We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlin Hannigan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlin, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Concrete Couch’s main mission is to create community through creative projects. We work with community members of all ages, races, ethnicities and abilities to create tons of different projects throughout the Colorado Springs community. From helping making Colorado Springs beautiful with a giant pumpkin sculpture in downtown, to helping build bridges for pedestrians and cyclists in Manitou Springs, to our newest project, building a community park in Southeast Colorado Springs, for the last 18 years Concrete Couch has offered unique and fun experiences. All of projects also involve learning use “hard skills” such as pouring concrete, mixing mortar, installing tile on different surfaces, grouting, welding, wood construction skills and these skills have helped many young people find jobs in different fields.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently the Education Director at Concrete Couch, a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs. It is actually not at all a job I thought I would ever have. Concrete Couch does a myriad of different projects, but many of them are artistic, musical and all of them focus on people getting to express their creativity in different ways. Growing up I was not artistic or musical, but I always was great at organizing people, and spent my teenage years teaching swim lessons and then working at a community center. It took me awhile post -college to figure out what I wanted to to do. I worked at a local catering company, and volunteered and traveled to various countries before deciding to work in education. My first full-time teaching job was as a history teacher in Jinan, China. Working as a teacher overseas taught me so much about getting to know my co-workers, how to build a good work environment, communicating with others, and getting to share and learn about other cultures and backgrounds. I got to work with people from all over the world, and see parts of the world I only read about. While teaching overseas is challenging, especially in a country where I did not speak the language, I loved it. Covid-19 actually stranded me back in the USA, and I was lucky to land my current job at Concrete Couch. My skills as an educator and working with groups, and previous experiences as a teacher and helping build positive work environments help me with my current job.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in Colorado Springs and love the city. First, I would take visitors to see Garden of the Gods Park. It is such a unique geological feature and has great trails to hike on. Also, I would want to take my friends to see North Cheyenne Canyon Park, probably have them hike Mount Cutler trail and see Helen Hunt Falls. The Canyon is beautiful and you get great views once as you hike up, and Mount Cutler was a favorite trail growing up. I grew up hiking and being outdoors, so I would also want to take visitors to Red Rock Park, Stratton Open Space, and Palmer Park, all which have great hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Besides the parks, I would want my friends to visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, one of the coolest zoos where you can feed the giraffes! Next up I would take my friends west to Manitou Springs, and the Penny Arcade, and walk Main Street. I would also want my friends to visit the Fine Arts Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Also, visiting some of the old schools that have been turned into community market places is really fun: I would take them to Ivywild, and the Lincoln School, and Helen Hunt Campus. For food, some of my favorite restaurants would be The Keg in Manitou Springs, Colonel Mustard Sandwich Emporium, La Baguette, and Red Gravy. One of my older brother’s hobbies is craft beer so visiting some of the local breweries in Colorado Springs. I would take my friends to Fossil Brewing, and/or Cerberus.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents – They have always believed in me, and supported me throughout my life. Through my parents I never be afraid to ask the tough questions, because the answer the unanswered question is no. Even though I have not always been very conventional with my life, choosing to travel around the world, and work overseas, they have supported my choices and always made sure I knew they were proud of me.
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