Partners for a Healthy Community (PHC) District/Community Wellness

Partners for Healthy Choices (PHC)
A timeline of its inception, processes and intent.
A who, where, what, when and most importantly, why of the Partners for Healthy Choices!

Founding Policy/Advisory Board
Maile Gray: Parent in district /Director of Drive Smart
David Chorpenning: Past Parent in district /Director of Everyday Visionary
Tyler Stevens: Parent in district /Green Mountain Falls Mayor
Pat Moran: MSSD 14 Social Worker
Rob Cody: Past Parent in district /Manitou Springs High School Principal
Lynn Lee: Facilitator for Restorative Justice Council
David Hunting: Pastor of Congregational Church in Manitou Springs
Steve Paterson: Past Manitou Springs Middle School Principal
Roy Crawford: Past Superintendent of MSSD14

Past Members of the Advisory Board
Ed Longfield: Parent in district/Superintendent of MSSD14/ Chair of PHC
Pat Moran: MSSD 14 Social Worker
Martin Thrasher-Judge for Manitou Springs court
Dr. Ken Finn-local physican and recognized expert on effects of marijuana on brain
Martin Thrasher-Judge for Manitou Springs court
Kathy Stults-past Director of Griffiths Center, past parent, Sits on many boards in town
Ken Jaray-lawyer, current Mayor of Manitou Springs
Jennifer Farmer-MSSD14 Board of Education president

Current Advisory Board
Maile Gray: Parent in district/Director of Drive Smart,/Co-founder of PHC, Vice Chair of PHC
Chris Nason-pastor here in town
Tyler Stevens: Parent in district/Green Mountain Falls Mayor
Natalie Johnson: past owner of Black Cat Books, Executive Director of Manitou Arts Center and City of
Manitou Springs Creative District, MSSD14 Board of Education _________
Dr. Mehdi Shelhammer-local physician and parent of 2 current MSES students
Chief Joe Ribeiro-Police chief of Manitou Springs police department
Jay Rohrer-City Council of Manitou Springs liaison

Vision: The communities of Manitou Springs School District 14 are unified and supportive of youth and
families; youth are making healthy choices that effect their mind, body and actions.
Let’s be even more specific here:

The communities of Manitou Springs School District 14 are:
Cedar Heights
Chipita Park
Green Mountain Falls
Manitou Springs
Choice families wherever they live

Our Mission: To create opportunities, build relationships, and mobilize community resources to engage youth in making healthy choices. We respect youth as valued members of our community.
This sounds pretty wonderful and daunting at the same time. That is why there is a team of community
members who meet monthly and discuss possibililites, dream big and put our dreams in to actionable plans.

This includes: the Director (Laurie Wood) gathering information by interviewing community groups, sending out a resource assessment survey, doing high school focus groups, presenting at gatherings especially where parents are the focus group and targeting transitional times as important access points for information dissemination. ie. 5th grade parent orientation, high school parent orientation, SAC meetings, Freshman orientation, Back to School Nights. This is wellness teams embedded in each of our schools who work with teachers, parents and administration to create most dynamic and innovative schools as possible so children are healthy, purposeful, kind and achieving academically.

Well, NOW!!! Everyday in our district and community, PHC’s presence is felt by one and all. Whether it is in
the weekly report that reminds staff of the wellness opportunities available to them each week, re-entry
meetings with Assistant Principals, evening events where we come alongside our teachers and disseminate information and are a presence at a moment’s notice. You will find us doing bus duty, Walking School Bus, on playgrounds, in meetings with staff and parents, with student support meetings, TAWC meetings, meeting one to one with a student seeking a scholarship, food/clothing or a hug. PHC has become part of the warp and weft of this district.

To reduce high risk behaviors in our youth, support positive choices for youth, provide positive opportunities for both children and parents and provide a means and vision for our community to be the best we can be for each other.

PHC Timeline:

June, 2007: Significant concerns regarding student behavior
September, 2007: First meeting
October, 2007: Second meeting (MADD, Pueblo Coalition, CSPD, El Paso County)
November 2007: Julie Reid, OMNI Institute, Regional Prevention Specialist: on our own path to forming a
December 2007-April 2008: Vision, Mission, By-laws, work groups
February 2009: Received $26,000 grant to hire a director. Laurie Z. Wood is hired.
February 2009: Agree on key risk factors: early anti-social behavior, family supports needed in our
communities, education for children and families-social skills, refusal skills, developmentally appropriate
content information needed across the ages
August 2009-Ed Longfield welcomed as new superintendent. As MSSD14 is fiscal agent and BOE serves as
board, the standing board members currently act as advisory board to PHC.
August 2010: Justin Armour hired as student liaison.
August 2012: Angela Gieck hired to replace Justin Armour as student liaison.
August 2013: Awarded $50,00/year for 5 years from CDE to establish and maintain wellness teams and
programming throughout the district.
August 2015: Awarded $50,000 for School Health Professional Grant: hired additional nurse.
August 2015: Awarded $500,000 OBH grant to address perception of harm of use of marijuana.
August 2015: Jane Squires hired to join the PHC team.
August 2016: Jane Squires promoted to assistant Director of PHC and continued OBH work and student liaison work focused on 6-12. Angela Gieck focuses her work on preK-5 and staff wellness.
August 2016: Laurie Z. Wood takes on Director of Learning Services as well as Director of PHC.
February 2017: Platinum Governor’s Award Healthy School Champion
Since then: Laurie Z. Wood involved with numerous civic and school healthy initiatives with the PHC team.

See below for accomplishments and projects.
Community Involvement:
Accomplishments/Continuing Projects

•Created Prevention position initially funded by Department of Behavioral Health, now funded by

•Have 20 partners throughout El Paso County, includes mental health, arts, youth services, faith-based,
local business, local higher education professionals, and city government

•PHC has become the point person for prevention activities in the communities served by MSSD14

•PHC coordinated volunteer opportunities for Manitou Springs High School students with the Chamber of
Commerce, Key Club, Peace Jam, FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes). Hundreds of students
volunteered their time.

•Town Hall Meeting in April of 2010: Speak Up! And Drugged Driving Town Hall meeting April, 2014.

•Supported Leadership Class and instructor in rethinking disciplinary policy for students which resulted in
new policies being adopted by BOE

•Received Regional Building grant to support safe After-prom activities

•Awarded a Safe Routes to School Grant as a partner with Manitou Springs City government who is lead
on grant to educate youth and families on benefits of walking/biking safely to school, resulted in bump out cross walk at bottom of El Monte, sidewalk from Manitou Avenue to Manitou Springs Middle School and fabulous bridge over Fountain Creek created by Manitou Springs High School students, MSHS SPED
students, community members under the leadership of Concrete Couch.

•Trained 10 students to be restorative justice co-facilitators for high school issues and teen municipal court cases

•Received Criminal Justice grant to expand and enhance Restorative Justice program throughout the

•Eight high school students were asked to present at regional Restorative Justice Symposium on the Nuts
and Bolts of doing Restorative Justice in a school setting.

•Received funding to conduct comprehensive surveying of our students grades 4-12 for last 5 years.

•According to our monthly prevention service report from Omni Institute: PHC has had 99 recurring
activities serving 714 people and 183 activities serving 9804 people.

•Sent high school coach to Lake Placid for Life of an Athlete four-day training which resulted in a
mandatory parent meeting at the beginning of the year which had 95% participation, with 100% success
with one-on-one follow up.

•Prevention letter sent out last eight years to all parents of seniors signed by both mayors, police chief,
principal of the high school, superintendent and prevention coordinator to celebrate and remind everyone on safe practices in the season of prom and graduation.

•Enlisted the aid of El Paso County Health to see how tobacco enforcement in local businesses
•Weekly Walk to School Day started in Manitou Springs Elementary School that expanded to Ute Pass
Elementary School and a one day event for Manitou Springs Middle School, who won $250 prize for
innovation in engaging middle school students.

•Fire Up Your Feet Challenge won by Manitou Springs Middle School for 3 consecutive years.

•DadCorps started in Manitou Springs Elementary School and Ute Pass Elementary School

•Seven applications for medical marijuana dispensaries has resulted in only 1 being approved, 1 being
postponed and the rest being denied. PHC Director served on regulatory task force when retail marijuana
shop opened in town, 2014.

•Youth Leadership Council forming, an inclusive group of high school students will be mentored and
celebrated throughout the year morphed into Campaign for Kindness group that does weekly kindness
intentions and larger framed activities. Received $500 grant from Colorado Springs Utilities to make
short videos highlighting kindness issues in our high school.

•Alternative activities developed for high school students, such as rock climbing club, to capture the
"nontraditional athlete".

•Procured private funding to support alternative activities

•PHC Director asked to sit on Healthier Communities Collaborative, state Advisory Board for Healthy
Kids Colorado Survey, State credentialing agency for Certified Prevention Specialists and represents El
Paso County in newly formed coalition called One Voice, educational coalition focused on marijuana
education spearheaded by State Office of Health and Human Services.

•Received regular media coverage, including print and television, including AspenPointe’s fall PR
campaign focused on Youth Mental Health First Aid, received $5,000 of funding to train all staff at MSHS
and provide additional professional development opportunities for staff to increase their skills working
with teens with mental health issues.

•Established daily contact with all students and building leaders.

•Hired a Student Liaison to support all the programming and activities.

•Manitou Yoga, Peace Day: PHC fundraiser.

•El Paso County Health Department: Manitou Springs TEPP grant awarded. MSSD14 kicks off the I
Choose campaign.

•Walk to School Day, October 1, MSES: approximately 150 students/adults walked to school.

•Youth Leadership Council, Breakfast of Champions, 80 + students participated with Justin Armour
giving inaugural talk.

•PHC Director sat on Pikes Peak Area Council of Government steering committee on health and wellness.

•PHC Director sits on Education subcommittee of HB 1451, co-chaired HB 1451 for 3 years and added
additional MSSD14 personnel to committee who now co-chairs the education subcommittee.

•Establishment of Food pantry, clothing bank and sports equipment bank for all families in MSSD14.

•Led effort for Care and Share food pantry at MAC, 1x/month, discontinued due to lack of community use.

•Wrote approximately $1,000,000+ of grants and in-kind support over 8 years, substantially to support
staff wellness and coordination of staff and student wellness initiatives to support student academic

•On executive group that coordinated Manifest: city-wide wellness day.

•Currently have over 10 categories of granting streams that support prevention and health promotion in

•PHC staff named Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving School honorees (national award).

•MSSD14 named the 2017 Platinum Governor’s Award ($7,500) Champion and recognized for being the
top Healthy School Champion and modeling how to be a healthy Colorado school.

•Participated in Master Plan meetings for infrastructure around the district (coordinating GOCO grants,
SafeRoutes to School).

•Helped spur Board of Education to meet with City Council of Manitou Springs to work in tandem on
issues facing our community.

•City Council of Manitou Springs formalizes liaison from city to attend PHC Advisory Board meetings.

New Initiatives in 2017-2018
•Sources of Strength project introduced in Manitou Springs High School.

•Safe Communities, Safe Schools project introduced at Manitou Springs Middle School.

•Review of city generated community profile and review of MSSD14 profile (asset review).

•Acquisition of $50,000 from City of Manitou Springs.

•TIGER grant, $1400, for support of K-12 music programming.

•PSAs (on healthy choices) developed by TAWC (Teen Advocates for a Well Community) for dissemination to MSSD14 community.

•Askable Adult-parenting class, in coordination with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

•Love and Logic parenting classes offered to both early years and tweens/teens FREE to community along with

FREE childcare.

•Incredible Years and Dinosaur Program grant acquired from Invest in Kids to augment existing programming and expand teacher professional development.

•Collaborated with Manitou Springs Creative District to acquire $100,000 grant for creek walk upgrades in
Manitou Springs along Fountain Creek.

•Laurie Z. Wood voted as Vice-President of the Manitou Springs Creative District Advisory Board.
TAWC expanded into Manitou Springs Middle School.

New Initiatives in 2018-2019
•Healing our Youth-community event in collaboration with Cheyenne District 14 and El Paso County Public Health.

•Disconnect to Reconnect for middle school students the week before Thanksgiving
Freshman “welcome” bags created by high school wellness team.

•Mix It Up luncheon put on by UPES wellness team.

•Health Jam integrated into MSES’s day schedule for core teachers to teach health related topics

This is NOT all inclusive. There are more activities that PHC has a hand in either directly or indirectly. Laurie Wood, Jane Squires, Angela Gieck and any of our partners are happy to discuss PHC’s activities with anyone who asks