Chloe Henry got an early start in service work, doing community service projects with her mother throughout middle school, as part of the National Charity League.
Over the years her volunteer work turned to human rights and poverty alleviation, winding through other states and countries before leading her back to a service-focused career in Colorado Springs. Henry is the new Faith in Action program manager for Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity, and a new board member for Forge Evolution — formerly Colorado Teen Court.
A Springs native, Henry served with NCL through her years at Cheyenne Mountain High School until she left for college in California. While she studied for her bachelor’s in political science and Spanish at University College – Azusa Pacific University in California, she volunteered with Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, was elected president of the Pre Law Society and worked as an APEX Academic Mentor. She also served on the executive council for the American Enterprise Institute, served as a coordinator with the APU Center for Student Action for student teams volunteering in the community and abroad, and competed as a varsity swimmer for the APU Women’s Swim Team. She was a women’s prison team leader for Mexico Outreach, volunteered with a community development organization in Haiti, and traveled to Uganda with Victory Community Care, where she worked in an orphanage, a street boys home and an elementary school, and learned about VCC’s microfinance program, which offers microloans to women.
“I loved the concept of seeing how the microfinancing program was empowering local women to provide for their families to use their skills and talents toward something,” Henry said. “That whole trip acted as a catalyst to figure out how I could develop my own professional skills to help empower others to lean into their talents.”
After graduating from APU in 2018, Henry completed a nine-month postgraduate fellowship through The Falls Church Anglican in Washington D.C., working in government relations and communications for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. CCCU works with more than 180 different schools nationwide and internationally, Henry said.
“During that process, I touched a lot of different areas from communications and government relations,” she said, “and I helped spearhead some of their prison reform portfolio, because some of the schools we worked with had some sort of in-prison programs.”
Henry returned to California in 2019 to earn her master’s in public policy at Pepperdine University. Her academic work required an externship, so Henry volunteered at Homeboy Industries — an L.A. nonprofit she’d had her eye on since her undergrad years.
“They have 13 social enterprise-based businesses that they use as job readiness and work readiness programs for individuals who have been incarcerated or used to be gang affiliated,” Henry said. “They have a bakery where the people in the program participated as their first job. They also have tattoo removal, GED classes, and they work with youth in the community. I worked with them in the research department — there are hundreds of organizations that want to do research with Homeboy’s programs, and I helped facilitate the process for those individuals.”
As Henry completed her master’s and wrapped up her externship, her husband, Marco, finished his master’s degree of divinity and was hired as director of student ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs.
Shortly after arriving in the Springs, Henry mentioned to a friend of Marco’s that she had volunteered for Colorado Teen Court during high school. That’s how she learned the program, renamed Forge Evolution, needed board members.
“When I got back to Colorado Springs, I was excited about having the opportunity to engage with the community,” Henry said. “A common theme in my story and school life is trying to engage at-risk youth and finding ways to get involved in the criminal justice system — whether that’s working with a restorative justice program or something of that nature. I knew this would be a good way to give back and engage with an organization that has given me so much experience.”
Henry spoke with the Business Journal about her goals as a Forge board member, her work with Habitat for Humanity, and how she hopes to change lives.
Can you explain your role with Habitat?
I started on with Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity ... this September and joined the team as the new Faith in Action Program manager. In this role, I have the privilege of being able to work with all the different faith communities throughout El Paso County. We see how faith groups may be able to partner with Habitat for Humanity to support families ... and help further their mission. I focus on getting individuals and groups from different faith communities involved in the work of Habitat. ... I’ll also support their international development work through our partner affiliates in Nepal and Cote d’Ivoire. I oversee a committee that is working on our first Interfaith Build for Unity, which seeks to bring together volunteers from different backgrounds, belief systems and faith traditions and unite them to work together to build homes in the region.
Tell us about the volunteer work you did while you were at Azusa.
When I had the opportunity to go to Mexico, I went through a program with Azusa Pacific University called Mexico Outreach. Mexico Outreach has built sustainable partnerships with various leaders in the Mexicali, Mexico community over more than 40 years. Azusa Pacific University works in collaboration with Mexico Outreach and local leaders to support local efforts in the community and serve together. During spring break one year, I led a team of college women to go work in a women’s prison in Mexicali. Leading up to the trip we fundraised. ... While we were at the prison, we had the chance to get to know some of the women, play sports with them, and we brought a fair amount of craft supplies with us so that we could also lead the women through some art projects. When I went to Haiti I co-led a trip to take students to partner with Friends & Family Community Connection, which is an organization that had been working in the region for years. ... Our team [partnered] with local orphanages and schools to help support a weeklong program for local children, ... met any needs that came up for the organization during the week, and some of our team members who had nursing backgrounds helped at a local clinic. We had the chance to partner with lots of locals in the region. ... It was also deeply moving to be able to hear the life stories of local Haitians who were our age as well, and hear about their vision, hopes and dreams for their own country.
How did your work at Homeboy change lives?
I’d been a fan of Homeboy Industries ever since I was an undergrad. ... I believed in their mission so much. Seeing people have a second chance and live what they thought may never be possible for them was awesome. It was inspirational and I sat there everyday learning so much from everyone I encountered. It was a testament to better understanding people. Homeboy consistently has groups come in and do tours to hear the individual stories from someone with gang affiliation or in prison or trying to get a new lease on life. I’d always hear people who participated in those tours talk about how transformational it was for them to hear the story. People make a lot of assumptions — whether that’s based on tattoos or how someone looks — and it was beautiful to see those connections being made and people noticing their similarities.
How is your work with at-risk people making things better in the Springs?
I enjoy being able to ... help build connections and bridges where that may not seem possible. Some of the strongest relationships have come from those experiences. ... I’m grateful to talk to kids and help them understand that they have something to offer and a voice necessary to the community. We let them know they can succeed in any area they’re in and help equip them with the skills to do that as leaders.
What are your goals?
I’m hoping to use my background in policy and dispute resolution to do community development locally. Long term, I would love to do that in a global sphere as well, with international development. That could be in a government relations position, a nonprofit that’s international or trying to find creative ways to do that. Pepperdine has an organization called the Global Justice Institute that does a lot of grassroots work with countries and they’d work in different nations. They’d sit down with the leaders and ask what they want from criminal justice or legal system or policies. Then they’d figure out how to be a resource and advocate to develop those. I think that sort of work in the future is interesting for me.
What do you hope to accomplish with Forge?
This is my first experience being on a board of directors, and so stepping into this role I am excited to learn from the other board members and the staff to work with them to empower the youth of Colorado Springs. ... I am also excited because Pikes Peak United Way is offering the first cohort of their [Leadership Effectiveness and Diversity] program this fall. That focuses on trying to prepare and equip professionals in the community to participate in local board and leadership roles and will also cover topics including the role of the board, cultural competency and diversity, equity and inclusion. I am grateful to be able to be a part of the United Way program this fall and I’m excited to be able to learn ... to be more effective in my role on the board of directors and to better engage and empower youth in the city.