PEAK Project

PEAK project working logoThe PEAK Project is a collaborative initiative developed to increase awareness and prevention of youth exploitation in the Colorado community.

Through partnerships with iEmpathize, the Office of Economic Development, Transitions for Young Adults Program and Excelsior Community-Based Mental Health Services, the PEAK Project strives to reach high-risk youth by providing resources in the form of educational, vocational and mental health services.

Exploitation: A growing concern locally and internationally

Every year youth all over the world are subject to exploitation and human trafficking. Exploitation and human smuggling often occur in tandem, but not always. Many individuals are exploited within the confines of their own home. Moreover, this problem is not isolated to particular demographics. Sadly, however, exploitation often involves youth under the age of 18. It is estimated that 1.2 million children are exploited each year.

Approximately 10 years ago, this expanding issue of exploitation was presented through scattered reports. Fortunately, in recent years local, state and federal agencies have begun working together to find ways to increase awareness and prevention of exploitation. Nonprofit organizations and individual communities have developed projects designed to increase community involvement and cooperation with public and private entities through awareness and education. The PEAK project is one such project established through the collaborative efforts of several organizations in the Colorado community.


Excelsior Community Based Mental Health Services

For over 42 years, Excelsior has used evidence-based practices to provide trauma-informed mental health services to youth and their families. Through a Continuum of innovative treatment services, Excelsior provides youth and families with a comprehensive range of therapeutic and educational programs designed to provide the right service at the right time.

Specifically, Excelsior’s Community Based Services are designed to preserve family unity by providing resources and strategies aimed at strengthening the family. By focusing on enhancing safety, improving relationships between family members and creating sustainable community support, these services support at-risk youth and families before more intensive interventions are needed.


iEmpathize is a non-profit organization dedicated to combatting crimes against children. The mission of iEmpathize is to evoke empathy and empower people to eradicate child exploitation by equipping them with tools and opportunities to respond to the issue. iEmpathize develops original media as a catalyst to inspire empathy, educate, and empower a wide range of people and strategic demographics. One example is the Empower Youth Program, an iEmpathize curriculum that helps those already working with youth to facilitate prevention-focused conversations about empathy and exploitation in their schools and neighborhoods. Educators, parents, and youth service providers can utilize this five-part series of short films, activities, and discussion questions to empower teens 7th grade and up to successfully navigate the vulnerabilities in their lives in order to stay safe from exploitation. To learn more about the program and to see a preview of its media, visit

The Transitions for Young (TYA) Adults Program

Offered through the Department of Economic Development, Denver’s TYA program provides access to resources for youth (males and females ages 14-21) who have been involved with the Juvenile Justice system.  This incentive-based program provides job readiness training and job placement services for the youth they serve including job coaching, education, training and supportive services.

FBI Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force

The FBI Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force works in collaboration with NGOs in the community to ensure trafficking victims receive adequate treatment, resources, and services. This program also provides case management to keep track of the victims as they move through the criminal justice system to ensure after-care is implemented after cases are adjudicated.

PEAK Project Services

  • Safety planning
  • Screenings and Assessments
  • Medical Care
  • Evidenced based Individual Trauma therapies (EMDR/DBT)
  • Trauma focused Family Therapy
  • Animal Assisted therapies
  • Life Skills training
  • Transitional living planning
  • Individualized Educational Programming
  • Survivor Groups
  • Substance Abuse/Relapse Prevention Counseling
  • Vocational Training/Job Placement
  • Case Coordination
  • Mentoring
  • Recreational/Wellness Programs
  • Affective Educational Programming
  • Behavior Coaching


For more information, please contact: Shelli Howard (PEAK Project Coordinator) or Marty Zaffaroni, (Excelsior’s Director of Business Development) 303-693-1550 ext 239