In operation since 1964, the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency lives up to its mantra: a nonprofit designed to “give a hand up, not a hand out” to lower income people for educational opportunities and other assistance that will help them reach their goals.
The agency houses an office in Calhan, Colo., at 450 Colorado Ave.
Christel Lewis of Colorado Springs received funds for education through the agency’s Transition to Independence program. “It was an awesome experience,” Lewis said. “They funded all of my education, but more importantly they were so encouraging. They don’t do it for you, but they are there encouraging you to finish, and sometimes that is what you need.” Lewis received a nursing assistant certification through PPCAA.
Lewis said PPCAA helped her find an identity, something that she said is “hard for moms to do, especially single moms.” Lewis received a nursing assistant certification through PPCAA.
Laura Yassa, director of administrative services, said one PPCAA goal is to work with schools in the Falcon area. For example, the Youth Education Savings program matches money to help “at risk” teens in El Paso County fund higher education opportunities. If a teenager saves $2,000, YES will provide $4,000 for a total of $6,000.
Sometimes the assistance PPCAA provides is immediate, such as replacing a furnace for an elderly Black Forest resident.
Kimberley Brandon, marketing and special projects manager, said residents can help through fundraisers. For more information, visit http://ppcaa.org.
This table shows examples of how PPCAA dollars are spent.
$10 – a Colorado ID for a client
$20 – gas for work, classes or medical appointments
$63 – bus pass for a Transition to Independence client
$75 – a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff for a certified nursing student
$100 – an eye exam and glasses or one month tuition for an at-risk teen
$200 – utilities kept on for 30 days
$250 – one month’s rent to avoid eviction
$500 – tuition for TIP client
$1,000 – matching funds for a small business startup