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Grant ends on a positive note

On Aug. 2, AspenPointe hosted the second ìFrom Ashes to Memories IIî at La Foret Conference and Retreat Center. Karen Hilborn, program manager for AspenPointe, said the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency had given AspenPointe a 12-month grant to offer crisis counseling services to residents affected by the Black Forest fire. The grant ended Aug. 17.AspenPointe is a Medicaid provider that offers a variety of behavioral health services.Hilborn said the crisis counseling services included workshops like ìFrom Ashes to Memories,î school programs for children such as ìIím not scared when Iím preparedî and door-to-door availability of the counselors employed by the grant. She said residents usually talk to the counselors for about 15 minutes at the door; some might show counselors their mitigation efforts and others just talk about the fire.ìThese people (workshop participants) are getting ready to move into new homes, a lot of them,î Hilborn said. ìIt gives them closure.îPeople bring boxes of their recovered items, and often turn them into works of art, Hilborn said. Volunteers from the Bemis School of Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center provided ìcreative guidance,î she said.One participant, Linda Buksar, brought in several pieces from her china cabinet that had melted into interesting formations. She also placed retrieved items on a wood board, which also came from Black Forest, and titled the piece ìChoo-whoo-leaf,î after the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. Items on the wood background included an old train engine, an owl; and a leaf, which she added as her signature. ìWeíre going to put it out for the house warming,î Buksar said. ìBut we wonít call it a warming.î She and Kristin Byrd, a Bemis volunteer, decided to leave the pieces unattached from the board so that guests in her new home could hold the melted sculptures to closely examine them.Although the grant ended in August, people in need of counseling can call Black Forest Together, Crosses for Losses or AspenPointe, Hilborn said. ìTell them (AspenPointe) they live in Black Forest and ask for referrals,î she said. ìThey would be happy to provide. Iíve got that all set up.î

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