Aspen Client Spotlight: Jennifer LaBerge and Tall Tales Ranch

This is the first in a series of articles spotlighting the good that clients of Aspen Insurance Agency are doing in our beloved community.  Regular people making extraordinary change for the common good.

Happily retired from a career in the biotech pharmaceutical industry, Jennifer LaBerge today devotes her time and energy to an emerging non-profit named Tall Tales Ranch. A long-time Denver resident who loves the weather and outdoors, Jennifer (like many of us) finds traffic to be one of the things she’d like to change.  Even more important is her passion to change the lack of housing, work, and support for disabled adults.

 

To parents of children with intellectual disabilities, the big question is what happens when they die and are no longer there to care for their adult child.

 

Schweiger Ranch Jumpstarts Tall Tales with a Gift of Land

It’s no secret the vast lands of Colorado consistently provide miles of outdoor entertainment for the state’s adventurous residents. However, there stands one particular patch of land planning to start something magnificent.

Jennifer is one of the many people bursting with excitement at the start of this community, Tall Tales Ranch. Located in Lone Tree CO, on the historic 38-acre Schweiger Ranch, Tall Tales aims to create a place where adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can live and work together in a positive and stable environment.

The land graciously gifted by the Schweiger Ranch will allow Tall Tales to:

  • Build residences and community buildings
  • Have access to the rest of the ranch for growing vegetables
  • Provide therapeutic horseback riding
  • Participate in farmer’s markets

Neurotypical adults, such as community and staff members, will also be invited to live and volunteer at Tall Tales Ranch.

As for the masterminds credited with bringing Tall Tales to life, Pat and Susan Mooney are parents to a 23-year-old son, Ross, who began living with an acquired brain injury at age 14. Ross then quickly became the inspiration for what now has become Tall Tales Ranch.

Living Happily Ever After – Tall Tales Ranch from Brad Conner on Vimeo.

A 15 Year Wait for Colorado Housing of Adult Children
with Disabilities

When the Mooney’s began to investigate the options for Ross, they were shocked to discover the few resources and waiting lists of 15 years or more. They learned that Colorado is in the bottom five of state funding and provisions for this special population of people.

Growing up in a family that has children with developmental or intellectual disabilities is something Jennifer can relate to, thus her passion to volunteer. She grew up with a brother that suffered from brain damage caused by birth trauma.

 

Jennifer recalls watching her parents struggle with the challenges of finding safe housing and steady jobs for their disabled, adult son. The obstacles Jennifer’s parents, and many others, faced in caring for their son are precisely why Tall Tales Ranch was created.

 

Help Tall Tales Ranch Create a Community of Open Doors for Adults Living with Special Needs

Tall Tales is mostly funded thru donations and is the grassroots stage of developing this inclusive and special community. An annual “Hoedown” is the primary Tall Tales fundraiser event. The first year 150 people attended and in 2017 – year number three – more than 450 people attended.  This year the Hoedown will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018.
As the community of Tall Tales begins its journey of establishment in Lone Tree, Jennifer points out the positive impact on the surrounding community.

 

“It provides evidence that [Lone Tree] is reaching out to all different types of people, beyond the traditional bedroom community.  Tall Tales will add character to Lone Tree with amenities like coffee shops, a unique venue for events or weddings, and weave diversity into the fabric of the Lone Tree community.  ”

 

A timeline of three phases Tall Tales plans to initiate can be found on their website, starting from 2017 with building relationships to 2022, when they expect to establish the ranch and all of its business operations. To learn more, donate, or volunteer please visit the Tall Tales Ranch website.  And if you need help with your homeowners, auto, life, or commercial insurance please call Aspen at 303-777-2991 or send an e-mail.

Spring Cleaning and Denver Non-profits: Make Meaning with Your Cleaning

Because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are popular at this time of year. One way to turn spring cleaning into something more meaningful is to donate gently used items or the cash proceeds from a garage sale to your favorite Denver non-profit.

We live in one of the “hottest economies” in the U.S. which makes it easy to forget that there are still families and individuals who struggle to survive.  According the U.S. Dept. Of Agricultural 12.1% of all Coloradans are hungry because they don’t have enough money to buy food.  The 2016 U.S. Census reveals that 11.5% of Coloradans live below the poverty line and that includes 1 in 7 children.

So give a hand up to those less fortunate by making meaning with your spring cleaning!

If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well, keep that to yourself! Unless you want your friends and neighbors to be jealous, that is.)

6 Spring Cleaning Tips

  1. Take It One Room at a Time
    Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.
  2. Follow the Six-Month Rule
    Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.
  3. Don’t Forget the Kitchen
    Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time. And this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything that is no longer edible or that you won’t be eating.  If you have non-perishables, check the date.  If they’re safe to eat, set those aside to donate.
  4. Set Yourself Up for Success
    Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.
  5. Have a Garage Sale and Donate to Your Favorite Denver Charity
    Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to raise money for a Denver non-profit. Talk about a win-win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, someone pays you for it, and then you can help someone else by donating the proceeds to a Denver charity.
  6. Stay Safe So You Can Enjoy Your Results
    Spring is one of the best times of the year in Colorado, so you want to make sure you keep in mind the potential for physical strain and injury.
    When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.

The Denver Rescue Mission – Join Our Drive

You can also bring gently used items to the Aspen Office to participate in our initiative to support The Denver Rescue Mission.  Because of your contributions during first quarter, together we made a huge contribution of gently used items including much needed coats, sweaters, and other cold weather items.

Just bring your items to our office at 2238 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.  We will be taking our next donation in May.

Aspen Community Support: Share Our Good Luck with Others

Cindy Chase Denver Rescue Mission

The “Good Luck” theme of March causes me to reflect on my own good luck.  I have always felt lucky to be a Coloradan.  I’ve spent my entire life living in the state of Colorado and for the past 25 years, I’ve built Aspen Insurance Agency, a business that serves Colorado residents and business owners.

Because of my own good fortune, I feel strongly about giving back to our community.  As an individual and as a business owner, I feel it’s important to give back in ways that helps our community thrive.

 Aspen Supports the Denver Rescue Mission

Each quarter Aspen supports a non-profit.  Denver Rescue Mission is our non-profit for first quarter 2017.  We’re collecting clothes, non-perishable food, and other household items to donate during January through March.  At the end of January we made the first delivery.

The growth of Denver and Colorado has brought opportunity and prosperity for many.  At the same time, it has created challenges for others struggling to make a life for themselves.  That’s why we feel the work of the Denver Rescue Mission is important.

Denver Rescue Mission Helps Homeless People Build a Sustainable Life

In addition to providing emergency services and shelter for the most vulnerable in our community, the Denver Rescue Mission also takes the next step to help homeless people get back on their feet.  They provide many education programs, life skills training, counseling, transitional and permanent housing, with a goal to help people thrive and build a strong foundation for a self-sufficient life.

As an insurance agent, I get a first-hand view into the delight and excitement that my clients feel when they buy their home, or their new car.  I also help many of my clients build and expand their business by providing advice and insurance products that protect their risk and help to insure their success.  This is what I love about my business, the opportunity to participate in my clients’ lives and be of service in a way that helps them thrive.

It’s also why my team and I choose Denver Rescue Mission as our non-profit for this quarter.  If you have gently used items of clothing, non-perishable food, or house hold items, please drop them off at our office.  We will be delivering all collected items at the end of the quarter.

Aspen Insurance Help Our Community Referral Program

Another way to contribute to Denver Rescue Mission is by making a referral to us. We work hard to provide great service and appreciation for your business every day.  As our way of saying thank you, we’ve created the “Aspen Insurance Help Our Community” referral program.  Every time you send a referral to us, we will donate $10.00 to the charity of the Quarter, which is Denver Rescue Mission.

Thank-you for the opportunity to be of service you.  I feel lucky every day to live and work in our great state of Colorado.