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Giving Day - January 11 - Challenge Aspen

Dear Customers,

As we say good bye to 2018 and step into a new year, I would like to reflect on a year of giving back. Together in 2018, we touched the lives of people in 12 states and gave away $21,666. Thank you for your patronage.

We start the year 2019 with a cause that brings joy to people with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Established in 1995 in Snowmass Village, Colorado, Challenge Aspen has provided access for all abilities to a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities. Co-founders, Houston Cowan and Amanda Boxtel have both experienced life-changing moments that solidified their connection to the adaptive recreation field.

More than 200 volunteers foster, support, and accommodate the physical and emotional needs of disabled guests and safely assist in the operation of the indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities made available by Challenge Aspen. They have three main programs; Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO), Challenge Aspen Recreational, Educational, and Cultural (REC) programs, and Challenge Aspen Custom Adventures.
CAMO programs provide adaptive recreation and wellness experiences for military personnel with service-related disabilities. Challenge Aspen began with 400 participant days in 1995 and has grown to over 3,000 participant days today. Their programs have spread joy and have enhanced the quality of life for people with disabilities.

So we choose Challenge Aspen as the cause for our January Giving Day. Please join us on January 11th to support individuals with disabilities live a more fulfilling life. Shop more to give more.

Thank you for being our customer and believing in us.

Naheed Quaisar
Co-Founder and CEO

World Map

Help us spread the word

For people with cognitive and/or physical disabilities, having adventures and participating in sports sometimes comes with restrictions. Challenge Aspen, a non-profit organization, stands beside people who have cognitive and/or physical disabilities and provides them with the opportunity to experience a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities. It aims at "Making Possibilities for People with Disabilities" and tries to reap as many psychological, social, and health benefits associated with physical activity as possible.

This Giving Day, let’s join hands with Challenge Aspen to enhance the quality of life and redefine limits for individuals living with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Help us spread awareness and raise funds for Challenge Aspen by sharing this page with your friends and family. Please choose the social media button of your choice on the right side of this page to share.

Creating Possibilities For People With Disabilities Since 1995!

Challenge Aspen

Challenge Aspen is dedicated to impacting lives through year-round adaptive experiences for individuals faced with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. It creates life-changing opportunities by encouraging participation in activities designed to redefine limits, recognize abilities, and transfer newfound courage to everyday life.

Challenge Aspen is an organic outgrowth of the individually conceived dreams of co-founders, Houston Cowan and Amanda Boxtel. Both experienced life changing moments that solidified their connection to the adaptive recreation field. For Amanda, it was a ski accident that left her paralyzed.

Houston was first introduced to adaptive recreation through Blind Outdoor Leisure Development (BOLD) as a volunteer guide and instructor. Each utilized their life experiences to formally establish Challenge Aspen in 1995 in Snowmass Village, Colorado. With a dedicated staff and a committed volunteer force, Challenge Aspen has provided access for all abilities to a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities.

Programs offered by Challenge Aspen

Challenge Aspen has three main programs: Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO), Challenge Aspen Recreational, Educational, and Cultural (REC) programs, and Challenge Aspen Custom Adventures.

1. Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO)

CAMO Programs provide adaptive recreation and wellness experiences for military personnel with service-related disabilities. It offers participants the opportunity to reconnect with outdoor recreation activities that can positively affect their outlook and experience of civilian life. In addition to physical activity, each retreat features wellness components including guided breath work, yoga, and sleep therapy sessions. The skills these participants gain throughout CAMO retreats cause a ripple effect on every aspect of a veteran’s civilian life: improved familial relations, improved motivation, decreased stress, anxiety, and depression. Programs are open to veterans and active-duty service members with physical and/or cognitive disabilities as well as their spouses/partners, or caregivers.

Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO)
Challenge Aspen Recreational, Educational, and Cultural (REC) Programs

2. Challenge Aspen Recreational, Educational, and Cultural (REC) Programs

Challenge Aspen Recreational, Educational, Cultural (REC) Programs offer individuals and groups with cognitive and/or physical disabilities diverse opportunities to experience all that the Roaring Fork Valley has to offer. These recreational, educational, and cultural activities are designed to boost confidence and self-esteem while broadening horizons for all ages. REC programs are the foundation of Challenge Aspen. During the winter season, individuals with disabilities can ski or snowboard seven days a week. REC summer programs are a series of camps with a variety of themes and activities, primarily attended by children with disabilities. Challenge Aspen works to ensure that no individual with a disability visiting or living in the Roaring Fork Valley is unable to participate due to financial need by offering participants scholarships for REC programs.

3. Challenge Aspen Custom Adventures

Challenge Aspen Custom Adventures, a recent addition to REC programming, offers customized vacation packages and daily adventures for any individual with a disability or family with an ability challenged member. The possibilities for adventures are unlimited and provide families an opportunity to learn together and develop stronger bonds in a beautiful outdoor setting. Our professional guides, adaptive-trained interns, and volunteers make each adventure unique and fun.

Individuals faced with cognitive and/or physical disabilities perceive a number of psychological, social, and health benefits associated with physical activity involvement. When an individual with a disability is able to experience physical activity, they receive feelings of empowerment, self-efficiency beliefs, and motivation for continued involvement. These behaviors after experiencing physical activity are perceived to enhance the quality of life for those living with a disability.

Achievements to Cherish!

In conjunction with full-time staff, Challenge Aspen utilizes over 150 volunteers annually, who foster, support, and accommodate the physical and emotional needs of our participants. Staff and volunteers safely assist in the operation of the recreational opportunities made available by Challenge Aspen. Volunteering with Challenge Aspen is a life-changing opportunity, and the inspiration that our volunteers take away is undeniable. Challenge Aspen works to operate under transparent policies and procedures, and continues to be recognized by Charity Navigator as a 4-star non-profit, recently earning an overall perfect score for transparency and good governance. Challenge Aspen also received a Platinum seal by GuideStar, the highest level of recognition possible, for continued dedication and commitment to transparency.

Achievements to Cherish

A Military Veterans Opinion of Challenge Aspen

  I was injured in 2004; it took about 18 months to recover from my wounds along with pretty severe depression and PTSD. I have been relatively PTSD symptom free for a long time until about six weeks before the trip. I began to have extreme feelings of violence, not that I would harm myself but someone let us say "DESERVING". I had never had these strong feelings before, they were troubling and deeply embarrassing. In my previous life, I was trained to be extremely violent towards the enemy, to eliminate any threat, etc... Since my injuries, I have never had those thoughts or feelings but I have never forgotten how to be that man. The good husband and father in me was always able to compartmentalize that violent part of my past. I was able before the trip to talk to a few buddies who really helped me put the lid of those feelings. Taking the trip to Aspen with my wife, at that moment for me, solidified that peace I was so desperately needing. I can’t imagine a more peaceful place in the world than fishing in the streams in and around Aspen, Colorado. I loved seeing my wife fish and have fun because fishing has always been my passion although I hadn’t really fly fished before. Now we have a new passion and hobby we share together. I am at complete peace with myself; i.e. my old self. I have CAMO and John to thank for that. I’ve already signed up for Project Healing Waters and been to one session. So I hope to do a lot of fly-fishing in the future. Thanks for everything, it was a trip of a lifetime for both of us.  

Charities We Have Supported in the Past

Asha for Education

Asha for Education is a fully volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the US that started in the summer of 1991. A few students including V.J.P. Srivatsavoy, D. Gupta, and S. Pandey got together to think of ways in which they could play a role in the development of India, the country of their origin. These young people shared the belief that education is a critical requisite and an effective catalyst for social and economic change in India. Basic education became the agenda for the action group that emerged from this gathering. The group was named Asha to represent the hope that had brought these individuals together and the hope that they aimed to bring into the lives of children in India. As a result, Asha was born at the University of California in Berkeley. The organization has more than 1000 active volunteers and several thousand supporters around the world. Till date, Asha has supported more than 400 different projects spread across the length and breadth of India.

Paws Chicago

PAWS founders Paula and Alexis Fasseas’ awareness moment only came after they rescued a stray dog they named Pippen from the Greek island of Crete in June 1996. Pippen would have been poisoned once tourist season ended. The Fasseas family was shocked Greece would treat its animals with such cruelty. Pippen’s story inspired Alexis to help homeless pets back home. As a high school sophomore, Alexis signed up to volunteer at a local animal shelter to fulfill her community service requirement. She was shocked when she learned that instead of saving pets, the shelter was replacing basic medical care with euthanasia. A simple sneeze was a death sentence. Over the next two years, Paula and Alexis saw the terrible story of mass euthanasia of cats and dogs repeatedly.

Women’s Center of Danbury

Since our founding in 1975, the Women’s Center has been a safe haven as the sole provider of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield County areas. Each year, the Center serves over 20,000 individuals from our area communities. Our free and confidential services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Center’s key areas of focus include emergency shelter and support services, couseling and advocacy, crisis intervention, and community education, primary prevention and training. All funds provided to the Center support our critically needed domestic violence, sexual assault and resource services for adults and children in our 13-town service area, including: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington.

HPFY Scholarship 2018

Meet the Winners of 2018 HPFY Scholarship!

Mikaela Thepvongsa and Leah Richter
Mikaela, the winner of our HPFY Disability Scholarship, has proven grit and determination can overcome any disability. She has bilateral profound hearing loss and a vestibular disorder due to a diagnosis of static encephalopathy in early childhood.
Leah, the winner of our HPFY Make a Difference Scholarship, is making a big difference in the lives of countless under privileged children in US and the world. She has over a 1000 volunteer hours in the last two years. Her mission in life is to help homeless children across the world.

The Shade Tree

Since our founding in 1989, The Shade Tree has provided a safe haven to more than 100,000 women and children in crisis from homelessness, human-trafficking, domestic violence and abuse. Our primary service is our 90-day Emergency Shelter program which provides food, shelter, counseling, medical care, job training and compassion to families in need to help them stabilize and regain some independence. Domestic violence and other situations that lead to homelessness impact women and children from all walks of life. That’s why The Shade Tree is here for every woman who needs our services and has the desire to improve her life, become self-sufficient and achieve a level of financial independence to support herself and her family. For every child who stays with us, we strive to provide a variety of educational and recreational opportunities to which they would otherwise not have access.

Shiksha Kendra

Seva Mandir is one of India’s leading development nonprofit organizations. It currently works with 360,000 people across 700 villages of southern Rajasthan, where over 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture and most people live on less than Rs. 20 ($0.35) a day. For over 45 years, Seva Mandir has worked in partnership with these people, not only to improve their material well-being, but to build stronger and more ethical communities. Through its programs on governance, health, education, sustainable use of natural resources, women’s empowerment, youth development, child care and social enterprise, Seva Mandir makes a tangible and transformative impact. Every year, 12,000 disadvantaged children receive a quality education in its schools; 8,000 women and children out of reach of hospitals are offered critical health services; thousands more families achieve food security.

Rise Against Hunger

Everyone on the planet has the right to the nutritious food necessary to live life to their full potential. Since its founding in 1998, Rise Against Hunger - an international hunger relief organization - has grown exponentially, and the ways in which the organization seeks to end hunger continue to evolve. From the implementation of sustainable community development projects to the organization’s meal packaging program that harnesses the passion of local volunteers, Rise Against Hunger strives to make a global impact on hunger by building resilience, self-sufficiency and empowerment among communities worldwide and show the world that it is, in fact, possible to end hunger by the year 2030. Around the world, just over 815 million people lack adequate food. One in nine people go to bed hungry each night.

RMD Pain and Palliative Care

RMD Pain Relief and Palliative Care, is a registered not for profit organization, established in 2005, located in T. Nagar, Chennai and is headed by Dr. Republica Sridhar a Palliative and Geriatric Care Specialist who has over 15 years of experience in caring for the terminally ill. The Trust is based out of Chennai, and has its operations focused primarily in Tamil Nadu, India. The organization provides pain relief and palliative care to terminally ill patients and their families through medical care and counselling. It also aims at providing out/in patient service and home visits, family support and counselling, grief and bereavement support. The beneficiaries of the care are terminally ill & geriatric patients from the economically weaker sections of the society.

Gift of Life Donor Program

Gift of Life Donor Program is the region’s non-profit organ and tissue donor program which serves as the link between those who want to be organ and tissue donors and those who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant at one of the 15 regional transplant hospitals. Serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 44,500 organ transplants since 1974.
There are more than 115,000 men, women and children across the country waiting for heart, kidney, liver, lung, intestinal and pancreas transplants, including more than 5,400 in our region. Tens of thousands of other patients benefit from cornea, tissue and bone grafts each year as a result of individuals saying yes to tissue donation. Despite the many people who do say yes to organ and tissue donation, 20 people die every day waiting for a transplant.

International Women’s Health Coalition

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) advances the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people, particularly adolescent girls, in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. IWHC provides grants, technical assistance, and mentorship to women leaders and women’s rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East that are working to advance women’s and girls’ health and rights at local and regional levels. At the international level, IWHC brings pioneering ideas, evidence, and expertise to the forefront of multilateral negotiations on women’s rights and health, playing an active role in New York City at the United Nations (UN) headquarters, and in Washington, DC. By working closely with women’s organizations around the world, IWHC gains the perspectives of women on the ground and helps make their voices heard in the halls of power at global-level policy negotiations.

Save a Child’s Heart

SACH is an Israeli-based international humanitarian project providing life-saving heart surgeries and follow-up care for children from developing countries. Our mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries, who suffer from congenital heart disease and to create medical centers of competence in these countries. One in every one hundred babies is born with congenital heart disease. Almost one third of them will need surgery during their first 12 months. Without surgery, 20% will die within weeks after birth. Presently, there are more than 1000 children on our waiting list. SACH is a hospital based project whose services are provided in Holon, Israel at the Wolfson Medical Center (WMC) by a team of 70 dedicated experts who, from chief surgeon to physiotherapist, volunteer their time without any payment. SACH has been recognized by the US government, European Union, and United Nations for its achievements. It is the only Israeli medical organization that the Palestinian Authority has a formal partnership with.

Seeing Stars Foundation

The Seeing Stars Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to support research and education on sports related concussion and sports related neurological injuries from the pee wee to the professional level. The Foundation is currently working on a national outreach program to train physicians, athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals in the diagnosis and management of sports related concussion. We are well-informed and concerned about the frequent occurrences of sports concussion, and most importantly the lack of assistance available to young athletes and youth sports organizations. Seeing Stars Foundation is helping to fill this gap to keep young athletes safe and healthy. Seeing Stars was founded by Neurologists with an expertise in sports related neurological issues in an effort to improve the quality of life of athletes of all ages. Our doctors serve as consultants and team physicians for the NFL, NHL, Professional Boxing, the NCAA, United States Tennis Association.

Toys for Tots

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.
The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

Friends of Seva Mandir, Inc. (FSM)

Friends of Seva Mandir, Inc. (FSM) is a 501(C)(3) public charity based in Edison, New Jersey. It is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes, supporting education of rural and tribal children, early child care and development, health, environment conservation, women’s empowerment and building stronger communities in underdeveloped areas of India. We have been registered as a charity since July 27, 2009.

Our activities include making grants to Seva Mandir, a much respected Indian voluntary organization working in South Rajasthan, India. Seva Mandir was founded in 1968 and is currently working in over 600 villages and reaching over 70,000 households.

Massachusetts Task Force 1

Massachusetts Task Force 1 ( MA-TF 1) Urban Search and Rescue Team (US&R) is located in Beverly, Massachusetts. Urban Search and Rescue teams are comprised of Police, Fire, EMS and Civilians (62 total people when deployed) and respond to major disasters under a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Currently there are 150 people on the MA-TF 1 team.

Sponsored by the City of Beverly, Massachusetts, MA-TF 1 maintains the heritage established by the Lexington Minutemen at the onset of the American Revolution: the spirit of cooperation and volunteerism that sustains the vitality of a democratic society as well as the infrastructure of emergency response. As Hurricane Sandy turned into Superstorm Sandy, MA-TF 1 was activated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to stand at the ready as a state asset.

Helena Food Share

Since 1987, Helena Food Share has been providing food to our neighbors in need. At Helena Food Share, it is our mission to serve our neighbors in need by providing food in a respectful and dignified way and by working with others to eliminate hunger in the greater Helena area. Our vision, simply, is to create a hunger-free community. We know that 1 in 7 residents of Helena struggles with hunger. 1 in 5 Helena children don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Families come to the Helena Food Share pantry because they are facing difficult times.
These folks need help while they experience difficulty paying medical bills, struggling with a disability, finding their way through a layoff, or they’re simply doing their best to make ends meet with a low or fixed income. No matter the situation, we are dedicated to serving our customers with dignity and respect.

4 Paws For Ability

In 1995, Karen Shirk was told she was too disabled to receive a service dog. She decided to make sure no one else ever had to hear those words.

4 Paws for Ability is the embodiment of Karen’s vision - a nonprofit organization that breeds, socializes, trains, and places service dogs with children and veterans. Since its inception in 1998, 4 Paws has paired over 1,100 trained service dogs to people living with a variety of disabilities. With a team of 75 employees and over 600 volunteers, 4 Paws now places over 100 dogs per year. 4 Paws dogs (and the humans they love and serve) can be found in almost all 50 statesas well as Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Dogs trained through 4 Paws meet the criteria for ‘service animals’ as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Covenant House

Covenant House New Orleans was founded on the edge of the French Quarter 30 years ago to provide a safe haven for homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth (ages 22 and under). We have provided over 20,000 kids with food, shelter, clothing, medical care, educational and vocational support, individual and family counseling, job readiness and placement, short & long-term housing, life skills, and more.

The vast majority of our youth have endured physical and/or sexual abuse and have also experienced the violence of the streets. Our counselors estimate 85% suffer from some form of traumatic stress disorder. Tulane’s Cowen Institute estimates there are 26,000 at-risk youth in our community. Our first priority is always to reunite our youth with healthy, functional family. For the majority of our kids for whom family is not an option, we give them an educational & vocational assessment and help them find a job that suits their skills.

Soldiers Angel

Soldiers’ Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families and a growing veteran population. Soldiers’ Angels was established in 2003 by the mother of a son who was deployed to Iraq. She began sending care packages to her son and was then asked to not only send more care packages to many more deployed but to also assist with other needs. September 11th was a catalyst that inspired Americans to support the military and help out any way they could. Soldiers’ Angels was created as an opportunity for them to provide that support with care packages, hand-sewn blankets, letters, cards, and other items from ‘home’.

In just 14 years, since this small beginning of sending care packages, Soldiers’ Angels has grown to over 12 Programs with over 100,000 volunteers nationwide. Most of the programs and services offered by Soldiers’ Angels are performed by volunteers who work tirelessly supporting our nation’s veterans, wounded warriors, deployed service members and their families.

Asha for Education

On May 12th, HPFY donated 10% of the day’s sales to ‘Asha for Education’. Asha for Education took roots in 1991 when a group of students including Deepak Gupta, Sandeep Pandey, and VJP Srivatsavoy from the University of Berkeley, CA got together and discussed ways to bring about a socio-economic change in India. The group was formed with a belief that education is a requisite to bring about the much needed socio economic change in India. It was named ‘Asha’, meaning ‘hope’. Since then, Asha for Education has grown via its chapters, and today has more than 65 chapters worldwide.

Asha for Education is a 501(c)(3) organization in the US. Each year, our work touches the lives of several thousands of children across a few hundreds of projects. We have no offices, and 100% of our efforts are driven by unpaid volunteers. All donations are tax deductible, and we have earned a reputation for sending >98% of donations to our projects.

Doug Fluite, Jr. Foundation for Autism

On April 14th, HPFY donated 10% of the day’s sales to ‘Doug Fluite, Jr. Foundation for Autism’. The Flutie Foundation awards grants to individuals and families dealing with the challenges of autism.

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. was established in 1998 by former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie, in honor of their son, Doug, Jr. who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Through their General Grants, Joeys Fund, Allison Keller Technology fund and other programs and initiatives, The Flutie Foundation awards grants to individuals and families dealing with the challenges of autism as well as to the organizations that support them. The grants that they provide give individuals with autism access to much needed educational and other support services, autism specific active lifestyles programs and assistance with transitioning to adult independence. In addition The Flutie Foundation, through their grant programs, awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide direct services such as family support, education, advocacy and recreational opportunities for individuals with autism.


Upcoming Giving Day
Upcoming Giving Day