Overview of CTC and the local coalition

In August 2016, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment received funding to implement the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention-planning system. Created by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group, the CTC system is an evidence-based program for members of a community to work together to promote positive youth development and prevent youth problem behaviors such as substance abuse and violence. Pueblo CTC’s efforts seek to reduce problem behaviors and promote positive behaviors by addressing root causes (risk and protective factors). From decades of research, risk factors have been shown to increase the chances that youth will become involved in problem behaviors while protective factors have been shown to shield the effects of exposure to risk factors.

CTC has community members and young people involved in our work who provide their skill and passion, as well as real-world experience for addressing the needs of young people. CTC’s efforts are possible with the support of public health, education, health and human services, civic organizations, law enforcement, local businesses, and other concerned citizens. These partners are critical in gathering community assets and resources needed to sustain our prevention efforts now and in the future.

Pueblo CTC & Local Successes

Blue text that reads "Pueblo: Communities that Care" with orange dandelion seed pod Blue text that reads "Pueblo: Communities that Care" with orange dandelion seed pod
vision statement: The Pueblo community strives, through collaborative efforts, to empower youth with opportunities to become healthy, educated, and responsible citizens.

Find out more about the coalition with a year at a glance:

Community Annual Report


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Community Annual Report


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Community Annual Report


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Community Annual Report


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Our Strategies and Community-Level Outcomes

Pueblo's CTC Process

The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment received five years of Communities That Care funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The coalition analyzed local-level data to prioritize risk and protective factors (Academic Failure in Late Elementary School- risk factor, and Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement in the Community- protective factor), to prevent youth substance use.


Coalition members identified potential strategies for community implementation; all strategies were included in a well-researched and evidenced-based Menu of Strategies provided by CDPHE and addressed community-level changes. Based on an extensive local needs assessment around our risk/protective factors, the coalition recommended two community-level strategies to be prioritized.


To mitigate academic failure, CTC is working to increase quality childcare (strategy); to increase prosocial opportunities, CTC is working to make community spaces safe and healthier for young people (strategy). The coalition identified implementation activities, evaluation plans, and funding considerations for each prevention strategy. Implementation plans addressed gaps in community resources or capacity to implement strategies aligned to our community's priority risk and protective factors. The coalition also drafted community-level outcomes to ensure our work can be tracked.


The coalition successfully implemented the first year of the strategies’ implementation plans.


Implementation continued with the strategy teams completing more than 60 activities, and each team completing one of their objectives. In addition, the coalition received a mini-grant from the Colorado Trust to fund a new community mural, assisted in applying for several grants with the City to improve walkability, and completed the grant application for the next five years of CTC funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.


Implementation continued for the third year. There was a total of 60 CTC meetings with an average of nine coalition members attending each meeting which speaks to the high commitment of coalition members. Because of the evidence of community collaboration, strength of the coalition, and affinity of CTC, Pueblo was one of 30 communities in Colorado that was re-funded with another five years of CTC funds from CDPHE.


Implementation continued for the fourth year. There was a total of 49 CTC meetings with an average of nine coalition members attending each meeting. The coalition participated in several skill-building and personal growth opportunities including a training about interpersonal effective communication (i.e., how to have difficult conversations) and equity trainings.


Implementation continued for the fifth year. There was a total of 63 CTC meetings with an average of eight coalition members attending each meeting. To build skills to do CTC work, several coalition members participated in monthly equity, diversity, and inclusion workshops facilitated by the Office of Health Equity from CDPHE; coalition members also participated in an advocacy training and positive youth development training.


Our Long-Term Outcome Goals

Pueblo’s outcome goal for youth health & behavior: By 2030, youth marijuana use will be reduced by 10%.

  • By 2025, CTC will create a cohesive community culture that values education and encourages youth to be engaged academically.
  • By 2025, CTC will foster positive relationships in a safe and healthy community where youth have diverse opportunities for rewarding and meaningful experiences.

Risk factors

Risk factors are aspects at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes

Pueblo CTC’s Risk Factor

Academic failure beginning in late elementary school. Beginning in the late elementary grades, academic failure increases the risk of all five problem behaviors (substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop-out, violence).


Pueblo CTC’s Strategy #1

Build public support for quality childcare early in life.

Protective factors

are aspects connected with a lower chance of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor’s impact. Protective factors may be seen as positive countering events.

Pueblo CTC’s Protective Factor

Opportunities and rewards for prosocial involvement. Having close access to safe spaces in the community is associated with lowered risk of substance abuse.


Pueblo CTC’s Strategy #2

Build public support for creating community spaces for youth.

How We’re Addressing Youth Substance Use

The quality childcare strategy has objectives focused on educating leaders and families on “quality” based on the state quality rating system and, more importantly, extending resources and training opportunities so that more facilities can become quality childcare. The community spaces strategy has objectives focused on making youth spaces and programs more accessible, safer, and incorporating aspects of positive youth development into the community.

Quality childcare strategy team successes/wins since starting implementation in 2019:

With help from the Colorado Health Institute, the team performed an extensive policy scan to identify feasible policy changes with the goal of reallocating existing funds to benefit early childhood.
Team members educated local elected officials on barriers of getting zoned as a childcare home and how this contributed to the current childcare desert.
PDPHE now has a full-time employee dedicated to promoting family-friendly business policies and strengthening local childcare provider systems.
Team members created a county-wide map of all licensed childcare providers. Uniquely, the map has several other pieces of information (what age slots are at the facility, participation in the food program, and curriculum that providers implement) to help parents choose the right fit for them; it’s updated every quarter.
The team contracted with the Colorado Fiscal Institute to research how free childcare would impact Pueblo’s economy.
Eliminated the County zoning fee barrier for childcare homes and centers – Originally it was $700 to get zoned to open a childcare facility, now it is free!
Collaboratively created a Childhood Resource Webpage for all parents and caregivers of young people to locate services, resources, and medical information.

Community spaces strategy team successes/wins since starting implementation in 2019:

The strategy team facilitated and analyzed qualitative and quantitative focus group data from Pueblo youth in 2019 and 2022. Young people were asked where they do (and don’t) hang out in Pueblo County and why.
Strategy team members funded free buses for all Kindergarteners through 12th graders. This multiagency effort was possible by a collaboration between Pueblo Transit, Colorado Youth Detention Continuum, Department of Human Services, and First Presbyterian Church. Since making transit free, we’ve seen a 31% increase in youth ridership on public buses.
Team members surveyed over 60 young people to identify their barriers on biking, boarding, and scooting places in Pueblo. A major identified barrier was lack of equipment to support biking to City Park and were able to advocate for more bike parking near that City facility.
Team members created a workgroup specifically about SoCoYoGo—a program to incentivize youth to participate in prosocial opportunities by rewarding them with local discounts. The workgroup launched the platform in April 2022 and currently has over 115 active users.
Team and YAB took a transit field trip to identify action steps to make the transit system more youth friendly.

Quality Childcare Strategy Team

  • By December 2025, there will be an increase in the accessibility, availability, and affordability of high-quality childcare.
  • By December 2025, there is increased knowledge about safe and healthy childcare environments, as well as an increased utilization of trainings and resources that promote the simple best practices around safe and healthy childcare environments, among Pueblo parents, caregivers, friend, family, and neighbor (FFN) childcare providers, and licensed providers.
  • By 2025, there will be a local ballot proposal regarding the reallocation of existing funds going to early childhood.

Community Spaces Strategy Team

  • By December 2025, there will be changes to the built environment recommended from completed community scans.
  • By December of 2025, there will be a city ordinance(s), law(s) and/or policies which support shared-use routes to increase accessibility and use of youth friendly spaces.
  • By December of 2025, there will be policies which support safe and affordable public transportation for youth.

Annual Strategic Reflection Sessions

The annual strategic reflection session occurs in each team working towards one of the two implemented strategies. During the strategic reflection session, team members first review the team’s objective-specific data trends and engage in discussion around their reactions to this data. The whole team then comes together to reach agreement on how capacity regarding the three objectives has or has not changed, and why. Each team’s reflections are then used in the next monthly meeting to create a data-driven annual action plan.

The annual strategic reflection session has been proved to be the most valuable evaluation tool of strategy team efforts. The strategy teams took the results of this process evaluation to identify priority areas for work in the next year. More so, it provided a way for strategy team members to visualize how their efforts have (or have not) shifted capacity in the context of a big picture scale.

There are local leaders who are already working on building support for quality childcare at Children First, and there are mentors within childcare facilities willing to assist in the training and implementation of quality care in new facilities.

The State of Colorado has created several mass media campaigns that are relevant to CTC issues and provide free resources and technical assistance for the dissemination of these campaigns.

Pueblo County offers several existing community spaces for youth, such as parks and through school, libraries, YMCA, and BGC programming. Additionally, there are several leaders who are champions for building public support for creating more of these youth-centered spaces.

Based off several years of implementing and evaluating efforts, the coalition is pleased to report that:

Looking forward… into the next five years of implementation, the quality childcare strategy will have an emphasis on educating leaders and families on “quality” based on the state quality rating system and, more importantly, extending resources and training opportunities so that more facilities can become quality childcare. The community spaces strategy will focus on creating a space for youth voice in the coalition and incorporating aspects of positive youth development into the coalition and, more broadly, in the community.

Collective Impact

What is “collective impact”?

A data informed collaboration of community passion, potential, and power from diverse stakeholders creating a comprehensive support system for the Pueblo Community.

The 5 Conditions of Collective Impact

Common Agenda
  • Common understanding for the problem
  • Shared vision for change
Shared Measurement
  • Collecting data and measuring results
  • Focus on performance management
  • Shared accountability
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
  • Differentiated approaches
  • Coordination through join plan of action
Continuous Communication
  • Consistent and open communication
  • Focus on building trust
Backbone Support
  • Separate organizations with staff
  • Resources and skills to convene and coordinate participating organizations

Our Partners

Pueblo CTC works closely with nonprofit organizations, local governments, companies, and other organizations to represent the community, and our local young people, at large. Their ideas, expertise, backgrounds, and passions uniquely contribute to the overall effectiveness of the evidence-based strategies and prioritized risk and protective factors. These partners complement each other through community events, coalition-sponsored learning summits, braided funding strategies, data and resource sharing, and through attending collaborative partner meetings.

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) Work

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assesses intercultural competence - the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.

  • Reasons to take the IDI:
  • Build self-awareness and accurately assess individual/group intercultural competence.
  • Provides practical, in-depth info about how an individual/group engages cultural difference in day-to-day interactions with others.
  • Results are actionable - a customized plan guides the individual through a series of activities and reflections that developmentally build intercultural competence.
  • Promotes leadership growth and development rather than judgment and resistance.
  • Rigorously validated to apply across cultures; offered in 17 languages and used worldwide.

“How do we currently integrate EDI into CTC work?”

Transportation – ensuring that the locations we use for meetings and events have multiple avenues of accessible transportation.
Language on documents – Pueblo County is about 50% Hispanic demographics, so ensuring that outreach materials and meeting supplies are translated when appropriate.
Technology for youth advisory board members – all youth advisors are provided technology as necessary due to online meetings, conferences, and projects.
Food provided at meetings – To ensure that everyone is healthy and ready to work, there is drinks and food provided at each meeting.
SoCoYoGo code entries – In the SoCoYoGo Platform, it is possible to earn points by scanning the provided QR codes around the community, or manually enter the code-specific numbers. This ensures that young people can still participate without the need for a smartphone.
Meeting times for youth involvement – The coalition works to hold meetings in the evenings and on Fridays to increase youth participation, as the two local school districts do not have school on Fridays.
Conferences – The coalition strives to support members in attending state-wide conferences, covering expenses, and assisting in coordination, in order to build up member capacity.
Mileage reimbursement – Members are compensated for their mileage when using a personal car for coalition work, as we understand the wear and tear it can do.

Executive Committee & Funding Sustainability

The Pueblo CTC Executive Committee works hard to look “at the big picture” and guide the coalition towards long-term outcomes and goals. The Executive members review the annual coalition health survey to ensure the overall wellbeing of the team, organize on-the-spot collaborative partner meetings when health concerns arise, select and host capacity-building opportunities for coalition and community members, and maintain a strengths-based team approach. In addition to the coalition’s ongoing work, the Executive Committee leads annual reports for the community, which highlights the coalition’s major accomplishments, as well as keeping a pulse on community funding opportunities and active projects.

Becky Medina

Co-Chair of Community Spaces Strategy Team | Chief Operating Officer of Boys & Girls Club of Pueblo County

Becky began her career with Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County in 1994 as a volunteer and became a staff member in 1995. As the Chief Operations Officer, Becky oversees all eight Clubhouse operations, including programming, partnership, and evaluation of the Club’s five core program areas.

In addition to working with BGCPC, she currently is on the Pueblo Mentoring Collaborative Steering Committee, Colorado Department of Education 21st Century Learning Center Advisory Committee and Communities that Care Executive Committee. She has held other roles including the Chair of the Youth Employment Council, member of the Boys & Girls Clubs Professional Association, and Vice President/Newsletter Editor for Southern Colorado Runners Club. She also was the past president for the Pueblo Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and volunteers in numerous other community activities.

Becky earned her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Population Organismic Biology from Colorado University – Boulder.

She believes in BGCPC’s mission for several different reasons. Becky truly believes the Club offers the best experience for youth to grow and develop in a safe, supervised environment. The Club staff are mentors to youth and partners with parents and the community. She believes that every day she receives more than she can ever give and if you truly love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

Angela Shehorn

Chair of Quality Childcare Strategy Team | Director of Children First

Angie Shehorn, Director of the Children First Department of Pueblo Community College which is the home of the Pueblo Early Childhood Council, the Child Care Resource and Referral agency for 11 counties in SE Colorado as well as the Local Coordinating Organization for the Universal Pre-K in 6 of those counties. Her involvement in the early childhood field began with her own children, now grown, and more than 30 years later her passion continues. She works to address challenges facing families through innovative solutions. She holds multiple degrees in early childhood. She serves on the following boards: Kindred Kids Child Advocacy Center (President), Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (President) and the Pueblo Executives Partnering to Invest in Children.

Angela Sillas-Green

Co-Chair of Outreach & YI Workgroup | Owner of Creating Change Counseling & Education

Angela Sillas-Green has background in mental health and prevention education. She has worked with children, adolescents, adults, families, and communities in various settings, including non-profits, schools, private practice, and hospitals. Angela is passionate about social justice, advocacy, and supporting others to be successful. Angela currently offers mental health counseling and training to teens and adults through her business, Creating Change Counseling & Education.

In 2017, Angela became a member of the Pueblo County Communities that Care (CTC). She is the adult chair for the Youth Involvement and Public Relations Committee for the CTC. She also serves the CTC as a Positive Youth Development (PYD) trainer. She continues to be grateful to serve young people and her community.

Lin Chang

Chair of Data Workgroup

Dr. Lin Chang is an accomplished researcher, educator, and administrator with highly developed analytical and managerial skills that spans across positions across the states. For more than 30 years, she has been a research consultant specializing in providing services on survey design, sampling methods, data collection, statistical analysis, program evaluation, and written/oral reporting. She retired from Colorado State University-Pueblo, where she served as the Director of Institutional Research and Analysis from 2000-2013. She was previously the Assessment Director for Pueblo School District No. 60, in addition to her analytical services for private sectors. She taught psychology, measurement, and research methods at Miami University of Ohio. She was among the first to introduce data-mining technology to institutional research in higher education through case-studies and teaching at national forums. She has a B.A. in Educational Psychology from Fu-Jen University in Taiwan, an M.A. in Agency Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Measurement and Quantitative Methods both from Michigan State University.

In her retirement, Lin continued to contribute her expertise as an evaluator for a Substance Abuse Prevention Program through Crossroads Turning Points, Inc. in Pueblo. She volunteered to several community organizations, including the Pueblo Symphony, Communities That Care, League of Women Voters, and the Women's Foundation of Colorado. When needed, she provides translation services to school district students as well as local institutions.

Eva Cosyleon

Chair of SoCoYoGo Committee | MPO Manager

Eva Cosyleon joined the Pueblo Area Council of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in 2020 and in 2022 became the MPO Manager. Before joining the MPO, her knowledge of the multimodal system in Pueblo came from Sunday bike rides with her father through Pueblo’s diverse neighborhoods. The sense of freedom she felt during those rides continued throughout her life living in different cities and countries. These experiences have brought her full circle with the goal to provide safe, connected infrastructure to Pueblo youth and residents. It is because of this goal, that she finds passion in her work with the Communities That Cares Coalition. As the SoCoYoGo chair she strives to make Pueblo’s experiences accessible to all youth through better transportation planning and projects.

Gina Lopez-Ferguson

Director of Place-Based Philanthropy with Caring for Colorado/Packard Fund for Pueblo

Before joining the Caring for Colorado Foundation team, Gina Lopez Ferguson worked as the executive director of TRIO programs at CSU Pueblo and the project director for the TRIO Upward Bound program. Gina brings with her more than 20 years of diverse professional experience in the areas of college access, higher education, and philanthropy/nonprofit sector, including time spent at Colorado State University Pueblo, Pueblo Community College, and El Pomar Foundation.

Gina is also a board-certified Life Coach and is certified to administer the MBTI and True Color assessments. Born and raised in Pueblo, she is passionate about helping to facilitate positive change in the community. Areas of particular interest are social justice, equity, diversity education, college access, k-12 education, mental health and wellness, and poverty and housing. Gina graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and received her master’s in education from the University of Kansas. She is married to her husband of 18 years, Andrew, with whom she shares two sons. Gina loves her fur babies (two dogs, one cat), life coaching, self-care, food, and all activities that help support a mindful and balanced life.

Olivia Leyva

Equity & Engagement Coordinator for PDPHE

Olivia serves as the equity coordinator for the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. She strives to embed equitable practices into grant application, program work, clinical and environment services, internal department processes, and well as community feedback and representation.

Chelsea Pool

Co-Chair of Community Spaces Strategy Team | CYDC Education Interventionist

Chelsea’s experiences as a professional in education include 16 years of working with youth in Pueblo, District 60. She completed the Master of Arts Program in Educational Leadership.

Chelsea has worked with many students who have suffered immeasurable trauma. She has been successful in connecting with and developing strong, positive relationships, while motivating youth to stay in school and work hard. Understanding how trauma affects our youth has been one of her strengths in developing powerful bonds with students; helping them learn to navigate and overcome their academic, emotional, and social hardships.

Moving into her current role as Program Supervisor of Colorado Youth Detention Continuum (CYDC), she has the opportunity to have great impact in the lives of troubled youth, in the justice system. CYDC staff works to provide supports and services to youth in detention and upon release. The goal is to change the trajectory of their lives and assist them in returning to the community safely and successfully.

Co-Chair of Community Spaces Strategy Team | CYDC Coordinator

Co-Chair of Community Spaces Strategy Team | CYDC Education Interventionist

Kelsey raised her two children in Pueblo who both now work in Pueblo City Government. Kelsey enjoys spending time with her granddaughter, skiing and browsing the local antique stores whenever possible.

Kelsey started her career in education as an elementary school teacher and then moved into administration, which led her to an alternative education school. Working with at “risk” youth became her passion as she realized the missteps that continually happen when providing education to so many of our marginalized students.

Kelsey works diligently through CYDC programming to provide evidence-based services and supports to juvenile justice involved youth while reducing secure confinement and maintaining community safety. She was instrumental in developing the local Crossover Legislation plan with Department of Human Services, the Racial and Ethnic Diversity (RED) program that seeks to reduce school citations, the multi-disciplinary team approach to planning in Pueblo: PART (Pueblo Adolescent Review Team), and as a next layer of support: ADAPT (Alternatives to Detention and Placement Team).