Meet our youth! Our youth are amazing, unique, and in need of your help.

Our children are not projects to be fixed, they are people who need love, boundaries, guidance, and exposure to positive experiences and role models. We know that parents are often the most influential adult in a child’s life. But without access to education, resources, and support, they are left to figure things out on their own.

You don’t want parents to feel lost, alone, afraid, guilty, powerless, and stressed out. You want them to feel hopeful, confident, accepted, supported, important and empowered to embrace whatever challenges they face. After all, that is what their children will learn from their example. Our youth deserve to grow up in a community that supports their most important ally – their parents.

These are a few examples of how PEN helps families navigate this crazy world.


Meet Conor

The sign of great parenting is not a child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior.

Andy Smithson

Meet Connor! Connor is a first grade boy living with his two parents and his 3rd grade brother. Connor was adopted because their first pregnancy was too risky. Connor’s parents have learned that parenting is quite a bit harder then they expected! They give to PEN because, like many parents, they are afraid of what’s going to happen during the daunting teenage years! They believe it is never too early to learn what to expect as their children grow. Sometimes their friends say things like, “We’ll deal with that when the time comes.” or “They are too young for us to worry about that stuff.” But Connor’s parents have learned that the way they parent Connor now will impact future interactions. They want to be prepared and have a solid foundation to build from when the stakes are higher.

PEN wants EVERY parent to feel prepared. And when they get stumped, which they inevitably will, we want them to know that we are here for them. PEN relies on the generous hearts of people like you to continue to provide free, or largely reduced prices for our programs. That way, no parent is left alone to handle challenges. Your donation will help us support ALL parents in Boulder County.

Meet Brian

To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today”

Barbara Johnson

Meet Brian! Brian just turned 16 and got caught using marijuana at school. Later his parents learned that he was also using other drugs. They were shocked, and scared that he would hurt himself or become addicted. They give to PEN because they thought they were doing everything right! They realized that even if they did their best, they would need help through the hard times. Over a cup of coffee, they learned about trusted resources, parents who shared similar experiences, and upcoming events around substance use. They also learned they didn’t need to be embarrassed or alone, but they did need to Step Up! They got the support they needed for themselves and the help they needed for Brian. In the end, this experience made their family closer and taught Brian that he had the strength to chose for himself.

Substances effect too many young people.  PEN supports parents so that they can support their children.  We want every parent to have access to the resources they need, especially when they are feeling alone and afraid. We must do all that we can to make a difference in reducing risky behaviors and helping parents when their kids go off the rails. Please support PEN so that we can continue to protect our children.

Meet Ashley

A lie can travel half way around the world, while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Mark Twain

Meet Ashley! Ashley is mortified because someone posted an inappropriate picture on Facebook and said it was her. It wasn’t, but within a day it seemed the whole middle school saw it! By the next day, pictures of other girls had been posted. Ashley’s parents give to PEN because the parent leader (PEN PAL) at that school took action and created a school wide response to address cyberbullying. By working with PEN leadership, administrative staff and counselors, they organized a school assembly and informational parent night. The youth learned the impact of cyberbullying on the victims and the importance of internet safety. The parents learned how to talk to, and protect their children. Without an intervention, incidents like this can have a negative effect on youth for years to come.

Schools do a great job of supporting our children, but they can’t do it alone. Our PEN PALS are trained leaders who have a pulse on the issues facing parens and youth in their unique school. PEN’s non-fiscal partnership with the district, and access to vetted community experts, makes it possible for them to be responsive to issues like this. Please help our efforts to have a trained PEN PAL in EVERY school!

Meet Maria

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

Maya Angelou

Meet Maria! Maria’s family is new to Boulder. Maria is an English as a second language student and her parents speak almost no English. At the beginning of the year, PEN representatives at her school launched their Parent 360 Mentor Program. Daniel, a bilingual parent working with this program, reached out to Maria’s parents. His relationship with them made it easier for them to have their questions answered, feel comfortable going to school, and get help in supporting Maria’s social-emotional and academic success. Daniel gives financially to PEN because he has seen first hand how their programs positively impact the day-to-day lives of families. He also knows his contribution helps them reach parents who may not otherwise get the services they need. Join Daniel so that PEN can continue to have a lasting impact on youth and families throughout this community.

Boulder is becoming increasingly diverse. In order to reach ALL parents, PEN needs funds to be able to provide interpretation and translation at events, offer materials in other languages, and deliver programs and services in our parent’s native language. Help be culturally responsive to our community.

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