AspenPointe raises money for year-round community garden

About 600 people raised nearly $20,000 for an AspenPointe fundraising initiative at its annual “Heroes of Mental Health” event last week.

The money will be used to construct a geodesic dome, which will  allow the nonprofit’s community garden to operate year round, and provide fresh, local produce for the AspenPointe Café throughout the winter months.

Dr. Sara Qualls, the Kraemer Family Professor of Aging at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was named this year’s Hero of Mental Health at the awards luncheon. The award recognizes people in Colorado Springs who champion whole-person wellness and spearhead efforts to curb stigma, while advancing treatment for mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and joblessness. Qualls has been a member of the UCCS faculty since 1984, and is the first Kraemer Family Professor of Aging. She led efforts to establish a doctoral program in geropsychology at UCCS, one of only four programs in the nation.

Previous award winners include Dr. Leanne Hadley, founder and president of First Steps Spiritual Center; Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter; U.S. Army Major Gen. Mark and Carol Graham; and Barry Koch.

AspenPointe is a nonprofit that assists people through behavioral services, counseling and career services, substance abuse treatments, employment education, housing, jail diversion and care management.

AspenPointe got started in Colorado Springs in 1875 when the organization was called the Springs Relief Society. Aspen Pointe currently has 12 organizations that serve more than 30,000 individuals and families annually.