Read about Fred Tripp, co-founder of the award-winning Concerned Parents of Pueblo.
Concerned Parents of Pueblo deals with youth gangs by providing an incentive program that rewards teens for community service,
good grades and perfect attendance.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work
did/do you do?
I co-founded Concerned Parents of Pueblo. We have, on average, 600 youth in our Youth Incentive Program,
where we reward our youth with incentives. Our youth get one point per hour for doing volunteer services for our community. They also get points for grade point average and perfect attendance. To date, our youth have earned over 300,000 points in the program.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Fred: Concerned Parents of Pueblo, Pueblo, C.O.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Fred: This is a win-win for the whole community. The youth clean yards for our senior citizens, do community cleanups, take off graffiti and do highway cleanups; we do three workshops a year for the youth and the community as a whole.
The workshops are free of charge, and we hit on topics, such as Drugs, Gangs, Teen Pregnancy, STDs and so on.
What inspired you to get involved?
Fred: In 1991 I was lying on the sofa feeling sorry about myself because I was just declared disabled. A friend called me and told me that his son was just about killed by the gangs at
school. We started calling our friends to meet us at the school, and we circled the school with about 400 motorcycles and bikers. We took the city by storm and told them that enough was enough. I met a parent there, and we got together and started Concerned Parents of Pueblo, and the rest is history.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Fred: I became an involved parent; we wanted answers, and we wanted our children to have a safe school to go to.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Fred: I have learned a lot about volunteering; we have had over 7000 youth go through our program. They have earned scholarships to schools; they have gotten jobs; and I have seen the best that the youth can become. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly from our city. I have seen a child that was thrown away go to collage and become a whole person. I can go on and on about what I have seen and learned,
but the youth have touched my heart and this is why I stay involved.
What is/was the hardest part?
Fred: The hardest part is dealing with our elected leaders. They are the most difficult people to try to get anything done.
What was the biggest surprise?
Fred: When a former gang member comes up to me and tells me that I have done what no one else could do, and that he loves me. This was a big surprise.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Fred: This has changed my life and my children’s lives. My own kids give whenever they can. I have become a more complete person. I have learned that positive reinforcement for postive behavior works. Treat people with respect and trust they will live up to the call.
If you want change, you have to be involved at all levels.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Fred: You have to have a cause, and you have to be committed for the long haul. You have to learn from your mistakes and still go forward.
Concerned Parents of Pueblo
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