McIlewee's focus is helping kids in trouble

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: John P. McIlwee

* Organization: Urban Peak Colorado Springs

* Position: Executive director

* Hometown: Gunnison, Colo.

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 12 years

* Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration – Western State College

* A few words about your company: Urban Peak Colorado Springs provides services to homeless and runaway youth ages 15-21. We provide youth a safe, caring, stable environment and assist them in exiting street life. We have an outstanding staff that is able to establish relationships with the youth so that we can gain their trust and partner with them to work toward a better future. We began services as a non-profit in Colorado Springs in December 2000 and have served 668 youth as of May 31. We are the only program in Colorado Springs that’s purpose is to serve this population. About 85 percent of our youth are from Colorado Springs.

* Recent accomplishments: We have purchased a building and will begin rehabbing that building, with HomeAid Colorado Springs as our construction partner, this month. We are developing a 20 bed transitional housing program for our young clients.

* Biggest career break: Coming out of retirement in 2001 to become the first executive director of Urban Peak Colorado Springs.

* The toughest part of your job: Finding the resources to provide services that are so badly needed for this special population and convincing our growing community that there is a problem of homelessness among our young people.

* Someone you admire: Ghandi and my wife.

* About your family: My wife, Trudy Strewler, is the executive director of CASA in Colorado Springs. Our blended family includes five adult daughters and three grandchildren.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Continuing to build support for the homeless youth population so that we can continue to provide needed programs to move toward a future without any, or very few, homeless youth on the streets of Colorado Springs.

* How your business will change in the next decade: There will be more awareness of the problem at all levels in the community and more support to help with the solution.

* What book are you currently reading? “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? The city government would plan, and build, an infrastructure that would be capable of meeting the needs of all of the citizens in this rapidly growing community.