Amy Gillentine

Amy Gillentine 

The ability to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

That’s the definition of resilience, and that inner strength is something every single one of us has had to access during this pandemic.

Some of us have seen jobs disappear, others are struggling to recover from COVID and its ongoing symptoms. Business owners are wondering if they can keep their businesses running as the pandemic drags on month after month.

We miss all the things we took for granted in pre-pandemic times: going to the movies or a play, going out to dinner, listening to live music, hugging our families, shaking a friend’s hand.

No one is immune from the pandemic’s psychological effects and it’s starting to show. According to a survey by the Colorado Health Foundation, 53 percent of Coloradans are feeling depressed, stressed, anxious — all due to the pandemic. 

And now there’s something we can all do about the stress and feelings of helplessness. Shortly before the pandemic, UCCS stood up its National Institute on Human Resiliency. From that program, we get GRIT.

GRIT stands for Greater Resilience Information Toolkit, and it’s a way we can take charge and take back the control stolen by the pandemic. GRIT is available for community leaders, for inviduals, for educators, for business owners. It’s about more than just the five-hour course. Participants will also receive ongoing tips and tools to strengthen their GRIT. The need for cooperation, conversation and solutions has never been more important. That’s what GRIT is all about.

The free online module creates community coaches that help organizations and individuals — from business and nonprofit leaders to first responders, from educators to regular folks. Its easy-to-learn, easy-to-use tools can help each of us build our own core of resilience, then creates coaches who create still more coaches to uplift the entire community. 

Face it, we all know someone who’s struggling — a teacher, a parent, a colleague, a business owner. These are hard times. We all know someone who’s dealing with family issues from COVID, trying to work, run a household, while also trying to give their kids a chance at a semi-normal school year. It can seem impossible and it’s always exhausting.

GRIT can help you:

Understand the common stress responses when you’re living through a disaster

Build your coping skills

Learn how to listen to and support those who are struggling 

Recognize the signs when someone needs professional mental health care — and how and where to get help

Take care of the elders in your life

We all have that inner reservoir of strength. We’re all resilient enough to get through the tough times — we just have to work at getting to it. Back in March (remember March?) we all thought we would be through this by summer. It was just a few weeks of uncertainty, just a few days of shutdown. Months later, COVID cases are growing again, along with our fear and uncertainty.

And that’s more obvious in Southeast Colorado Springs than just about anywhere else in the city. That’s why the institute is specifically seeking leaders in Southeast to take the coaching training and share their resilience-building skills with the community.

The numbers tell the Southeast story. In an area of town without a hospital, that is a food desert and that needs more and better mental health care, the COVID-19 infection numbers are higher than ever. According to El Paso County Public Health, as of last week, 80910 had 705 infections since the beginning of the pandemic and 80916 has had 705. Together, they have the highest infection rate in the county. 

Combined with school and work challenges, unemployment and paying the rent, it’s a tough time right now. This program can help. You’ll find the self-paced program at, and though it’s long, just take it an hour at a time.  

Remember that we’re all in this together, and we can get through the tough times. Southeast has so much promise; the virus has only delayed success, not quashed it completely.