Past Charities

Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital (1998)
Make-A-Wish™ (1998)
The Buffalo Creek Crisis Committee (1997)
International Hearing Dogs, Inc. (1997)
Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. (1996)
Gateway Battered Women's Shelter (1996)
Project AngelHeart (1995)
The A.L.I.E. Foundation (1995)
Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital (1998)

Harrison is a low-cost charitable veterinary clinic. They provide low or no cost spay and neuters, check-ups, and so forth to people who qualify financially.

Make-A-Wish™ (1998)

Make-A-Wish™ provides fun experiences for terminally ill children.

The Buffalo Creek Crisis Committee (1997)

The small town of Buffalo Creek has always been a scenic, restful place nestled in the mountains southwest of Denver. However, just a year ago, May 18, 1996, fire burned 12,000 acres of forest land surrounding the community. That, in itself, would have been bad enough, but two months later a flood crashed through the town sweeping away the fire-stripped land and everything on it. Two lives were lost in addition to the destruction of the town's water distribution system, its fire station (including fire/rescue vehicles and equipment), and the town's community center building (built in 1935 by Buffalo Creek's original residents). Even though the town is the primary focus of this effort, a much larger region was actually affected by this calamity. For example, the Buffalo Creek volunteer fire department services a 150 square mile area, including national park land. Hundreds of people come to the area each summer to use the hiking and camping facilities in the national parks there. Schoolchildren visit for nature studies, Lakota Sioux tribal members perform coming of age ceremonies there, and campers, hikers, and nature lovers from around the Rocky Mountain region visit the campgrounds and trails surrounding Buffalo Creek. All of these groups will benefit from the continuing restoration (repairs, replanting, etc.) that is still ongoing. The town has received some assistance in the form of volunteers and financial donations and grants. Much of this aid came while the disaster was still fresh in people's minds and highlighted by the media. Unfortunately, awareness of the problem has fallen off, but the need is as great now as then and a large financial shortfall still exists. While the funds raised at Ben Con 97 will not satisfy all of the community's needs, they will certainly be put to good use and, hopefully, will raise awareness in the community that more is needed to rebuild Buffalo Creek. The people of Buffalo Creek wish to thank everyone at Ben Con for their support. We at Ben Con would like to thank the Community Involved Charter School of Jefferson County for bringing Buffalo Creek to our attention. If you know of a worthwhile organization that could use a little help, please let us know. We rely on word of mouth to augment our own research in selecting groups to sponsor.

International Hearing Dogs, Inc. (1997)

International Hearing Dog's mission is to train dogs to assist persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, with or without multiple disabilities, at no charge to the applicant. The nonprofit organization has trained and placed more than 650 hearing dogs in 42 states and Canada since 1979. Dogs can also be trained to assist deaf/blind individuals, as well as those confined to a wheelchair. . . The cost to train and deliver each hearing dog is $3,000. The only obligation on the part of the recipient is for the care and maintenance of the hearing dog upon placement." Ben Con is very pleased to be raising money for both of these very worthwhile charities this year. Please don't hesitate to contribute whatever you can!

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. (1996)

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. (FSDI) of Lakewood, Colorado has been chosen as one of our charities for Ben Con '96. FSDI rescues dogs from local animal shelters and trains them to assist disabled people in Colorado. The Service Dog greatly reduces or, in some cases, completely eliminates the person's need for a human attendant. Most amazingly, FSDI receives all of its funding from private donations. There is no government funding. This is where you can make a difference! By attending and supporting Ben Con, you'll help FSDI continue to meet this important need in the community.

Training a Service Dog takes six months and it can cost up to $10,000 to train, equip, place, and follow up on a Service Dog for as long as the "team" is together. Even so, Service dogs are provided FREE OF CHARGE to persons that are physically disabled. The dogs are trained to retrieve dropped items, pull a wheelchair, open and close doors, turn lights off and on, bark for alert, assist with transfers from the wheelchair, help with balance and counterbalance, and many more tasks as needed by their disabled owners. A certified Service Dog has the same legal rights as Guide Dogs for the blind and Hearing Dogs for the deaf. To date, FSDI has trained and placed 39 Service Dogs.

A representative from Freedom Service Dogs, Inc. will be on hand at Ben Con for a demonstration and to answer questions you might have about the Service Dogs. For more information write to: Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.; P.O. Box 150217; Lakewood, CO 80215; or call (303) 234-9512.

Gateway Battered Women's Shelter (1996)

Gateway Battered Women's Shelter of Aurora, Colorado has been chosen as one of our charities for Ben Con '96. The Shelter works towards the elimination of personal and societal violence against all women and children by empowerment through education, support service, and by actually promoting social change within the community. The problem of domestic violence is widespread and affects families of all races, religions, and economic lifestyles. It is estimated that half of all families are touched by violence in their homes.

Many women are killed each year by a loved one. The trauma suffered by children who witness family violence can result in their becoming victims and batterers of the next generation. This cycle must be broken. NO ONE should live in fear of abuse in their own home.

The counseling staff at the Shelter helps families explore alternatives to violence in their homes. The Shelter provides women and their children an escape from violence and fear so that they can reflect upon their situation, make decisions, and act upon them. Women are encouraged to pursue whatever alternatives they feel will most effectively meet their needs and provide a lifestyle free of violence, fear, and shame.
Services available to the community and to families affected by domestic abuse:
24 Hour Crisis Line - 343-1851: Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for crisis intervention, understanding, advice, referrals, and information from their highly trained staff. Gateway offers a TDD line for persons with hearing impairment and bi-lingual services for the Spanish speaking population.
Resident Services: Gateway's residential program provides emergency shelter to women and children whose lives are in danger as a result of domestic violence for up to a 30 day period.
Nonresident Services: The nonresident program offers counseling and other support services to victims of domestic violence who do not require emergency shelter.
Criminal Justice Program: This program organizes and coordinates the criminal justice and domestic violence service systems in Aurora and Arapahoe County for a more effective response to domestic violence.
Community Education: Gateway offers films, brochures, and a Speakers Bureau to increase public awareness of domestic violence and the alternatives.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers receive 28 hours of sensitivity and issue training. Opportunities can be found with our crisis line, community education, and in both the resident and nonresident programs. Contact the Shelter for more information
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU'RE BEATEN:
Call 911
Leave to a safe place away from the batterer
If possible, take important legal papers, any money or bank books and clothing
Contact the Shelter or Crisis Line so emergency assistance and referrals can be provided
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU FEEL YOU'RE LOSING CONTROL:
Leave immediately to a place away from your partner until you calm down
Don't drink, drive or take drugs
Do something athletic but nonviolent such as walking, jogging or cycling
Think of positive solutions to the problem
Contact a friend, the Shelter or another support agency for crisis intervention, referrals, and other assistance

Project AngelHeart (1995)

Project AngelHeart provides meals to terminally ill individuals.

The A.L.I.E Foundation (1995)

The A.L.I.E. Foundation (Abducted Lost Innocent Enough) raises money to train bloodhounds for use by police agencies in tracking adbuctees and escapees. The money raised by Ben Con 1995 for the A.L.I.E Foundation was enough to purchase and train ALIE Ben, who is currently assigned in western Wyoming.