sessions, and listen to speakers that are involved with nonprofit work and philanthropy in Colorado. This year, scholars attended curriculum sessions learning about a wide array of topics ranging from Jim Collins’ teachings of Good to Great all the way to nonprofit marketing. They heard speakers that included small business owners and executive directors of internationally recognized nonprofits.

Although theses retreats impact scholars and allow them to grow and develop, the lasting result on the communities of Colorado comes from the scholars’ yearlong nonprofit projects. In the beginning of the year, each school’s group of scholars selects a nonprofit organization together. Over the course of the year each group works together to learn more about how the selected organization operates, its focus areas, and its programs.  Finally, scholars conduct a project that culminates in advising the organization’s executive director on a specific program.

The following lists each school and the nonprofit project that the scholars completed during this past academic year:

Colorado State University – Pueblo
Created a marketing campaign to increase volunteerism at the Rosemount Museum.

Colorado State University – Fort Collins
Provided youth at the Matthews House with leadership development curriculum and activities.

University of Colorado – Boulder
In the process of creating a sustainable internship, volunteer, and “buddy” program at the Association for Community Living.

University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
Held a Birthday Event at the Springs Rescue Mission for at-risk children whose family cannot afford to throw a birthday party for their children.

University of Colorado - Denver
Created a volunteer relationship between UC-Denver and Phoenix Multisport.

Regis University
Worked with Goodwill Industries of Denver to promote the “Goodwill Effect” through several fundraisers and community outreach events.

United States Air Force Academy
Raised money, applied for grant classifications, and assisted with landscaping for the Crawford House.

Metro State College of Denver
Volunteered and mentored youth at Colorado Uplift

University of Denver
Continuing work with the City of Englewood to keep its “Cities of Service” Classification

Johnson and Wales University
Organized a 5K run fundraiser for DenUM

University of Northern Colorado
Volunteered for and organized campus events with A Woman's Place to assist with the prevention of domestic violence