Hope for the homeless
Dear Editor:When I entered the Aspen Ice Garden on Saturday evening, Oct. 20, I experienced an amazing energy generated by hope, volunteerism and laughter.This was to be a reunion of the Mother Puckers, both retired and current. It was grassroots-community entertainment at its best. Even the refs had fun, even though they wouldnt admit it. Even my friend who really wants the team to change their name but wouldnt say anything so I am for him. The game was great man can they skate. My best memory of the night is of watching a young team member with skates on, huge hockey bag over her shoulder and her son in tow on her way to the locker room. It made me realize what the Mother Puckers are about.The benefactor was The Right Door, an Aspen nonprofit I am the director of. We help people in crisis with drugs and alcohol find the support they need. We are also very active with the Homeless Coalition, a group working to support Pitkin Countys homeless. This is why The Right Door was chosen.I hope to spread my overwhelming gratitude, love and support for this group of women. These women agreed to play this game in support of a very unpopular topic, the homeless.The attention our homeless have received recently has been pretty negative. The Homeless Coalition is working very hard to develop positive solutions to provide options for people in need of support. Most of the people we are working with have lived in the valley for years, and, in most cases, there are legitimate reasons they are in the situation they are in. They work in our community and deserve our support just like I did when I was in crisis. This is a very difficult situation for our community. We have the opportunity to help people avoid being evicted from employee housing and to find housing, receive medical attention desperately needed, develop a winter overnight shelter so nobody freezes to death and a year-round day center program, assist people with finding treatment and assistance for their social, mental health and substance abuse needs.We need to be creative and open minded as the resources available to us are almost nonexistent. The Homeless Coalition and other Pitkin County nonprofit and government agencies are motivated to continue working on this unpopular topic but truly do need you in our corner not against us. If you have an interest, the next Homeless Coalition meeting is Monday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Health & Human Services Building by the hospital.I want to thank my staff, volunteers and board of directors at The Right Door for all of their work putting this event on. Mary Sloop for the idea and follow through to make it happen. Most of all, my deepest appreciation to The Mother Pucker team members young and younger, and to their fans and community members who came and supported the event, even though the topic is a tough one.Brad OsbornAspen
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The city of Aspen’s Next Generation Advisory Board is all but defunct due to a lack of interest and participation.