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Changing lives, empowering families

May 27, 2010

The College of Applied Human Sciences Community Organizing to Reach Empowerment, or CORE, center, is a local collaborative partnerships to increase teaching and learning, outreach, research, and service opportunities.

Empowerment and self-sufficiency

Diana first stepped into the CORE center at age 4. At the time, she lived in a severely impoverished neighborhood in Northern Colorado. She did not speak English, and her parents did not have high school diplomas.

Today, Diana is not only a high school graduate (the first in her family), she has also received a college degree and is planning to return to CSU to earn a masters in social work.

The CORE Center helped Diana reach “empowerment.” And now, Diana is pursuing an education that will empower her to help others achieve the same self-sufficiency. It’s a remarkable story. And it’s only one of many.

Safe haven

CORE stands for Community Organizing to Reach Empowerment. As in Diana’s case, it’s a welcoming, safe haven for children and families to gather, learn, and gain life skills to help reach empowerment.

Over the last several years, the Center has grown from a double-wide modular to its current home in north Fort Collins. Thanks to a generous gift in kind valued at more than $400,000 from Poudre Valley Health System, the Center is using a former PVHS facility, rent-free.

Expanded space

The expanded space has allowed the Center to grow immensely and offer more services such as after school tutoring programs for children, adult education, support groups, enrichment programs, computer literacy classes (offered in Spanish by the Poudre River Public Library District), and meals through the Food Bank of Larimer County.

“The rent-free space from PVHS has been a phenomenal gift to our families,” explains the Center’s director, Marilyn Thayer. “The downturned economy hurt the most vulnerable people most, families living in poverty. Our families do not come here for a handout.

They want to be part of a community, a safe place, where they can contribute to society. This gift from PVHS – this facility – provides that.”

Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital, is pleased that the space is devoted to the underserved in the community.

“The CORE Center perfectly fits our goals of helping families develop themselves to reach their own greatest potential. We are thrilled to see what the Center has been able to accomplish.”

Offers learning experiences for social work students

The CORE Center also has a new “home” in the School of Social Work. Marilyn feels the closer relationship with the School of Social Work is a perfect match. “It feels like home and offers amazing learning experiences for our social work students.”

Marilyn has even bigger dreams. “I’d love to find scholarships for CORE high school students, so they can attend college. We need an expanded library, an upgraded computer lab, and a secure funding source for ongoing operations. The families themselves will be instrumental in deciding what the Center needs next. It’s their Center to use.”

Originally published it the College of Applied Human Sciences' 2010 Inspirations magazine.