The Dawn of a New Identity as Promoting Empowerment Eagle River (PEER)
In 2023, a transformative decision marked a significant turning point in our organization's history. After 26 years of impactful community work under the name Red Ribbon Project (RRP), we recognized the need for a shift in identity to better represent our evolved mission and expanded outreach. This led us to transition from Red Ribbon Project to Promoting Empowerment Eagle River (PEER), reflecting our broadened commitment to empowering the youth and community.
Initially founded in 1996, our organization was launched with the principal goal of fostering HIV/AIDS awareness in our community. However, as the years passed, we realized that our role extended beyond raising awareness about a single issue. We began to pivot our efforts towards preventing risk behaviors, particularly among the youth, and inspiring them with powerful, strengths-based programs that promote self-confidence and informed decision-making.
Today, as PEER, our work is not just about keeping young people safe and informed about the consequences of risky behavior, but also about empowering them with opportunities for character development. We continue to evolve to meet our community's needs, fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and creativity where all youth have the opportunity to feel recognized, needed, and cared for.
Our mission, "Promoting healthier lives by empowering the community to reduce teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STIs", encapsulates our commitment to health education and empowerment. Over the past quarter-century, we have delivered Youth Skills Building classes, free HIV testing, and educational resources to the Eagle County community. Through meaningful collaborations with the school district, health and medical agencies, and youth-serving organizations, we have ensured comprehensive programming that avoids duplication and utilizes resources efficiently.
Our organizational goals aim to reduce the social and economic disadvantages associated with teenage pregnancy and the subsequent demand for additional early childhood and social services support. We strive to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancies and STIs in Eagle County, to provide quality education on teen pregnancy prevention and sexual health, and to increase community recognition of the importance of healthy sexuality and the prevalence of teen pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.
PEER continues to build awareness to foster inclusive, accepting, and tolerant attitudes towards diverse communities and lifestyles, given that diverse and minority groups are disproportionately affected by teen pregnancies, STIs, and HIV. We also continue to provide vital financial support to HIV+ infected/affected community members, a service that has proven critical in averting financial crisis for the families served.
In summary, our transition to Promoting Empowerment Eagle River (PEER) signals our ongoing commitment to serve, educate, and empower our community in more effective, holistic, and meaningful ways. The name change, while significant, is merely a reflection of the evolution that our organization has already experienced over the years and our commitment to future growth.