Our Mission. Our History
In 2002, the Community of Caring Foundation, a Colorado tax-exempt nonprofit incorporated in 1998, opened the doors of the Aspen Mine Center in a former casino building graciously donated by its owners, to provide a “one-stop resource shop” for residents of Southern Teller County and the surrounding area. The Aspen Mine Center, located at 166 E Bennett Ave, now houses nearly a dozen nonprofit service organizations, full or part-time, along with another dozen agencies who pop in from time to time, often on Commodities Day, the last Friday of each month, when the place is really jumping with people and activities. This is collaboration and cooperation at its best.
Community of Caring founder and chairman of the board, Mary Bielz, an art teacher in the local schools for many years, had a dream, which grew into a passion as she was confronted with the extreme and varied needs of her students and their families. In the 1980s she worked with the Salvation Army to help fill those needs, eventually becoming a Salvation Army board member. But the needs kept growing.
People and families needed food, clothes, shoes, coats, a place to live, school supplies, heat, medicine, transportation, and jobs. At first, Bielz brought the national Community of Caring program to her RE-1 school district, with the core values of Respect, Responsibility, Trust, Family, and Caring. Ultimately, Community of Caring’s first major program was the Mountain Alternative School, which opened in 1992. Then she began to raise money for more.
“We began by crushing cans,” she said.
But then the fledgling nonprofit received a large donation from a bequest. With that money and local support, she began planning for a physical one-stop resource center, where people and their needs could be paired with goods and services.
In 2002, she was instrumental in obtaining the present facility, a long-defunct casino, the Aspen Mine. The bigger dream was taking shape. The One-Stop Resource Shop was about to become a reality. In 2012, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary with a week of special events culminating in a 10th Anniversary Gala. Special guests included two of the former casino owners who donated the building to the Community of Caring Foundation. (See Photos on Events page).
The Aspen Mine Center/Community of Caring Foundation has a talented and dedicated staff, which includes Community of Caring founder and Board Chairman Mary Bielz, Executive Director Ted Borden, Financial Services Director Veldean Petri, Client Programs Director Lisa Noble, Client Services Director Angie Trelstad, Family & Adult Advocates Krys Arrick and Stephany Egan, Information Administrator Michelle Allen, Senior Advocacy Manager Nicole Walker, Senior Advocate Shanon Conley, Senior Advocate & Reassurance Caller Dawne Diamond, Food Distribution Specialist Linda Lyons, Medicaid Health Care Coordinator Katelynn Brown, Teller County Job Coach Denise Wilson, Workforce Development Specialist Brent Kennedy. Marketing/External Relations Specialist Terry Smith, Online Developer Lisa McDonald. Receptionist Shantell Pedano and several faithful volunteers round out the staff.
The reception area on the main floor is staffed by Aspen Mine Center Client Services personnel, along with the offices of the Department of Human Services and Veterans Service Officer, and provides a play area, public phone, coffee shop/meeting area, and small library. The second floor houses a Pikes Peak Workforce Center facility, administrative offices, a kitchen and dining room for Wednesday community meals, the Aspen Mine Senior Club, A Willow Bends, and a large conference/classroom. The basement of the AMC includes the food pantry, clothes closet, a shower room and the offices of the Senior Advocates, Health Navigator, Mary Bielz, TESSA, Aspen Pointe, Public Health, The Independence Center and Bristlecone Family Counseling. The rear of the building has donation bins for clothes and small working appliances. The front entrance of the building features a mining display and waterfall.
Come check us out!