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Loveland mother filed for protection order against suspect at least twice before her death

Kari Clark, Alternatives to Violence on Denver 7

We share in the grief and anger of the mother and daughter killed in the recent domestic violence tragedy in Loveland. Watch ATV's Executive Director, Kari Clark, give her commentary on Denver 7's news coverage here


Alternatives to Violence Asks Community to Promote Healthy Relationships Education During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Photo by Khoa Võ from Pexels

North Forty News, January 30, 2022

Teen dating violence is a real issue and comes with serious short and long-term effects. It’s important to help young people learn how to build and recognize healthy relationships to support their development and keep them safe. Studies show one in three young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and most will not report it because they do not want to expose themselves or do not know the laws surrounding domestic violence.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is the perfect time to educate teens about dating abuse. Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is a great resource to champion efforts in schools, workplaces, teen clubs and venues, and even at home – anywhere where there is an opportunity to reach teens.

“Dating violence is preventable, especially if education about healthy relationships starts early,” said ATV Executive Director, Kari Clark. “A teenager experiencing a new relationship might not realize that some of the uncomfortable feelings that are happening are not healthy. We want to help make young people aware of the warning signs.”

Teen dating violence is when one or both partners, in an attempt to control the other, use abusive acts to make that person do what he or she wants. This may involve but is not limited to, physical violence. Teen dating violence can also be verbal, emotional, sexual, or a combination of these.

Signs of abuse in a teen relationship may include:

  • Name-calling; extreme jealousy; threatening to hurt the partner, family, or him/herself
  • Physical violence such as slapping, hair pulling, and/or strangling
  • Unwanted touching; forced sex or sexual acts
  • Verbal discouragement; doesn’t compromise
  • Sets boundaries; doesn’t allow a partner to see friends

Teens that experience dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience depression and anxiety
  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors such as using tobacco, drugs, and/or alcohol
  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors
  • Think about suicide
  • Have increased risk of victimization during college

Those who wish to help educate teens in their community can follow ATV’s Facebook page or contact Marigaye Barnes at for engagement ideas, collateral and partnerships.

Anyone who believes their child is experiencing teen dating violence can call ATV for help at 970-669-5150. ATV provides essential support services to anyone impacted by violence.  This can include advocacy, counseling, information, and referrals to local resources, emergency shelters, and in some cases longer-term housing.  While the majority of clients are victims of domestic violence, ATV also provides services to victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. Learn more about ATV at

Alternatives to Violence was established in 1983 and is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

Season of Giving: Alternatives to Violence offers safety, resources for victims of domestic violence

Housing, case workers and more offered to those escaping violent situations

LOVELAND, CO – Dec. 17, 2021: Kari Clark, executive director of Alternatives to Violence, stands next to a pile of donated items at the Alternatives to Violence safe house Dec. 17, 2021. Clark said that during the holiday season ATV receives large amounts of donations for clients to help them make the holidays feel more normal. (Austin Fleskes / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Loveland Reporter Herald, by Austin Fleskes, December 26, 2021

Alternatives to Violence has spent almost 40 years ensuring a place safe from domestic violence, resources to move forward and a path to better situations.

Kari Clark, executive director, said the ATV safehouse, which has eight bedrooms and 22 beds, is almost always full, providing sanctuary for those trying to escape abusive and dangerous situations.

But the nonprofit offers far more than just housing, giving victims connections to help start the healing process, prepare for a job and move toward a safer future

She said while there are always different personalities or situations of those using ATV’s services, there is always a common thread.

“They are all victims of abuse, so they (tend) to make bonds,” she said. “It’s often like having a 24/7 support group.”

During the holiday season, Clark said, the community comes out in waves to help those in need; donated diapers, clothing and gifts are stacked in the safehouse’s break room, all waiting to be donated to ATV clients.

She said this, as well as making sure to decorate the safehouse during the holidays, helps things feel a little more normal.

“This community is amazing at helping each other,” she said.

What has been the greatest challenge over the last nearly two years brought on by the pandemic when it comes to serving ATV clients?

Unfortunately the stress of stay-at-home orders, remote learning for children, loss of jobs, economic uncertainty and the general fear of catching the virus during the pandemic has increased domestic violence and other violent crime incidents. This has led to an increase in crisis calls and the need for shelter for victims. With the increase in need, Alternatives to Violence staff has worked hard to figure out new approaches to keeping families safely distanced to prevent the spread of disease, and cleaning our shelter has had to be done differently. Alternatives to Violence advocates, case managers and therapists, who typically help victims face-to-face, have had to learn to provide virtual support, which can lessen a personal connection victims need. We have also seen an increase in the severity of the violence against victims, as well as more severe mental health issues. We are lucky to work with partners in the community like Summitstone and the Loveland Police Department to work with victims to get the help they need.

What is one thing your organization is looking forward to offering in 2022?

We are so excited to have acquired a new facility which will house our administrative offices, meeting space and a dedicated room for support groups for adults and children. This also means we will be able to expand our Safehouse by three to four more rooms and 10 to 12 more beds. We also plan to expand our youth services to offer more support groups of young people who have been exposed to domestic violence in their homes and to educate youth in the Thompson School District further on teen dating violence and sex trafficking prevention.

How does ATV help better the entire Loveland community?

Our vision statement says it best: Alternatives to Violence envisions a safe community free from domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Although we strive to be put out of business because we would no longer be needed, we know that is a far reaching goal. However, in the meantime we will work our hardest to make Loveland the safest community we can by educating the community on interpersonal violence and prevention, while offering safety, advocacy and resources to those who are survivors.

Colorado State says domestic violence reports increased nearly six-fold during COVID pandemic

Fort Collins Coloradoan, by Molly Bohannon, November 29, 2021

In 2020, crimes on Colorado State University's Fort Collins campus decreased by 20%, something the CSU police department said was likely due to fewer students frequenting campus for much of the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But despite the decrease in overall crime, domestic violence crimes increased drastically, rising from just three reported incidents in 2019 to 17 reported in 2020, according to the university’s federally mandated Annual Fire and Safety Report, also known as the Clery Report. 

No other category of crime saw an increase during the pandemic year.

An increase in domestic violence was a trend across the nation throughout the pandemic. College campuses, where students are among the most at-risk populations to experience intimate partner violence, were no exception. 

“We're still figuring out what happened during lockdown for folks in domestically violent relationships,” said Casey Malsam, assistant director of victim services at CSU’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center. “But what we know is that across the country, in higher ed, just in general, dating and domestic violence really skyrocketed.” 

Malsam said that the Clery Report doesn't encompass all domestic violence on campus as many incidents go unreported, and added that anecdotally her office received more domestic violence calls during the pandemic than it had in previous years. The report also doesn't account for incidents reported off campus, where the majority of CSU students live.

“Usually sexual assault is what we see more often. Last year, that flipped and we saw more relationship violence than sexual assault,” Malsam said. 

In total, she said the number of calls received by the center decreased in the early months of COVID-19, potentially due to people being unable to reach out, but "numbers this year are definitely back up because people are starting to process through what happened last year."

The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that receive federal funding to publish annual reports documenting crimes that occur on campus. 

Clery defines domestic violence as felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or partner, person with whom the victim shares a child, person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or partner, person "similarly situated to a spouse of the victim," or any person protected under area domestic or family violence laws.

However, because of inconsistencies in categorizing Violence Against Women Act Crimes within CSU, some instances that the Clery Report would define as dating violence were included in this year’s count. Dating violence is “committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the impacted party,” according to Clery. 

CSU spokesperson Dell Rae Ciaravola told the Coloradoan that while a mistake was made in the university's reporting, the numbers are still valid in quantifying instances of intimate partner violence reported on campus. 

“The choice to group the numbers together was not wrong from the standpoint of Colorado law, which defines only intimate relationships. It does not differentiate between dating violence and marriage/domestic violence,” Ciaravola said.

“However, we acknowledge that there was inconsistency in how the numbers were counted across all offices, and we’ll work to streamline how information is gathered in the future.”

Ciaravola said there were seven instances of domestic violence that should have been counted as dating violence. If that were the case, domestic violence still would have increased from three reported incidents in 2019 to 10 in 2020, and a second category — dating violence —incidents would have risen from 15 reported incidents to 22. 

The report does not encompass all crimes committed by CSU students or faculty. Rather, it is geography-based, meaning incidents are included if they happened within “Clery geography,” regardless of who was involved. 

For CSU, that geography includes on-campus property, public property like sidewalks and parking facilities within a campus or “immediately adjacent to and accessible from a campus” and all other property that the university owns or controls, “including buildings or property owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by CSU.”

According to CSU, more than 5,000 students — including nearly all freshmen — live in campus housing. 

In 2020, 16 of the 17 reported domestic violence incidents were classified as “on-campus residential," and all occurred on campus.

Mari Strombom, executive director of housing and dining services, said in order to live in a CSU residence hall, one must be an enrolled student; in campus apartments, 75% of residents are students and those who are not are most often relatives of students, she said.

Pandemic conditions added ‘fuel to the fire’ in violent relationships

Malsam named three likely factors that led to the increase in reported domestic violence incidents last year: People spent more time in their homes and with their partners; people had fewer opportunities to get space from the person they were quarantined with; and people suffered a general decline in mental health and had added stressors as a result of the pandemic.

These factors were likely to impact people at any age in a domestically violent relationship, Malsam said, not just college-aged students. A survey from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that 83.7% of professionals in the field believed there was an increase in domestic violence because of COVID-19. 

“People were having financial insecurities, housing insecurities, and the presence or increase in any of those factors will increase an abuser’s rate of violence,” Malsam said. “So I think that all of those things combined really impact the rate of domestic violence that we saw last year.”

But even without the additional factors in place last year that increased the risk of domestic violence, college-aged people “are the most at-risk age group for experiencing intimate partner violence,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

Naida Henao, managing counsel for strategic advocacy and communications at the Network for Victim Recovery of Washington, D.C., said that not only are college-aged people at high risk for dating violence, but they are more vulnerable to negative effects of victimization. 

“The added weight of the victimization can be very difficult, because they don't have that sense of comfort and familiarity that they would have during primary or secondary schools,” Henao said.

Kari Clark, executive director of Alternatives to Violence, one of the few domestic violence resources in Larimer County, said students may also be coming in under a common assumption that “domestic violence is between married couples in their home.”

“What people don't realize is dating violence is very common — very, very common — amongst high school and college-aged children,” she said.

While Clark believes “abusers are abusers, the adolescent brain can make it worse.” She said that college students in relationships may think “this is the first time I've been away from home, the first time a partner is paying attention to me.”

“We want to be loved, so we don't realize that what these people are doing to us is not normal,” Clark said. 

Her organization received double the amount of calls between June 2020 and March 2021 than it would in a typical year, and Clark attributed that increase to much of the same factors as Malsam.  

Crossroads Safehouse, a domestic violence shelter for women in Fort Collins, saw its crisis calls increase by 50% in 2020, according to Executive Director Pam Jones, who cited similar reasons to Malsam and Clark.

“We knew that people being isolated with their partners, whether married or in an intimate partner relationship, that that’s only going to foster the propensity for violence,” Clark said, adding that proximity wouldn’t cause violence but would make it far more common. Along with proximity, she said the stresses that came with COVID-19 escalated already bad situations.

“Being home and doing classes remote and the stress of that, along with the stress of being in close proximity (to an abusive partner) is just fuel to the fire for domestic violence,” Clark said.

What is being done at CSU to stop the rise in domestic violence?

The Women and Gender Advocacy Center didn’t increase programming in response to the rise or make major programmatic shifts, Malsam said. Rather, it's working to get back to pre-pandemic levels of service. 

All new students and employees are required to complete training that reviews definitions and issues associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and dating violence. But in the 2020-21 school year, there was only so much that could be conveyed remotely. 

“The engagement is different online,” Malsam said. “There were a lot of presentations that I did last year where everyone had their camera off, all of their speakers were muted the whole time, so it doesn't foster a conversation.”

In 2019, Malsam’s office had 147 prevention and awareness campaigns or presentations that reached 8,588 people, according to the Clery Report. In 2020, the number of people reached dropped by more than 80% to 1,384, despite just 10 fewer programs happening.

“Now we're moving back into those in-person things, I think we'll start to see that education paying off again,” Malsam said. 

The Women and Gender Advocacy Center offers crisis intervention and confidential advocacy to victims, which can range from going with someone to report a crime or accompanying a survivor to medical treatment. Malsam said it can also connect students with counseling and offer academic support to students whose trauma is impacting their school work. 

“Really, if it's impacting their trauma, we are happy to have a conversation with anyone about how to make that easier for them,” Malsam said. 

The center also works with and refers students to outside organizations, like the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center and Crossroads Safehouse, nearby organizations for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors that can also provide service to those who may not feel comfortable using resources on campus. 

Jones, who works at Crossroads Safehouse, said one of the best things campuses can do to address domestic violence is simply to increase awareness that it exists. 

"Domestic violence needs a lot of illuminating and intentional messaging and communication around what it is and how to help," Jones said. "The more we can share about what it is and how to identify it and how to help the people that you love ... the better we will be at bringing people to the services that do exist."

And while the increase in domestic violence incidents on CSU’s campus was of note, Malsam said she believes it was largely situational and, by this time next year, they will be talking about different issues.

“We're seeing an increase in sexual assaults on campus now … and that's the conversation across the board, I don't think it's a CSU-specific thing,” Malsam said. “So if we were to have this conversation again next year, I think it would be about sexual assault.”

“One of the symptoms of the pandemic is we are going to see increased violence between people for the next couple of years as people try to figure out what this new normal is as the stress of living in an unprecedented time."


It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Non-profit Shares How to Get Involved

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and while domestic violence occurs in our community year-round, this month serves as an additional reminder of how we can support victims.

Alternatives to Violence (ATV), a local non-profit that provides shelter, advocacy, resources, and more to domestic violence victims, has a variety of ways for Northern Coloradans to get involved.

"Domestic violence thrives in silence," said Kari Clark, Executive Director of ATV, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "To be able to support and help victims and survivors and to prevent domestic violence in the future, we all, everybody in the community, need to talk about it."

On Wednesday (Oct. 13), the organization is hosting Domestic Violence: Shining a Light in Our Community, an event designed to educate attendees about how to recognize domestic violence situations — and about how to help someone facing one. Guests can attend in person at Realities for Children (308 E County Rd. 30, Fort Collins) or via Zoom.

During the last week of October, ATV is encouraging the public to don purple, the color of domestic violence awareness, and post photos to social media tagged with #ATVDVAM2021. The non-profit is also always open to volunteers and donations.

Along with attending events and spreading awareness, one of the best ways to get involved is simply by learning about the issue at hand.

"I just appreciate anybody finding out what they can. Somebody you know is a victim of domestic violence, so the more information you have, the best you can help," said Clark. "One in four women and one in seven men are currently victims of violence. Let's work our way that we can to get people out of those situations."

Learn more about Domestic Violence Awareness Month by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Kari Clark here.


October marks domestic violence awareness month

The Alternatives to Violence staff is shown decked out in purple, the color that symbolizes domestic violence. Courtesy Alternatives to Violence

Biz West, by Bernie Simon, October 1, 2021

LOVELAND — Alternatives to Violence will host a series of events throughout October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to raise awareness and encourage people to join in the effort to stop domestic violence.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m., a “Paws and Reflect” event will occur at Foote Lagoon at the Loveland Civic Center. Pets in costume or wearing purple — the color symbolizing domestic violence — will be paraded around the lagoon. Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh will mark October as domestic violence awareness month in Loveland.

“Pets are a big reason why domestic violence victims do not initially leave an abusive partner. Many shelters may not take pets, so victims are hesitant to leave pets behind out of fear that they will be abused,” Alternatives to Violence outreach coordinator Marigaye Barnes said in a press statement.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., an in-person and virtual event called Domestic Violence: Shining a Light in Our Community, will occur. Content of the event will include a description of domestic violence and how to recognize it, followed by a domestic violence survivor who will share personal experiences to shed light on the realities of an abusive relationship. The event will end with advocates from Alternatives to Violence who will answer questions from members of the community interested in learning how to identify or help someone who may be in a domestic violence situation. The in-person version of this event will take place at Realities for Children, 308 E. County Road 30, Fort Collins.

The week of Oct. 25-29, people are asked to participate in a “Don Your Purple Social Media Event.” 

Facebook users will be asked to wear purple and share photos on either their personal Facebook pages or on ATV’s Facebook page using the hashtag #ATVDVAM2021.

October was first declared Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. Since then, October has been a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and generate awareness on identifying and preventing domestic abuse. 

“Awareness is crucial because domestic violence is a serious social problem and dangerous crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, or education. The consequences of domestic violence can affect more than just the victim, and the mental effects can last a lifetime,” ATV said in a statement.

For information about ATV, or to donate, visit

Alternatives to Violence kicks off domestic violence awareness month with weekend pet parade

Awareness month schedule include virtual and in-person event

Loveland Reporter Herald, by Austin Fleskes, September 30, 2021

Alternatives to Violence will hold a a pet parade this weekend, the first of several scheduled events for a month of domestic violence awareness.

Alternatives to Violence, a local nonprofit, has worked since 1982 to provide shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking

According to a release from the organization with the “significant increase” in domestic violence cases during the pandemic, ATV will be host events throughout October to raise awareness and encourage the community to join in the effort to stop domestic violence. Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been observed in October since 1989.

Kari Clark, executive director for ATV, said that while the nonprofit usually doesn’t do a long list of events for the month, its community outreach committee was able to plan out several events this year.

“We wanted to make some fun things but have everything hold a sense of information as well, because that is what this month is about,” she said.

The first event, titled Paws and Reflect, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. The event, which is open to the community, will feature a parade of pets in purple, the color that symbolizes domestic violence, or in costume. The parade will start at the Loveland Public Library parking lot at 11 a.m. and will proceed around Foote Lagoon to the amphitheater, where Mayor Jacki Marsh will dedicate October to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Pets are a big reason why domestic violence victims do not initially leave an abusive partner,” said Marigaye Barnes, ATV outreach coordinator, in the release. “Many shelters may not take pets, so victims are hesitant to leave pets behind out of fear that they will be abused.”

ATV is working to get a grant that could allow the nonprofit to partner with a shelter to have kennels reserved 24/7 for pets in need, Clark said.

ATV will hold two other events. On the evening of Oct. 13 the organization will hold an in-person event to hear from domestic violence specialists and survivors. The simultaneous in-person and virtual event, titled Domestic Violence: Shining a Light in our Community, will include a brief description of domestic violence and how to recognize it, followed by a domestic violence survivor who will share their personal experience and end with a panel of advocates from ATV to answer public questions.

This event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 13 at Realities for Children, 308 E. County Road 30 in Fort Collins.

Finally, during the week of Oct. 25-29 ATV will be hosting a Don Your Purple social media event, asking Facebook users to wear purple and share photos on either their personal Facebook page or on ATV’s page using the hashtag #ATVDVAM2021.

Clark said it is incredibly important to hold events and recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month so that the community can know where to go and that, despite what some victims of domestic abuse think, they are not at fault for the abuse.

“We want to make sure the community knows that is not the case, and if you are in an abusive relationship … that there are ways to get help and get out of it,” she said. “It is not your fault.”

More information on ATV can be found at More information on the events can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

Pastels on Fifth sees 11th year of eye-catching street art in return to form event

Event mirrored previous years with lessened COVID-19 related restrictions

LOVELAND, CO – Sept. 11, 2021: Loveland artists Dion Weichers works on his sidewalk square on the southwestern corner of Lincoln Avenue and Fifth Street during the Pastels on Fifth event Sept. 11, 2021. Weichers said he has done the event every year it has run and he always looks forward to getting to come back out to make more art. (Austin Fleskes / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Loveland Reporter Herald, by Austin Fleskes, September 11, 2021

Artists, vendors and community members once again took to Fifth Street Saturday as the long-running Pastels on Fifth event returned for another year with a stronger return to form.

The event celebrated its 11th year of bringing together artists and community members to enjoy art and help raise money for Alternatives to Violence, the local victim’s rights advocacy non-profit, throughout Saturday as artists got to work creating beautiful street art.

“It’s so exciting to see the event back in full,” said event coordinator Vicky Paul-Bryant.

“Just being able to have such a great community event while things have been closed off (is great),” said Kari Clark, executive director for Alternatives to Violence.

While the event was held during 2020, it had to be pulled back and changed as questions still raged around the pandemic; this included fewer artists, spaced out artists and separating artists and community to try and keep people as spaced out as possible.

But the greater understanding of the pandemic in 2021 allowed the event to return to normalcy, albeit with more masks than in years past.

Amanda Waddell, co-coordinator for the event, said that as of around 10:30 a.m. everything was moving smoothly and artists were hard at work. She said while she arrived at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning, she knew some artists arrived and started even before she set up.

Loveland artist Dion Weichers said that he showed up at his sidewalk section on the southwestern corner of Lincoln Avenue and Fifth Street around 8 a.m. to get started on his piece for Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project. He said that he has been part of the event since it started in 2010.

“I just love it,” he said. “I look forward to it every year.”

He said that the event is a great way to get the community out to enjoy the art for a good cause.

“To have the community embrace that and block off two blocks, it’s a great thing,” Weichers said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Phoenix artist Mercedes McCluskey said that she came out to the Loveland event to show off her art as well as visit with family.

“It’s fun being around a bunch of artists and seeing all the styles,” she said. “It’s a very peaceful environment.”

Fort Collins artist Nicole Cluster said she has also been part of the event for the last 11 years. Much like Weichers, she said it is an event that she looks forward to every year.

“I love having the experience to be out with other people,” she added.

While the artists got down and artsy early Saturday morning, community members began to file in right at 10 a.m. to see the work in action.

The Gaona family came out Saturday morning to see the artwork. Damien Gaona said they heard about it on Facebook and thought it would be something cool to come and see.

Shirley Gaona, Damien’s mother, said she liked see the artwork being created and was looking forward to “coming back to see it (finished) later.”

Loveland resident Kiley Barrett and her three daughters, who have come to the event before, saw it was coming back once again and decided to stop back.

“The girls love art, so we love seeing the creativity,” she said.

Waddell said the event is a great way to bring out artists and community to help a cause like that of Alternatives to Violence. She added that the need to support ATV is always important, especially after the pandemic brought on more stressors for those suffering from domestic violence.

“Being able to write ATV a check for what they need is the most important thing,” Waddell said.

Clark said the event allows the group to get their message out and let people know they are there to help for those in need.

“You cannot help victims of violence if they don’t know where to go,” she said.

Paul-Bryant said the Pastels on Fifth has become an impactful, positive event for all of Loveland, bringing together artists to show off their skills, community members who can enjoy the art together and for Alternatives to Violence to further spread their message.

“It has become a Loveland tradition,” Paul-Bryant said. “It really is a win-win-win.”

Those unable to come out Saturday can still enjoy the artwork along the stretch of Fifth Street after the event ends. Paul-Bryant also said the people’s choice award can be voted on until Sept. 19. More information can be found at

Pastels on 5th turns concrete to canvas on Saturday in Loveland

Over 130 artists will transform sidewalks into brilliant works of chalk art

Misty Johnson works on a square for Origins Wine Bar and Wood Fired Pizza at Pastels on 5th in 2020. Pastels on 5th will return for its 11th year on Saturday, on 5th Street, adjacent to the Loveland Museum. (Pastels on 5th/Courtesy photo)

Boulder Daily Camera, By , September 8, 2021

Pastels on 5th — an all-day chalk art festival — returns to downtown Loveland Saturday with over 130 creatives transforming ordinary ground into an open-air gallery. The event will take place on 5th Street, adjacent to Loveland Museum.

Vicky Paul-Bryant, Pastels on 5th event director and one of the festival’s founders, said the event was modeled after a similar one in her hometown of Arcata, California.

“It was a long-running and popular event there and we hoped it would catch on in the same way here,” Paul-Bryant said. “I did not envision just how quickly it would grow, how many artists would want to be involved or how the community and sponsors would embrace it.”

Throughout its evolution, the event, now in its 11th year, has showcased the intricate work of regional creatives and provided significant funding for a local nonprofit.

“The most rewarding aspect of raising funds for Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is knowing just how important their services are to this community,” Paul-Bryant said. “Growing up, my life was significantly impacted by domestic violence. There were no safe houses back when my mom and I had to move to a new state, change our names and start over with the courageous support of family and friends.”

Determined to craft a family-friendly event showcasing talented artists while also helping a cause close to her heart, Paul-Bryant got to work planning and recruiting.

“When we started Pastels on 5th, ATV was raising funds to open a domestic violence shelter in Loveland,” Paul-Bryant said. “That’s when former ATV board member Marcia Moellenberg and I decided to try the sidewalk chalk art festival as a benefit event. We saw it as a good way to bring the community together, draw attention to the topic of domestic violence and raise funds for the safe house.”

The inaugural festival featured 65 participating artists and sponsors. Over $10,000 was raised the first year for ATV.

“So many of the people involved with the event have told me how domestic violence impacted their life and how much they appreciate being part of such a fun event for such an important cause,” Paul-Bryant said.

In 2018, Pastels on 5th drew over 3,000 spectators eager to watch 140 artists transform sidewalks into eye-catching works of art. Over $50,000 was raised for ATV.

While certain artists return year after year, the event also welcomes fresh work from festival newbies.

“I am really looking forward to transforming my love of pastels on a much smaller scale of paper into a larger format,” said first-time participant Jenn Hall, who teaches art, computer graphics and robotics at Loveland High School. “It is a little intimidating — I must admit — but I am really looking forward to collaborating with some students of mine that have a real passion for art. I want to show them that there are many ways to create beauty through art and share it with their community in this exciting event.”

Hall’s award-winning work continues to catch the eye of collectors and one of her pieces is owned by Frederick Mayor Tracie Crites.

“I knew art would be a part of my career path when I walked into the art department of CSU,” Hall said. “I fell in love with the idea of making a career out of doing the one thing I loved all my life. I recall very vividly calling my dad from a payphone super ecstatic that I am going to be an artist, he paused and said, ‘Great, now figure out how you can make money doing that’ and hung up on me. Needless to say, I was a graphic artist for years and loved every minute of it.”

For Hall and other participating artists, there are no rigid rules when it comes to using concrete as canvas.

“Artists are given free rein to design their art square,” Paul-Bryant said. “We only ask that the artwork be family-friendly and not political. Many of them wait to see who their sponsor is and relate their artwork to their sponsor if possible or they reach out to their sponsor to see if the sponsor has any thoughts on the artwork.”

While the fundraiser is dedicated to helping the mission of ATV, a selection of participants are also awarded generously.

Cash prizes — sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama — are $300 for the first place winner, $150 for second place, $100 for third place and $50 for the Young Artist Award.

“We also have People’s Choice awards — a super popular feature of our event where festival spectators vote for their favorite works of art,” Paul-Bryant said. “Each vote costs $1 and you can vote as many times as you like for however many artists as you want. Voting is available at the People’s Choice booth at the festival or online.”

A gallery of artwork will be posted on and voting will stay open until Sunday, Sept. 19 at 5 p.m.

All the money from votes will go to ATV.

Saturday’s offerings also include live music from local bands and a marketplace featuring food, jewelry, pottery, paintings, soaps, lotions and more.

There’s also a children’s area where kids can craft their very own chalk art.

“I’m thrilled at the success of the event,” Paul-Bryant said.

Pastels on 5th poised to return to downtown Loveland on Sept. 11

Loveland Reporter Herald, September 1, 2021 by Max Levy

Pastels on 5th will return to beautify downtown Loveland’s sidewalks and benefit Loveland-based domestic abuse shelter Alternatives to Violence on Sept. 11.

Now in its 11th year, the annual festival of chalk art is expected to draw about 140 artists as well as the public for a day of live music, vendors and the transformation of Loveland’s Fifth Street into a colorful horizontal gallery.

Co-coordinator Amanda Waddell said the event is happening during a “catch-up” year for Alternatives to Violence, with the shelter hoping to raise funds to offset the disruption caused by COVID-19 as well as expand its housing resources in Loveland.

“We’re blessed in this town to have an actual shelter … but the need has at least doubled, and they’re running out of room,” she said.

The event will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., though artists will likely start working on their squares of pavement earlier in the morning. At noon, the first stage will open and Mayor Jacki Marsh will deliver remarks on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, after which the live music will start.

Artists are eligible to win in two classes of awards, with the first decided by a panel of judges, and the People’s Choice award decided by members of the public who can pay to cast a vote for their favorite artwork on the 11th as well as up to a week after the conclusion of the event.

Waddell said fundraising is already on-track to top previous years, including 2019, when she said $30,000 had been raised 10 days prior to the event.

On Wednesday, she reported that the organizers have already received $38,000 in contributions.

“We’re looking at being able to give them about $50,000,” she said. “I’m just blown away by the amount of support we’ve had this year. … It just warms my heart, and I’m so thrilled to work with so many wonderful sponsors in town. So many people have stepped up already and given so much freakin’ money.”

More information about Pastels on Fifth is available online at

For information about the services offered through Alternatives to Violence, including sheltering for victims of domestic abuse, visit

Noelle Garcia, right, is the founder of She Leads. Courtesy Tara Vreeland.

She Leads Project shares stories of hope, bolsters nonprofits

BizWest, August 25, 2021 By

TIMNATH — Noelle Garcia of Timnath started the She Leads Project because she wants women rebuilding from positions of struggle to be surrounded by community — not bogged down by feelings of shame.

“The vision and mission of She Leads came from the heart of a woman (myself) with a passion to help other women who find themselves in the in-between stages of transformation,” said Garcia, president and founder of She Leads. 

Garcia, founder and chief executive officer of SILX Global in Fort Collins, launched She Leads in July to raise awareness of nonprofits helping women and children get back on their feet and to share “stories of hope” about what those women have overcome and achieved. Their stories are many, including overcoming abuse, divorce, trauma, loss, addiction and other life challenges.

Garcia started the project because she believes those stories serve as a source of strength and that by sharing her story publicly, she might inspire other women to take the first step. She struggled with prescription medications for about 10 years and, thinking of her two daughters, knew she had to get treatment. She felt “so much paralyzing shame,” a feeling she doesn’t want other women to have to experience, she said.

“When I got out of treatment in 2017, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be shy about telling my story,” Garcia said. “The stories could be our strength. There doesn’t have to be shame in choosing a better way or a healthier life. … We can find courage when we choose a better way.”

Garcia wants to bring help and hope to others, letting them know they can get out of “these hard places in life” and that they’re not alone, she said. She got out of her own hard place and gained confidence with the success of SILX, which she founded in 2018 to run education and extension training for stylists throughout the nation.

“This is not an ‘addiction’ movement,” Garcia said. “It’s a hope-versus-fear collaboration.” 

Garcia held the launch event for She Leads on Aug. 5 at the first of what will be quarterly events at partner New Belgium Brewery Co. in Fort Collins. The quarterly events serve as fundraisers as they spotlight and support a Northern Colorado organization or nonprofit that’s “doing incredible things to help women and children get back on their feet,” Garcia said. 

“Our entire goal and mission is to collaborate and highlight other organizations doing great things,” Garcia said.

Greeley resident Allie Reilly, a medical assistant, professional photographer and Mrs. Colorado Petite, shared her “story of hope” during the event, which spotlighted Alternatives to Violence in Loveland.

A survivor of domestic violence, Reilly wanted to tell her story of how she overcame domestic violence and homelessness and now is speaking about it as part of her platform as Mrs. Colorado Petite. She does advocacy and public speaking on behalf of nonprofits such as Alternatives to Violence and Crossroads Safehouse in Fort Collins.

“You can get away, and you do have support systems out there. You just have to find them,” Reilly said. 

Reilly met her former husband when she was 19 and thought he was “the one,” though she started seeing red flags when she was pregnant with their daughter. He apologized after each incidence of abuse, saying it would never happen again, and she began to lie for him to cover up what he’d done.

“I learned that you are always stronger to walk away. It’s not easy, but once you do, you learn your self-worth,” Reilly said. “It’s something that’s not spoken about. It’s brushed under the rug, and I wanted to bring awareness to it.”

She Leads serves as a catalyst to support organizations like Alternatives to Violence, carrying out its mission to share, inspire and lead together while also inviting the community to participate at the quarterly events. The support is financial through ticket sales and social media donations, plus there’s a service component of filling care packages with items the highlighted organization regularly distributes to its clients. 

Alternatives to Violence is a Loveland-based nonprofit that since 1982 has provided shelter, advocacy, education and resources for men, women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. The safehouse, which has eight bedrooms and 22 beds, is typically full and gets calls on a daily basis — about 80% are from domestic violence victims.  

At the first quarterly event, approximately 50 volunteers stuffed 50 backpacks with donated self-care, toiletry and other items that will be given to those staying at the safehouse. She Leads gave Alternatives to Violence a check for $10,000, and staff from the nonprofit had the opportunity to speak about its mission, the services it offers and ways for the community to get involved.

The nonprofit selected for the next quarterly event in November will be Career Closet in Fort Collins. The organization helps women overcoming homelessness, abuse or other difficult situations be prepared for the workforce by providing them with clothing and fulfilling their other career-related needs. There will be a personal story from someone connected to the nonprofit of how they overcame a struggle as a way to help educate and inspire those in attendance. 

She Leads shares “stories of hope” in other ways, such as Permission to Press Play, a podcast with an archive of stories expected to be released at the end of September and accessible from the She Leads website at The stories are categorized into sections, such as hope, addiction, foster care, human trafficking, miscarriage, abusive relationships, poverty and other topics.

“These stories are meant to inspire others,” Garcia said.

She Leads also has a Partners of Impact program, where the nonprofit partners with corporations and small businesses in Northern Colorado to fulfill any identified needs, such as through financial gifts, products or services. The current project is sponsoring 10 single mothers with $1,000 gift cards to King Soopers, which were scheduled to be distributed Sept. 1.  

“Here’s a pick-me-up from your community. … We see them and value them and know it’s not easy,” Garcia said.

Ex-Wife of D.C. Sniper to Speak at Virtual Alternatives to Violence Event on April 8

TownsquareMedia, April 1, 2021 By Emily Mashak


Alternatives to Violence (ATV) will host Mildred Muhammad, award-winning speaker and ex-wife of the D.C. sniper, at their 4th Annual Purple Ribbon Event next Thursday (April 8).

While last year's breakfast was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, this year's virtual event will give Muhammad the chance to share her story - and bring hope to those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

"She has since become an advocate for domestic violence (awareness)... just a great, great person," said Kari Clark, Executive Director of ATV, in our "Tuned In to noCo" interview. "Anybody is invited to join the Purple Ribbon Event... I think the message getting across will be good for anybody."

Attendees can register for the event, which takes place from Noon to 1pm here. An optional delivery from Daddy O's Green Onion will be available for lunch.

Along with raising awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, the event also aims to raise funds for ATV. The nonprofit's SafeHouse, programs and operations are imperative to victims, especially during the pandemic.

"We're starting to level off a bit, we've noticed, for crisis calls, but we are still receiving a ton," said Clark."Domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking are more prevalent than I think people believe. People need those around them who support them to help them get through it."

ATV can be reached online, at their office at (970) 669-5150 or via text at (970) 669-5157.

Learn more about the 4th Annual Purple Ribbon Event by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Kari Clark here.

Alternatives to Violence (ATV) will host Mildred Muhammad, award-winning speaker and ex-wife of the D.C. sniper, at their 4th Annual Purple Ribbon Event next Thursday (April 8).

Read More: Ex-Wife of D.C. Sniper to Speak at Alternatives to Violence Event |

Alternatives to Violence sets date for virtual annual event

BizWest, March 28, 2021 By BizWest Staff

LOVELAND — Alternatives to Violence will be hosting its annual Purple Ribbon Event virtually this year. The event raises awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, which have seen increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fundraising event will be noon to 1 p.m. on April 8. Attendees can register at

“We have been seeing an increase in calls from domestic abuse victims especially during the coronavirus pandemic,” Kari Clark, executive director of Alternatives to Violence, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, we had to cancel last year’s event, but we need this event more than ever to help keep our phone lines and doors open to help the increasing need. Although we can’t get together in person, we can still make an impact by coming together virtually.” 

“The Purple Ribbon Virtual Event will feature special guest speaker Mildred D. Muhammad. Muhammad is the ex-wife of the Washington, D.C., sniper John A. Muhammad, who went on a three-week rampage cac the intent to ultimately find and kill her. Muhammad will open up with personal details of her experience involving fear and abuse. She will share her expertise and challenges on what it’s like to be a victim and survivor of domestic violence,” the organization said in its press release.

Muhammad is an international expert speaker for the U.S. Department of State, certified consultant with the Office on Victims of Crime and CNN contributor. 

Those wishing to be an event ambassador or sponsor should contact Clark at 970-669-5150 or For those who cannot attend the event, but wish to contribute to Alternatives to Violence, can donate at  .

'Crushing': Friends remember Fort Collins teen killed in alleged domestic violence attack

Coloradoan, February 21, 2021 By Sady Swanson

Editor's note: This story contains references to domestic violence. Information about domestic violence warning signs and resources for those in crisis is available at the end of this story.

When Danielle Hopton’s three best friends remember her, it’s the little moments that stick out. 

For Emily Mulder, it's the monster truck rally they went to together years ago with Hopton’s dad and brother. They weren’t really into monster trucks, so Mulder said they just walked around the arena goofing off.

“It’s little moments like that, that are just goofy and inside jokes and fun,” Mulder said. “That’s how I’ll always remember memories with her.”

Some big moments stick out for Mulder too, like their weekend trip to Denver a few years ago when they went to Water World and Elitch Gardens, and stayed in a hotel, where they swam in the pool and danced in the elevator.

Kaiya Anderson recalled middle school, when they all met. They would sit around playing group games on their phones together and take silly pictures of each other.

“Every single moment that you spent with her was perfect in it’s own way,” said Aislyn Papworth, who was also Hopton’s neighbor. “You can’t just pinpoint a specific thing because, I mean, we enjoyed every single second we got to spend with her.”

Hopton, 18, died Feb. 7 from injuries sustained in an assault late the night before, according to Fort Collins police. Hopton’s ex-boyfriend Stephen McNeil was arrested the same day and charged with first-degree murder and domestic violence, among other charges.

Mulder said when she read about McNeil’s arrest, she immediately texted Hopton to ask if she was OK. 

Hopton never saw that text.

“I was just extremely concerned because I knew their history,” Mulder said. 

She then texted Hopton’s mother, who called her and told her what happened.

“It was just crushing,” Anderson said, and she called Mulder and Papworth to tell them what happened after talking to Hopton’s mom. “... Danielle was such a beautiful person, such a light in all of our lives.”

The neighborhood has rallied around Hopton’s family to provide meals and other kinds of support, Papworth said.

Hopton loved animals and was particularly passionate about training guide dogs with her family. Papworth said Hopton worked hard to train them and was always so proud when they passed their training. 

“(I’m) making sure that everything that I do and every decision that I make represent who she was and honor her,” Papworth said.

A GoFundMe page to raise money in Hopton’s honor for the Larimer Humane Society, Crossroads Safehouse and Guide Dogs for the Blind raised more than $37,000 as of Friday afternoon.

McNeil remains in Larimer County Jail with no bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 2 after attorneys asked the judge for more time to review the evidence in the case. 

Teen dating violence 'more common than people think' 

Remembering Hopton is not only about honoring her memory, but also helping others in situations like hers, Mulder said.

“This isn’t something that should happen to anybody else,” Mulder said. “... This is something that should have been prevented.”

Teen dating violence is "more common than people think," said Kari Clark of Alternatives to Violence in Loveland.

Girls and young women ages 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, Clark said. 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awarene

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Alternatives to Violence  |  541 E. 8th St. |  Loveland, CO  80537
Office Hours: 9:00am - 4:00pm  |  Monday - Thursday  |  Friday 9:00am-Noon. Closed Saturday & Sunday
Office Phone: 970-669-5150  |  Fax: 970-669-5136  | 

Alternatives to Violence provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence , sexual assault and human trafficking.

Alternatives to Violence provides services to women, men and children regardless of race, sexual orientation or legal status.

© 2018 Alternatives To Violence