MISSION

Rise Above Colorado is a drug abuse prevention organization that measurably impacts teen perceptions and attitudes about the risks of substance abuse to help youth make empowered, healthy choices.

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mission

Our vision at Rise Above Colorado is to empower teens to lead a life free of drug abuse.

SUBSTANCE USE RESEARCH

RISE ABOVE COLORADO YOUTH SURVEY ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Despite legalization of marijuana, Rise Above Colorado survey finds teen drug use stable. Research shows Colorado teens have increased access to drugs and alcohol; making substance use prevention education a priority.

Rise Above Colorado’s 2016 Youth Substance Abuse Survey Results Infographic

Download Infographic

WHAT IS RISE ABOVE COLORADO?

RISE ABOVE COLORADO IS A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION EMPOWERING TEENS TO LIVE A LIFE FREE OF DRUG ABUSE.

Rise Above Colorado was created by a dedicated and passionate team from the Colorado Meth Project who are committed to helping teens learn about drug abuse so they can make empowered, positive, smart choices -- to lead the healthy life they deserve.

Rise Above Colorado’s efforts build on the success of the Colorado Meth Project’s “Not Even Once” campaign. Rise Above will maintain focus on methamphetamine abuse along with a new prescription drug initiative and general drug prevention resources in collaboration with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national non-profit organization working to help families solve the problem of teen substance abuse. Utilizing best practices for public awareness and community outreach, Rise Above Colorado shapes teens’ attitudes and perceptions about drugs through proactive education programs, with an ultimate goal of reducing usage patterns.

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OUR WORK

The success the Colorado Meth Project in contributing to the decline of methamphetamine use in Colorado has been based on uniquely deep insight and experience in effectively communicating with teens in a compelling, relatable and accurate way. Rise Above Colorado, with its growing focus on additional drug issues, like prescription drug abuse, will continue to communicate with and educate teens in the same honest way -- ultimately paving a path to a healthy future for Colorado’s teens without the negative influence of drugs.

Rise Above Colorado will take a leadership role in public awareness and outreach campaigns to reduce teen substance abuse using its established infrastructure and existing community partnerships established through the work of the Colorado Meth Project.


PARTNERSHIP

RISE ABOVE COLORADO PARTNERS WITH EXPERTS THAT EXPAND OUR REACH AND CREDIBILITY
Our national affiliation with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids allows Rise Above Colorado to expand our prevention focus with the support of an organization whose singular focus has been to reduce drug abuse among young people for nearly three decades. This alliance will enhance our ability to provide teens, parents, and educators with educational resources and tools to prevent drug abuse among young people.

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RESEARCH

RISE ABOVE COLORADO UNDERSTANDS THE DRUG ISSUES FACING OUR SOCIETY TODAY AND IS COMMITTED TO ONGOING RESEARCH
Rise Above Colorado employs current marketing principles and tactics to understand and reach teens, our target demographic. Our campaigns are based upon the premise of drugs as consumer products, with the objective of "un-selling" these substances by arming teens and young adults with the facts so that they make an educated decision when presented with the opportunity to experiment with drugs. Rise Above Colorado engages with teens in a multitude of settings, through qualitative focus groups during program development, face-to-face interaction in middle and high school classrooms, and the empowerment of teen ambassadors to deliver peer-to-peer messaging through our Teen Advisory Council.

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RESULTS

RISE ABOVE COLORADO IS FOCUSED ON RESULTS
Research shows that if teens understand the risks of using a particular drug, usage declines. Rise Above Colorado communicates with teens in accurate and compelling ways in an effort to influence their attitudes about drug abuse, ultimately leading to decreased use.

As part of our efforts, Rise Above Colorado will use its expertise in public awareness and educational campaigns to support the state of Colorado’s goal to reduce prescription drug abuse by preventing 92,000 Coloradans from misusing prescription opioids by 2016.

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COLORADO METH PROJECT

The Colorado Meth Project is dedicated to reducing Meth use among teens through educational programs, public service messaging, and community outreach. Founded in 2009 by the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, the Colorado Meth Project’s efforts have had measurable impact on young people’s attitudes toward Meth that have contributed to reduced teen Meth use in multiple locations in Colorado. Colorado teens and young adults have come to view Meth as more dangerous and recognize the Colorado Meth Project as a key source of information about the drug.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant that affects the pleasure centers of the brain. It is considered one of the most highly .addictive substances known.

Methamphetamine abuse leads to devastating medical, psychological, and social consequences. Adverse health effects include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, heart damage, malnutrition, and severe dental problems.1

Download 2016 Fact Sheet
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BRAIN & BEHAVIOR

Methamphetamine acts by increasing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which leads to feelings of euphoria followed by a "crash" that often leads to increased use of the drug and eventually to difficulty feeling any pleasure at all, especially from natural rewards.2

Watch 'Brain & Behavior' to see the impact of methamphetamine on the brain. Developed by UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, a leading research institution on the subject of methamphetamine and Eyes of the World Media Group 'Brain & Behavior' provides an inside view of a brain on Meth.


1 Methamphetamine Addiction: Cause for Concern - Hope for the Future. NIDA. 2007.
2 From the Director: Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction. NIDA Research Report Series. Volkow, N.D. 2006.

TEAM

Our team at Rise Above Colorado is made up of a group of dedicated and passionate people who are committed to helping prevent teen drug abuse. Backed by decades of experience with school and community health initiatives, positive youth development efforts and involvement in youth-serving organizations like the Colorado Meth Project, the Rise Above Colorado team has set its sights on helping teens live a life free of drug abuse.

Kent MacLennan is the Executive Director for Rise Above Colorado.
Kent MacLennan is proud to lead the organization into its next phase as the executive director of Rise Above Colorado. As the founding executive director for the Colorado Meth Project, Kent has overseen local public service messaging, public policy, fundraising and community outreach efforts to reduce first-time Meth use. In May 2009, Colorado was the sixth of eight states to adopt the Meth Project (alongside Montana, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Illinois, Hawaii and Georgia), which has been nationally recognized for its extensive research, integrated media campaign and proven results.

Kent has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. He has spent nearly 15 years in the development field for youth-serving and educational organizations, including Young Americans Center for Financial Education, the University of Denver and Up With People. He also has direct experience working with the teenage demographic targeted by the Colorado Meth Project, having taught social studies for two years at Pomona High School in Arvada.

Kent holds a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master of education from the University of Denver.

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Jonathan Judge is the Director of Community Engagement at Rise Above Colorado.
He brings significant curriculum design and program management experience to his role leading the outreach efforts for the organization. As director for the International Towne program at Young Americans Center for Financial Education from 2003-2008, Jonathan led curriculum creation as well as overall program management of a middle-school, hands-on education program in global economics. Moving on to become the program manager for the Colorado Meth Project, Jonathan developed and led the organization’s volunteer network, oversaw statewide outreach to schools and youth serving agencies, and led an initiative to design and pilot a nationally utilized Meth prevention curriculum. Jonathan designs, implements, and monitors the organization’s social media activity and leads large-scale community art projects across Colorado. Jonathan is an alumnus of the Peace Corps and holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Nebraska-Wesleyan, a master’s in international studies from University of Denver, and he always returns his grocery carts.

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Amy Engelman is Director of Educational Engagement for Rise Above Colorado.
Amy’s role is to partner with youth and adult educators to implement science-based and engaging drug-prevention curricular resources across Colorado.

As a community psychologist, Amy has over 12 years of experience with positive youth development, community-school partnerships, and program development and evaluation to support school and community health initiatives. Amy served as a Colorado Department of Education Content Specialist supporting the adoption and implementation of Colorado’s first-ever comprehensive health education standards. She has also facilitated a statewide coalition of youth and adults advocating for positive youth development, which has evolved into the Colorado 9 to 25 Network. Amy’s passion is to support schools and communities in empowering every youth with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to reach their full potential.

Amy holds a doctorate in child, family, school psychology and a master’s in early childhood/special education from the University of Denver.

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Aarika Matney, is a Youth Partner who works closely with the Manager of Community Programs.
Aarika was a part of the former Colorado Meth Project Teen Advisory Council and has now moved into the Youth Partner position at Rise Above Colorado. She is passionate about making a difference and being a leader in her community through strong relationships with other youth and adult partners.

Aarika is in her last year as a student at the University of Denver majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and English.

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Kavitha Kailasam is the Manager of Community Programs for Rise Above Colorado.
Kavi’s role is to work with partner communities in applying Positive Youth Development principles and leveraging statewide collective impact efforts in their local prevention work.

Kavi has worked in various aspects of prevention and community development in Colorado, most recently as the director of the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program, funding community-based organizations working in positive youth development across the state and working closely with various statewide youth initiatives in Colorado, including Colorado 9to25. She has also managed the community initiatives programs for a Colorado based community bank, finding shared vision and creating partnerships with community organizations around the issues of education, wellness, and environment. Prior to that, Kavi spent time in direct prevention services with adolescent girls through a locally based organization in rural India.

Kavi enjoys building capacity and quality to promote opportunities for all youth to thrive. She holds a master of arts in International Administration focusing on global health and humanitarianism, and a bachelor of arts in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Denver.

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Mae Thompson is a Youth Partner who works closely with the Manager of Community Programs.
Mae’s role is to provide youth voice and input through the cultivation of youth adult partnerships. The primary approach that Mae will use to accomplish this is Positive Youth Development.

Mae has been an advocate for youth voice in many difference capacities, most recently she served as the Youth Advisor for Colorado 9to25, which is a movement, centered on the success of young adults across the state. She is passionate about creating environments where young adults feel comfortable to speak up and share their opinions in order to create a more informed community.

Mae is currently a student at the University of Denver and is pursuing International Studies and Strategic Communication.

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BOARD

The Rise Above Colorado board is made up of a group of dedicated and passionate people who are committed to helping teens live a life free of drug abuse. Each of our board members has been involved in the organization since the launch of the Colorado Meth Project in 2008. Our directors bring strong governance to the organization given their longtime support of youth-serving agencies and extensive backgrounds in substance abuse prevention, law enforcement, nonprofit management and legal expertise.

Geoff Blue is the Chairman of the Colorado Meth Project.

Geoff Blue is an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

In 2012 Geoff was the executive director of state government relations for JPMorgan Chase. From 2008-2011 Geoff served as deputy attorney general for legal policy in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Previously, Geoff practiced law with Fairfield and Woods, P.C., as a general commercial litigator.

Geoff received his bachelor of arts degree in politics from Princeton University. From there, he matriculated to Victoria University of Manchester, England, where he earned a master of arts in health care ethics. Finally, Geoff was granted a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1998. During law school, he served as president of the Society of Law, Health and Bioethics.

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Darrick Christopher is on the Board of Directors.

Darrick is the Chief Operating Officer at TalenTrust, a professional services firm specializing in solving Human Capital challenges in growing companies. Darrick enjoys realizing the potential of business services organizations. He specializes in developing and executing strategy for rapid growth, optimizing operational processes, leveraging technology, and assembling strong teams that perform amazing feats of strength and leap tall buildings on a daily basis.

Darrick's experience includes executive operational and strategic roles with EdAssist, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Work Options Group, General Electric and Up with People. Darrick earned a BS in Management from Clarkson University and an MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester in New York.

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Rob Archuleta is on the Board of Directors.

Rob Archuleta has dedicated his life to helping people abstain from substance use and overcome addiction. Rob works as a clinical supervisor at Crossroads Turning Points in Pueblo, a key community partner for Rise Above Colorado.

Rob is also the founder of Addict2Athlete, a program that helps individual overcome substance abuse through exercise and education. In addition to founding his own nonprofit, Rob served on the board for Pueblo Suicide Prevention for two years. He has also served as a volunteer fundraiser for several other agencies such as Boys and Girls Clubs, veteran's programs, and The Ironman Foundation.

Rob, an Ironman triathlete and marathon runner, is a Certified Personal Trainer Crossfit Level 1 Trainer and Certified Insanity Instructor. Rob is also a Chemical Abuse Counselor Level III, Prevention Specialist Level II, Certified Child and Family Investigator, and has a B.S. in Sociology with an emphasis on Criminology.

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Cynthia Coffman is on the Board of Directors.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is a dedicated public servant, attorney and leader. In November 2013, she won statewide election and on January 13, 2015, was sworn in as Colorado’s 38thA Attorney General. Prior to being elected, Ms. Coffman was appointed in 2005 to serve as Chief Deputy of the Office proudly filling the role of chief of staff and chief operating officer for the largest public law firm in the state.

In 2004, Attorney General Coffman had the honor of serving then Colorado Governor, Bill Owens as his Chief Legal Counsel in the State Capitol. She has also served as the Director of Legal & Regulatory Affairs and later Deputy Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment where she gained extensive experience with environmental issues related to air and water quality, hazardous waste regulation, and environmental health in addition to working on statewide bioterrorism and emergency planning efforts, disease control and prevention, maternal and child health programs and hospital and health facility regulation.

She currently is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Commission on the Legal Profession. In September 2012, Law Week Colorado recognized her accomplishments by naming her as the Best Public Sector Lawyer.

A native Missourian, she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked in development for children’s hospitals and pediatric research for several years before completing law school at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

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Michele Slivken is on the Board of Directors.

Michele is the Corporate Controller at Health Fidelity, a data driven technology start-up headquartered in San Mateo, CA that applies natural language processing and analytics to risk adjustment to deliver innovative solutions for healthcare organizations participating in value-based care. She has a passion for working with startup companies, leading Finance and Human Resource functions with an emphasis in process streamlining, financial modeling, regulatory compliance and designing internal controls to safeguard company assets, using technology wherever possible to save time and reduce costs.

Michele’s professional experience includes a background in public accounting including audit and tax roles, fraud examinations, consulting, and has worked for multiple startup companies with both sale and IPO exit strategies. She graduated from Truman State University with a BS in Accounting.

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Gina Tincher is on the Board of Directors.

Gina Tincher is an attorney with Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, LLP.

Her practice involves general commercial litigation as well as environmental cleanup disputes. Before law school, Gina was a narcotics detective in Gainesville, Florida for nearly 14 years. Gina’s previous experience equips her to understand the enormous effects drug use has on young adults and our communities.

Gina earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Florida in 2000, her master of science degree from Florida State University in 2006, and her JD from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 2015.

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Kathleen (Kiki) Traylor, MD on the Board of Directors.

Director, Amgen State Government Affairs

Dr. Kathleen (Kiki) Traylor joined Amgen Global Government Affairs team in 2007. A physician and former Colorado State Senator, Kiki focuses on state legislative issues in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Kiki served through 2006 as a member of the Colorado State Senate, where she sat on the Health and Human Services and Judiciary Committees. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine (M.D. with Honors) and Stanford University (B.A., Human Biology). She has actively treated patients for the past 20 years, practicing primary care pediatrics in private practice, hospital-based primary care, insurance-based managed care, and foster care clinic settings. She is currently affiliated with Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine (Associate Clinical Professor), where she sees patients every week in the Foster Care Clinic.

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TEEN COUNCIL

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Rise Above Colorado staff work closely with our statewide Teen Action Council to further empower young adults in their fight against drug abuse. Representing the geographic and personal diversity of the state, the Teen Action Council works with staff to ensure our messages and resources are relevant, reliable and powerful to teens across Colorado.

Councilmembers are carefully selected through an application and interview process led by past members and staff. Each teen is responsible for leading outreach and educational activities within their community and for representing Rise Above Colorado at community, school and Colorado 9to25 events. Councilmembers also regularly engage their peers through social media creating energy and enthusiasm for the #IRiseAbove movement.

Rise Above is currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 Teen Action Council. Deadline to apply is April 17th.

Download Application OR Apply Online

MEET THE 2016-2017 TEEN COUNCIL

Roll over a TAC member to see how they rise above.

ANDREA MACIAS
Arrupe Jesuit High School

ANNA HORTON-SYMONS
Central High School

APOORVA GUNDU
Peak to Peak Charter School

CAITLIN VICKERS
Kent Academy

COLIN MORRISON
Grand Junction High School

COLLIN HINTZE
Montrose High School

CORA RHODE
Fort Morgan High School

HANNAH EUBANKS
Mesa Ridge High School

ISAAC COLBY
Lewis-Palmer High School

ISAAC FIELD
Ridgeview Classical Schools

JADEN NEWSON
Sterling Middle School

JOON BAANG
Montbello High School

KACEY PERRIGO
Grand Valley High School

MEMO VERDUZCO
Animas High School

NIC JENKINS
Fountain Valley High School

PETER LUBEMBELA
Montbello High School

SARAH SHIVELY
Arapahoe High School

YASMIN SID-AHMED
Denver School of Science & Technology

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RISE ABOVE COLORADO STRATEGIC ALLIANCES

Rise Above Colorado’s Strategic Alliances are comprised of national and state organizations who are at the core of helping Rise Above Colorado reach Colorado’s teens to help them learn about drug abuse, so they can make empowered, positive, smart choices to lead the healthy life they deserve. These strategic alliances are based on the common desire to solve the problem of teen substance abuse. Our collaborative work has allowed us to implement best practices in public awareness campaigns and community education programs.

Rise Above Colorado works closely with strategic partners, community leaders, schools, youth serving organizations and supporters to educate teens and help them choose a life free of drug abuse.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Medicine Abuse Project
Above the Influence
Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children

Donors

Through gifts of $1,000 or more, the following corporations, foundations and individuals help make Rise Above Colorado’s programs possible.

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State & federal leadership

In addition to elected officials who support our efforts in their local communities, we are honored to have the active support of the following state agencies and federal leaders:

OFFICE OF THE COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL
OFFICE OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
OFFICE OF GOVERNOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER
SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET
CONGRESSMAN MIKE COFFMAN
SENATOR CORY GARDNER
CONGRESSMAN JARED POLIS
CONGRESSMAN SCOTT TIPTON

RISE ABOVE COLORADO COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

Rise Above Colorado works with youth-serving agencies, school districts, local law enforcement and community-based nonprofits to develop youth-focused outreach and education programs about drug abuse. Local organizations benefit from utilizing our research-based and teen-tested programs while their engagement enables us to extend our reach into communities across the state.

Rise Above Colorado is able to extend its educational drug abuse campaigns in local communities through active collaborations with the following partners:

13th Judicial Probation
Adams 12 5- Star Schools
Adams County Education Consortium
Addict to Athlete- Pueblo
Advocates for Recovery- Denver
Center for Family Outreach- Fort Collins
The Center- Denver
Civic Canopy
CLEAR-Loveland
CleanWear Fashion
Colorado 9 to 25
Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Colorado
Colorado Consortium to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Colorado Substance Abuse Trend & Response Task Force
Colorado Rural Electric Association
Crossroads Turning Points, Inc- Pueblo
Colorado Youth Matter
Crystal Meth Anonymous- Colorado
Denver Office of Drug Strategy/Denver
RAP
Eagle County Sheriff’s Department
El Paso County School District 11- Colorado Springs
Flobots Fort Morgan Work Force Center
Gamma Gallery
Grand Futures

Hip Hop Congress- Denver
Jefferson County Drug Court
Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Council
Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Programs
Kroenke Sports Charities
Matthews House- Fort Collins
Mesa County Partners- Grand Junction
Mesa County School District 51- Grand Junction
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office
Moffat County Sheriff’s Department
Montezuma County Teen MAZE- Cortez
North Metro Drug Task Force/Adams Co. Youth Initiative Peer Assistance Services
Project Pave
Pueblo Alliance for Healthy Teens
Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office
R.A.G.E.- Loveland and Fort Collins
Pueblo School District 60
Rawh Expressions- Denver
Rocky Mountain Behavioral Health-Canon City
Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center- Denver
Sisters of Color United for Education
Southern Ute Tribe Recreation Center- Ignacio
Weld County Sheriff’s Office- Greeley
Western Colorado Drug Task Force- Grand Junction
Youth & Family Connections- Greeley

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