A hint of coolness in the air signifies the return to school, a shift toward autumnal activities, and the start of fundraising season. Many of our local nonprofits will host events this month upon which they rely for funding of their programs throughout the year. I encourage you to consider showing your support for the impactful work of these great organizations.

Walk a Mile in Solidarity With Victims of Trafficking

Trafficking continues to be a danger to children, teens and young adults worldwide. Conifer-based JOY International is a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of trafficking and to the freedom, healing and empowerment of trafficked children. Locally, the organization is sponsoring its annual Barefoot Mile fundraiser on August 26 at 9 am at the Marshdale Park Soccer Field, 6979 South Ocelot Trail in Evergreen.

The Barefoot Mile brings together people of all ages to walk a mile in solidarity with trafficked children while raising funds to support JOY International’s multifaceted response. Donations will go toward the training of international anti-trafficking teams, education and awareness for impoverished youngsters who are the most vulnerable to attack, and the funding of legal rescue operations and safe homes.

The Barefoot Mile is a family-friendly event with live music, a fabulous silent auction, and activities for kids. There is no entry fee to join the walk, and walking barefoot is optional. Participants are encouraged to make individual donations or form a team to raise additional funds from friends and families. Event check-in begins at 9 am and the walk officially begins at 10 am. Online registration is appreciated. Go to thebarefootmile.org to sign up and to learn more about the event.

Since its beginning in 1981, JOY International has helped bring freedom to more than 3,000 children and young women affected by human trafficking. The organization focuses on four key areas: freedom, healing, empowerment and prevention. The “Barefoot Mile” event name comes from JOY International Founder and President Dr. Jeff Brodsky who, during a 2010 mission in Cambodia to care for children at risk for becoming victims of trafficking, observed that almost all the youngsters were barefoot every day. In an act of solidarity, he removed his shoes and has lived barefoot ever since to call attention to the scourge of trafficking.

Wild Aware Hosts September 14 Wildlife, Wine & Song Event

Educating residents and visitors how to safely coexist with wildlife and reducing the number of wildlife fatalities are the main goals of Wild Aware. The nonprofit has been extremely active in coordinating efforts with the state department of transportation, Jefferson County Open Space, Evergreen Park & Recreation District, and other organizations with jurisdiction over wildlife and open lands management. Its educational efforts have included community forums, increased signage along Highway 74, and awareness campaigns for new residents.

On September 14, Wild Aware will host a special evening, “Wildlife, Wine & Song,” from 4:30 – 8 pm at Center Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive in Evergreen. Guests will enjoy appetizers, wine, beer and a silent auction. Featured music will be performed by Michael Mandrell and Jenny Bird, singer-songwriters known for their accomplishments in the folk music genre. Tickets are $45 and there are opportunities for sponsorship. Go to bit.ly/44Rr5ux for more information.

CAE’s 130 for $130 Fundraiser Returns

CAE has been collecting 130 works of original fine art including painting, drawing, prints, photography, sculpture and ceramics, all valued at $130 or more, to be selected by lucky ticketholders at its September 15 gala auction, 130 for $130. Ticketholders will have a chance to preview the exhibit and note their favorite pieces at a special opening reception on August 24 at 4 pm.

Tickets for the September 15 event from 5-8 pm at CAE are $130 for Selectors, $25 for companion tickets. Participants will have the opportunity to choose and take home an original creation at the end of the evening. Proceeds support CAE’s year-long programming including classes, exhibitions and community outreach. Sponsors include Lynn Westfall – RE/MAX Alliance, Coyote Gold Margaritas, Bruce Anderson Farmers Insurance, Alexa Interiors, Mountain Home, and Huiting Wealth Management. For more details and to purchase tickets, go to evergreenarts.org/events.

Support Affordable Housing at Hard Hats & High Heels Event

Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity will host its annual Hard Hats & High Heels event on September 20 from 6-8:30 pm at the Evergreen Lakehouse. Attendees will enjoy food specially prepared by Serendipity Catering, craft beer and wine, silent and live auctions, and terrific music provided by Joe Bye & Friends.

Event proceeds will support Habitat’s mission of helping low-income families realize their dream of safe, decent and affordable homeownership. Habitat supports qualifying partner families through new construction projects and a home repair program, both fueled by community volunteers.

Tickets are $100 each and there is a “Beneficial 6-Pack” ticket package of six tickets for $550. Go to bluesprucehabitat.org. The evening’s presenting sponsor is the Colorado Housing & Financing Authority (CHFA). Silent auction items will be available to view online a week in advance of the fundraiser, with bidding streamlined via smartphone applications. The silent and live auctions will continue during the event.