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Black History Month–Celebrate with these performances and music

Each February, Black History Month honors the achievements and contributions of African-Americans to the country. Visit Denver shares how you can celebrate throughout the Denver metro area with lectures, dramatic performances and music.

Feb. 1 – 28
A History of Black Firefighters in the Denver Fire Department Exhibit
Denver Firefighters Museum
Learn about brave firefighters who carved out a career in what used to be a segregated profession.

Feb. 1 – March 24
Landscape Expressions: Artistic Renderings by Vincent W. Lewis
Reception on Feb. 10, 1-4 p.m. 
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
Lewis uses his art as a means of transitioning viewers into thought-provoking reflection to find rest for the soul. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Lewis is a minister and gifted puppeteer.

Feb. 2
Center for Multicultural Excellence BW-LEAD Summit , 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, Room 110
BW-LEAD provides black female high school students with leadership, academic achievement and community involvement insights and encourages the development of their identities as black women. During the conference, participants engage in discussions and learn from peers, college students and community leaders. BW-LEAD also helps students prepare for educational success in high school, engage in college preparation activities and create pathways to higher education.

Feb. 3
Juanita Gray Community Service Awards & Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame Induction, 1:30 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
The Denver Public Library honors African-American men, women and youth who make outstanding contributions to the Denver metro area or who have accomplished a professional goal in their field.

Whittier Neighborhood Walking Tour with Black American West Museum, 2 p.m.
Ford-Warren Branch Library
Discover the rich history of the neighborhood surrounding the Ford-Warren Branch Library.

Feb. 8
Sankofa Storytime, 5:30 p.m. 
Pauline Robinson Branch Library
The word Sankofa comes from the Akan people of Ghana and means “to go back and get it.” One of the Adinkra symbols for Sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward. Sankofa Storytime brings the African-American tradition of storytelling to life and is a collaboration of local artists, authors, community organizations and local librarians.   

Feb. 10
The Pillars of African-American Art Song: Compositions of Strength, Love and Justice, 7-8:30 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
Denver Art Song Project presents a performance of African-American art songs by soprano Stephanie Ann Ball and baritone Dr. Paul Griggs. The evening will feature some of history’s most influential African-American composers and the texts of America’s most prominent African-American wordsmiths.

Feb. 12
The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X Preview Screening, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
History Colorado Center
This documentary captures the rise and fall of Malcolm X, told through newscasts, speeches and rarely seen archival footage. The Smithsonian Channel, Comcast and the History Colorado Center are presenting the reception, preview screening and Q&A panel.

Feb. 17
“Project 75 The Mile High Medical Society ” and “Lost Boundaries” Film Showings, 6 p.m.
Black American West Museum and Heritage Center
“Project 75,” an inspiring documentary film released in 1992 by Davon Johnson, celebrates early African-American doctors in Denver. The National Medical Association had a goal to increase by 12 percent the number of blacks and people of color certified as doctors by 1975, the year of the NMA’s 75th anniversary. Also featured is a bonus showing of “Lost Boundaries,” a 1949 film that explores social ills in America.

Feb. 19 
Reflections on the Life of a Colorado Climate Scientist – Warren Washington, 1-2 p.m.
History Colorado Center
Warren Washington grew up in a racially charged era, but his parents urged him to pursue passions in art and science. He settled in the world of science and joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research in 1963, working with colleagues to build one of the first generation computer models of the Earth’s climate. Join this National Medal of Science honoree for a look at the hidden stories of a remarkable career and unexpected journey into the politically charged field of climate science.

Feb. 20–March 2
Black History Live Tour featuring Malcom X
Multiple Denver metro locations, various times
Colorado Humanities presents national humanities and Chautauqua scholar Charles Everett Pace, who will demonstrate how marginal outsiders become influential insiders through his portrayal of Malcom X at several locations in the Denver area and beyond. 

Feb. 21 & 26
Medicines of the African American Captive 2: The Tree Whisperers
Green Valley Ranch Branch Library, Feb. 21. 6 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, Feb. 26, 6 p.m.
African-American slaves were forced to endure the harshest of conditions without many resources. How did they survive? Slave communities had people within them with knowledge of the medical and spiritual healing powers of plants. In part two, herbalist Monticue Connally focuses primarily on the medicinal connections between African captives and the trees around them.

Feb. 25
R.A.D.A. ~ Read. Awareness. Dialogue. Action. ~ Book Discussion, 3 p.m.
Sam Gary Branch Library
Participants are encouraged to read the book “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson in advance.

Feb. 26
Denver’s Own Saint – Julia Greeley, 1-2 p.m.
History Colorado Center
A freed slave, devout Christian and selfless giver, Julia Greeley had an enormous impact on early Denver. Greeley came to Colorado in 1878-79 as a servant to Gov. William Gilpin. She would eventually spend almost every day at the Sacred Heart parish on Larimer Street. Join Father Blaine Burkey, author of “In Secret Service of the Sacred Heart,” as he highlights Greeley’s influence, triumphs and life.

Feb. 28
Keeping it Real: Beyond Polite Conversation, 7:30 p.m.
Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library
Join Dr. Gregory Diggs for a conversation about how we can move beyond superficial conversations and get down to the nitty-gritty of talking about race in America.

MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS

BLACK AMERICAN WEST MUSEUM

3091 CALIFORNIA ST.

For decades, Hollywood westerns depicted a Wild West that was populated almost entirely by white people. The Black American West Museum puts this myth to rest permanently by highlighting the prominent role blacks played in the settlement of Colorado as miners, soldiers, homesteaders, schoolteachers, ranchers, blacksmiths, cowboys, lawmen and more. This fascinating museum, located in the former home of Colorado’s first black woman doctor, hosts countless photographs, artifacts and interactive exhibits that tell the story of the Wild West through a different lens. One of the Black American West Museum’s most intriguing exhibits focuses on Dearfield, a once-bustling black pioneer town, founded in 1910 near Greeley, Colo. Dearfield is now a ghost town, but the museum owns a good portion of the site, and offers informative tours of this eye-opening part of African-American pioneer history. Contact the museum for details.

BLAIR CALDWELL LIBRARY

2401 WELTON ST.

A veritable treasure trove of educational and archival materials, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library offers traditional library resources, but also hosts illuminating exhibits on the history, literature, art, music, religion and politics of African-Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. The historic Five Points neighborhood is highlighted, as are Denver’s earliest African-American arrivals. The library is also home to the stirring African American Leadership Gallery, highlighting the often unsung heroes of The Mile High City’s black community.

BARNEY FORD HOUSE MUSEUM

111 EAST WASHINGTON AVE., BRECKENRIDGE

Barney Ford’s story is one of the most amazing pieces of early Colorado history. Born the son of a Virginia slave in 1882, Ford escaped bondage via the Underground Railroad, and made his way to the mountain town of Breckenridge, where he achieved success as a prominent businessman, civic leader, black rights advocate and mine owner. In the late 1800s, Ford and his wife were the wealthiest couple in Breckenridge. Ford’s impressive legacy is memorialized at the Barney Ford House Museum, a charming 1882 Victorian home that recreates the way the Ford family lived.

FIVE POINTS NEIGHBORHOOD/WELTON STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT

In 2002, the Denver City Council granted Five Points, a traditionally African-American area, a much-deserved landmark status. The Five Points area included in the Welton Street Historic District was the heart of African-American commerce during the days of segregation. It was also renowned nationwide as the destination for live jazz in Denver – thanks to its more than 50 clubs and bars, it was known in some circles as the “Harlem of the West.” Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and other legends all played to packed houses here in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, you can tour the Welton Street Historic District, taking in its classic architecture and unique atmosphere.

STILES AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE CENTER

2607 GLENARM PL.

An uplifting museum experience in every sense, the Stiles African American Heritage Center celebrates the positive contributions made by African Americans through guided tours, cultural exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia. Located in Five Points, the heart of Denver’s historic African-American community, the Center’s stated mission is to teach African-American history and to encourage young people to go forward with dignity and pride. Diversity workshops and lectures are offered on a regular basis.

20 fun events in Denver this week

Denver events include Burn Awareness Week free day at the Denver Firefighters Museum, Cirque Goes to the Movies and the Abominable Winter Adventure Run. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Ales, Apps & Barrels of Fun at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
Feb 1, 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Release your inner child at the Children’s Museum during our adults-only extravaganza! Sample beers from local breweries, snack on light bites, and best of all, enjoy an evening of play in our world-class exhibits. Don’t miss your chance to be a kid again!

Free First Saturday at Denver Art Museum
Feb 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
General admission is free on the first Saturday of the month thanks to Your 6 Hometown Toyota Stores and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). General admission to the Denver Art Museum is FREE to all youth ages 18 and under every day, granting more kids access to art than ever before.

Burn Awareness Week Free Day at Denver Firefighters Museum 
Feb 3, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Check out the Denver Firefighters Museum for free to kick off Burn Awareness Week. Special activities, fire safety information, and the chance to meet real Denver firefighters!

Abominable Winter Adventure Run 
Feb 3, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm
Situated in Como, Colorado at over 10,000 feet, the Abominable winter adventure run is a unique way to get your obstacle course fix this winter. This is a 4 mile obstacle course includes a 60 foot snow tunnel, high walls to climb over, a log carry, lots of steep hills and even a sledding section, but watch out for the Yeti in the woods. Finish to hot chocolate, our famous “mountain man” contest, snowshoeing, sledding and more winter fun.

Cirque Goes to the Movies (2 for 1) 
Feb 3, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join the Boulder Philharmonic for a spectacular family experience featuring music from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Titanic, plus the dazzling magic of the circus with aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, and more! We’ll also present the amazing aerial violinist Janice Martin, a special member of the Cirque troupe.

Stay with the Stars at Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Feb 3, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Stay up late with us as Museum Educators and an astrophysicist or two walk us through the incredible Colorado night sky. After a dinner at the Museum, watch planetarium shows, see your favorite winter constellations through high power telescopes (weather permitting), and make your own star-studded crafts.

University of Denver Hockey vs. Minnesota-Duluth 
Feb 3, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Come out and watch the National Champions defend their title.

Boulder Philharmonic: Cirque Goes to the Movies
Feb 3, 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Join us for a spectacular family experience featuring music from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Titanic, plus the dazzling magic of the circus with aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, and more!

Free Day at the Denver Zoo 
Feb 4 – 5
Explore the Denver Zoo for free!

Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center
Feb 6 ,7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks

Ongoing Events and Exhibits

Backstory: Western American Art in Context at the History Colorado Center
March 18, 2017-February 11, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The exhibition is a masterful pairing of world class art and unique artifacts. Visitors will be captivated by the beauty, wonder and rich stories waiting to be uncovered. http://historycoloradocenter.org/

Be the Astronaut at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
October 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018; Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (Wings) enthusiastically announces the arrival of Be The Astronaut, an interactive pod-based exhibit that thrusts visitors into a world of space discovery.  Broken down into three interactive parts, Be The Astronaut first places “explorers” at a NAV (Navigation) Station to explore basic concepts of the universe. Second, guests move to a SCI (Science) Station that reinvents the way users think about the science and technology needed to thrive in outer space. Finally, participants move to the FLY Station. The FLY Station puts guests in control of a variety of spacecraft, including a lander, a rover and an interplanetary spaceship, on a wide variety of extraterrestrial missions. http://wingsmuseum.org/

Becoming Butterflies at CU South Denver
June 7, 2017-June 2, 2018, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: CU South Denver
Becoming Butterflies is a fascinating look at some of the world’s most captivating insects throughout their entire life cycle. A successful journey means overcoming natural enemies, evading predators and transforming from a tiny egg to creeping caterpillar to delicate winged flyer. Learn how butterflies impact our lives and the role we play in their survival. http://southdenver.cu.edu/events/event/becoming-butterflies/

Dream Big 3D: Engineering our World at Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS)
February 17, 2017 – February 15, 2018, 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Dream Big 3D will transform how you think about the E in STEM. This adventure takes you around the world to explore engineering marvels both large and small, ancient and modern. From the Great Wall of China to the high-tech Shanghai Tower, from underwater robots to solar powered cars, you will see how human ingenuity pushes the limits of innovation. Dream Big celebrates engineers who build, invent, and shape our world, and inspire the youth of today who will be the great minds of tomorrow. http://www.dmns.org/imax/current-films/dream-big-3d-engineering-our-world/

Denver Puzzling Adventure at Civic Center Park
Puzzling Adventures™ are a cross between a scavenger hunt, an informative self-guided tour, and The Amazing Race®. Each adventure consists of a series of locations that you are guided to where you are required to answer questions or solve puzzles to receive your next instruction. http://puzzlingadventures.com

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
November 21, 2017 – February 14, 2018, 11 a.m-7 p.m.
Ready. Set. Skate. Skyline Park is the place for fun this holiday season. The Downtown Denver Partnership invites you and your family to join us for FREE skating at the Skyline Rink, located at 16th & Arapahoe in Downtown Denver. Ice skating is free! You may bring your own skates or rent a pair for just $6-$8. http://www.downtowndenver.com/

Eyes On at Denver Art Museum
December 3, 2017 – July 8, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Xiaoze Xie has a lifelong passion for books. In his worldview, books are conveyers of prestige and signifiers of collective cultural knowledge: repositories of historical meaning, cultural conflict, and political strife. For Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie, the artist has created still-life paintings of books, videos, and installations based on banned and forbidden books in China. http://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/eyes-on-xiaoze-xie

Ice Skating at the Pond
January 4 – February 19, 2018
Come join the Shops at Southlands at The Pond for some ice skating. https://www.shopsouthlands.com/event/ice-skating-at-the-pond/2145483706

Past the Tangled Present at the Denver Art Museum
November 14, 2017 – October 28, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This interactive and immersive installation by Denver artist Jaime Molina was born of imagination and the joy of discovery. Step into a different world where the paintings on the wall flow into 3-D objects that Molina created for the space. Sit on boxes painted with faces and play in a garden of fabricated cacti. http://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/past-tangled-present

Creatures of Light at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (upcoming)
February 23- June 10, 2018
They light up our lives, but have you ever wondered how? Delve into the world of living things that blink, glow, flash, and flicker, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths. The new exhibition Creatures of Light explores the mysterious world of bioluminescence and biofluorescence, visible light emitted by living things. This enlightening experience features larger-than-life models, engaging immersive environments, fun activities, and real animals, fungi, and minerals that get their glow on. http://www.dmns.org

Hey Moms! You Probably Spoke to Your Child’s Predator Today

A Mother’s Gift

An open letter By Erin Lockwood – author of Things You Can’t Take

 This open letter is a real conversation I had with one of my daughters. I put it on paper because I feel it’s a message that all parents should share with their kids. It’s based on true events that inspired and supports my newest fictional work, “Things You Can’t Take”, that was released January, 23rd 2018. My hope is that my personal experience is shared with as many parents as possible to shed light on the relevant subject of sexual assault and bring awareness to my book’s power. Please share with your sons, daughters, mothers and friends.

Dear daughter,

We have to have a long talk tonight because something happened. It was small. Tiny. Just a little blip in your day that you almost didn’t mention because it seemed insignificant. Well, I’m sorry honey. Though you thought it was a small thing, what happened was not insignificant.

Please listen up, because this is important. You’re getting old enough to learn something bigger because I can’t always be there to protect you. So here it is.

When a grown man, who has no relation to you and no relation to your parents—someone who is an adult and only a friend of a friend—wants to hang out and talk with you instead of the other adults, that’s a problem. Yes, it’s just a conversation. Yes, it feels good that someone is paying attention to you. I know how beautiful, funny, smart and wonderful you are to be around. But under no circumstances is it appropriate for an adult to try to form a friendship with you, especially someone who is outside of our family’s small circle of trust. Yes, I’m sorry, but it’s small. I can see in your eyes that this doesn’t make sense to you.

We were all in the same room together. There was never a time when you were alone with this man, but there were other kids at the party you should have been playing with and there were other adults he should have been talking to. I already knew I was going to have to chat with you about it. But when you told me he asked when your birthday was, and said he was going to put it in his phone, I knew we needed to have a really big chat and we needed to have it fast.

First, let me tell you that you did nothing wrong. It seems confusing to you that I’m making such a big deal about you telling someone when your birthday is. You feel as if it’s a small, insignificant fact. I understand how you see it that way. But this is a big deal. The way I see it is different.

I’m not saying that man you talked with is or isn’t a predator. But I want you to have a bigger understanding so that if you should come across a predator and I’m not around to protect you, you are better equipped to protect yourself. Or better yet, prevent needing to protect yourself.

A sexual predator doesn’t always act impulsively. So many—too many—of them nurture their relationship with their victims slowly and steadily, over time. If you tell him when your birthday is, you won’t be surprised when he talks to you near your birthday. That won’t seem strange. Then when he says he wants to do something for you for your birthday, it will seem natural to you. Slowly, he can build your trust in a way that feels easy to you and you might not see coming.

I love how well-mannered and sweet you are. But you can be well-mannered and sweet and still state your boundaries. A lesson I wish I learned when I was your age.

I’ve wanted to keep you protected in my bubble since the day you were born. In many ways you still are protected in my bubble. But that won’t always be the case. So I’m having these hard conversations now. Because I can promise you one thing: I sure as hell won’t risk having these conversations after it’s too late.

I know it’s not easy being my daughter. I can be a little “helicopter-y” and overbearing at times, because to me, nothing is more important than your safety.  But there is a reason why I am the way I am. See… I know all too well how a predator can be subtle at first. How they can start when you’re young, with very small things. I also know that behavior like that only escalates.

My mother—your grandmother—had a sister who married a not-so-great guy. Nobody seemed to catch onto that for a long time. He was family and I knew him as far back as I can remember. I also remember him slipping his hand down the back of my pants whenever he hugged me. The first time he did that was when I was five years old. I didn’t know anything about what was and wasn’t appropriate when I was five. He was family and his hand would touch my little tushy under my pants. Unfortunately, when it first started happening, I was too young to know it wasn’t okay.

Small intrusions like that happened for years. And I knew I wasn’t the only one. I heard him talk to other girls my age in a way that made me very uncomfortable. But I lacked the confidence to say anything about it. And I definitely didn’t want to risk being wrong if I told my parents. So he continued to get away with it. And like I said, it escalated. It grew into a relationship that felt secretive. Like he was doing me a favor by talking to me and behaving a certain way around me, and that I would be the uncool one if I told a “real” adult like his wife or my parents.

One day when I was seventeen, my parents and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for a little family get-together. My grandparents were there too. I was in my senior year of high school and when mom asked where I was with my college applications, I told her I wanted to apply for the University of Oregon but hadn’t printed out the application yet. My uncle said, “Let’s go upstairs and print it out now.” Nobody saw anything wrong with that small idea. Including me, at the time.

Once we got upstairs to his office, he closed the door behind him. Still, I didn’t see anything wrong. Closing a door is a small, simple thing that many people do every day. Plus, my parents were downstairs! What could go wrong? Well, a lot. He closed the door and let me pull up the application on the computer. It was a 30-something page document and back then, printers took a very, very long time. I knew I would be alone in that room with him for up to a half hour. And he knew it too.

I didn’t start to feel nervous until my uncle bent down and pulled a bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey out from a cabinet with not one glass, but two. I knew the other glass was for me. It wasn’t exciting to think about an adult allowing me to taste alcohol – it was terrifying. My gut was telling me something wasn’t right, and alcohol didn’t seem glamorous or fun. I knew it was the last thing I needed in that situation. But still, I didn’t feel confident enough to leave the room.

As I suspected, he poured a glass for himself before pouring another and handing it to me. I said, “No thank you,” and waved it away. But he persisted and told me to stop being a baby. Over and over he told me it wasn’t a big deal. “Just drink it,” he’d push, seeming annoyed with my immaturity. I gathered whatever courage I had in me and took the drink and had a sip.

I hated everything about it. Especially how I felt out of control, how I wasn’t able to say no in a way that made a difference. And even though he was the adult, he didn’t respect no for my answer, and that was so very wrong of him.  

You’re asking me if I regret taking the alcohol. My answer is “no.” I didn’t do anything wrong. I did the best I could for being a young seventeen year old who was with someone she should have been able to trust. Nothing I did was wrong. All of the responsibility lays on him. He was the adult who knew better.

I hate that I need to tell you the rest of my story. But I don’t hate it as much as I hate keeping from you the lessons it taught me.

My uncle then started asking me if I had any sexual fantasies. Immensely inappropriate. Never okay. But like I said before, this relationship had been slowly developing into one where I couldn’t differentiate the last inappropriate thing he said or did from the next. Still, I knew he was going too far. I told him I wasn’t comfortable. I told him I didn’t want to answer him. But he pressed on.

I didn’t think to call for my parents because I had been conditioned to feel confused about the lines between right and wrong where he was concerned. But most importantly, I remember being paralyzed with fear. I had no idea how far he would go. And in my mind, I didn’t know how to stop him. Because my words certainly weren’t working.

My uncle was a textbook predator.

He circled around me, continuing to remind me to drink my whiskey. I was too scared to drink the whiskey, but I was even more afraid to not do what he said. So I pretended to drink, spitting the liquid back out every time I brought it to my lips. At that age, I was doing what I thought I could. And breaking the rules by drinking alcohol was the least of my worries.

During this encounter, he never touched me in a private place. He stood behind me and said that if I couldn’t think of a sexual fantasy, he would help me think of one. Then he described to me what it would be like if two naked men approached me and began to touch my privates. I remained still and quiet, scared out of my mind and more uncomfortable than I’ve ever felt in my life.

The only time he laid a hand on me was when he was describing this fantasy for me. He touched the back of my neck in what you might consider “a safe place” to touch. But like everything else he had done, things started in a safe place and escalated – and this could have ended at a very dangerous place.

When he was in the middle of describing a sexual scene for me, the printer stopped. My senses were heightened. That printer sounded like a 200-man army marching back and forth across each paper, over and over and over. I was hyper aware of it. As soon as that sound stopped, I jumped up, grabbed the stack of papers and ran out the door. I ran downstairs, grabbed my keys (because I drove separately from my parents), yelled, “Bye!” and ran out the door. I got in my car and drove home, trying to process everything that happened.

With one small infringement into my comfort zone, starting years ago with sticking his hands down my pants when I was five, he had weaseled his way into having this power over me over a decade later. I knew it. I hated it. Even though deep down I knew exactly how bad of person he was, and how wrong his relationship with me was, I didn’t have the confidence or experience to verbalize my intuition.

I felt guilty for feeling so affected by the encounter, especially because my uncle never actually touched my privates. For the first two weeks after it happened, I didn’t say a word to my parents but I couldn’t sleep, I had a hard time eating, and I couldn’t focus on anything in school. I spiraled downward and wasn’t able to function the way I should. It got to a point where I knew I had to tell my parents because emotionally, I was dealing with something beyond my capabilities.

I’ll be honest: I don’t think either of my parents handled it very well.

Your grandmother never spoke to me about it. We should have had long talks like the one I’m having with you now, but she never said a word. What hurt the most is that she didn’t want to be rude to my uncle, so she never said anything to him – even after she found out how inappropriate he had been with me.

So I’ll tell you right now that if anyone ever behaves inappropriately like that with you, there’s not a chance in hell that I’d be polite or ignore it. I’d control the rage I will probably feel and would take precise and protective actions to make sure that person would never be able to do anything to you again. 

Your grandpa handled it very differently. He blamed himself. He felt responsible for not being able to protect me and I remember when he said, “I feel like I failed you as a father.” That broke my heart. Truly, it hurt more to hear him say that than any of the emotional pain I felt from my uncle’s behavior toward me. I wanted the whole thing to go away. Hearing that made me wish I had never said anything to either of them.

So I have a promise to make you: I will carry your load.

As your mother, I will do everything I can to help prevent you from being in a situation like mine. But if you should ever find yourself being assaulted or abused by anyone, you can tell me. In fact, you can tell me if you merely feel uncomfortable around someone. I will believe you, guide you, and make sure it’s handled by a responsible adult. You’re a child now, and I’ll probably see you as my child for the rest of my life. I would want you to focus on healing from your experience. You let me handle making sure that predator receives justice for what he did to you.

Most importantly, I will tell you that it was not your fault. No matter what happened, you never did anything to deserve it. And what happened to me was not my fault either. I’m having this talk with you now because I want to make sure we do everything we can to keep you safe. But if something should happen, the only one responsible will be the one who committed the crime. It would never be your fault.

I want to make sure you understand this because my parents’ reaction to my uncle’s behavior led me to a very dangerous place. After the incident, I felt as if I couldn’t tell them anything. Even after I turned eighteen, I still needed my parents, but I couldn’t talk to them or let them help me when I had a problem. And unfortunately, at eighteen, I came across a very big problem.

Since grandma was an ice skating instructor. I went with her to a competition so I could see my friends. I was on winter break from my first year at the University of Oregon. I was as naive as could be and didn’t have the benefit of these long talks like you and I have now.

There was a party to celebrate the end of the competition. There was also an after-party, hosted by someone I’d known for years who had always made me very nervous. Let’s call him John. Back when I was a 12-year-old girl, he was a 20-year-old man. I never liked the way he looked at me and I had tried to keep my distance, but since I tried to stay clear, he sent a friend to tell me that, “John wants you.” I shook my head nervously, wanting to tell this friend that I want nothing to do with John. But the words wouldn’t come out. All I could do was shake my head, too shy and nervous to use my words. And this small thing was something I never ended up mentioning to my parents.

 So years later, after trying to keep my distance as best I could, here was John again, hosting an after-party in his hotel room. I came to the competition to see my friends, and since all my friends were going to the party, I wanted to go, too. I remember convincing myself that since I was eighteen, I was a woman now, and that I didn’t have to be afraid or nervous around him. Besides, I thought, what can go wrong in a hotel room full of friends and other people I know?

 So I went to the party with my friend. Let’s call her Jane. We agreed we wouldn’t leave without each other, and our main objective was to have fun and celebrate. I felt happy and confident as we approached the room. As soon as we walked in, John walked straight up to me, as if he’d been waiting for me all night. He asked if I wanted a drink. I did, so I said yes and followed him to a long dresser in the room. He was the host with the alcohol, so I didn’t see anything wrong with taking a drink from him. Besides, I wasn’t driving and was surrounded by people I knew, so I couldn’t see the harm in having a drink.

 He handed me a very small glass with only a little bit of liquid in it. And that was the last I remember of the party.

 You see, my friend Jane left without me. When I saw her the next morning, she told me that John had put me in the bathroom until everyone else left. It wasn’t until she was ready to leave that she realized I was in there. She told him she wasn’t leaving without me and demanded that he show her where I was. He humored her and led the way into the bathroom where I was lying in the bathtub. He picked me up and told her that he was going to prove I wanted to stay with him. Jane later told me that when he lifted me, my head cocked back and my eyes rolled back. And then he kissed my mouth.

 My friend got scared and left me alone with John.

 I don’t remember much of the middle of the night with him, but I knew he took me to his bed. I can remember not being able to feel anything—not even my own vocal chords. I wanted to scream, but nothing would come out. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t move. There were a few moments of clouded consciousness where I could hear the phone ringing from the bedside table next to us. And I could hear constant pounding on the door. Jane told me later that she regretted leaving me, so she asked another friend, David, to help her out. David was pounding on the door, and Jane was calling from the hotel phone in the hall. But John never answered and he never got up to see who was at the door.

 When I woke up in the morning and finally had control over my own body again, I found myself covered by several sheets and comforters, even over my head. I had no idea why, and I wasn’t going to stick around to find out. I grabbed what I could and ran out the door. I left my jacket and my right sock. They were the least of my worries. What I needed was to find my mom.

 By coincidence, Jane was on her way up to find me as I ran down the hall toward the elevator. I asked her why she left me and she explained her side of the story. Jane detailed the way John kissed me in the bathroom, how she regretted leaving me, how she and David tried calling and pounding on the door. Listening to her, I was confused but full of adrenaline because what she said made me feel safe to state, “I think John raped me.” To tell you the truth, I have no idea why I said, think. In my mind, I knew. I think I was afraid to admit that something so heinous had happened to me. I didn’t want it to be true, so I left that door open. But NOTHING could have prepared me for her reaction. She said, “You can’t accuse someone of something like that. You could ruin his life.”

 Instead, it ruined my life. At least for a while. As an adult now, why any woman or human being would have had that response to what I told her, is beyond my comprehension. Those wrong words were said to me at the wrong time. It changed everything in that moment and forced me to bottle my exploding feelings inside, when I should have felt secure in telling a trusted friend a terrible thing had happened to me. I was so scared that I caught an incurable sexually transmitted disease, or that I could be pregnant. But I said nothing and kept it all to myself. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. What was worse is that, given what happened with my uncle, I felt like I couldn’t tell my parents. I just wanted to pretend the whole thing never happened.

 So I did pretend. Sure, over time, the impact lessened, but the memories and the suppressed pain never started to feel better until years later, when I started to share my story with my friends. As I grew older and wiser, my confidence grew with me. But here’s the thing: the real healing didn’t start until I admitted to myself what happened to me that night. I was raped. It’s a terrible thing, but that’s exactly what happened.

 I never saw my friend Jane again, and I hope you never have a friend like her. Of all of the awful things that happened at that hotel, Jane’s reaction affected me the most. I know that I’m often critical of the people you surround yourself with, my sweet girl. And that’s because I know how precious you are to me. Your friends are precious to someone else too. I want you to have the self confidence to surround yourself with real people who can help you in crisis instead of hurt. And I want you to be that same kind of friend to them. I have high standards for both you and the people you allow in your life.

 You want to know if there is anything I would have done differently. That’s a complicated question because the answer is yes and no. I can’t change my parents and the non-communication my mother had with me. I can’t change or control either of the predators in my life.

 But what I wish was that I knew the “rules.” These are rules that I make sure you understand very clearly. You know that you’re never allowed to be in a room with an adult with the door closed, because there is no circumstance when that is appropriate. You can go ahead and blame it on me. Tell them, “My mom doesn’t let me close doors.” You can even tell them how lame I am. I don’t care, as long as the rules are being followed.

 I want you to know that there is a difference between right and wrong. I also want you to know that there is a way to hold those boundaries, even while being well-mannered and sweet. Anyone who respects you will respect your rules. And a big lesson I want you to learn is that if you state the rules and someone doesn’t respect it, they are likely wanting to cause you harm.  If you said to the man, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to tell you when my birthday is,” or “I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to give personal information out,” his reaction would have told you if his intentions were true or not. And if someone doesn’t respect your rules, most definitely, tell me about it.

 As you get older, there will be other rules. New rules. I’m not dumb enough to expect you to wait until you are 21 to have your first taste of alcohol. If that’s what you choose, I’m all for it. But my main concern will be your safety with alcohol. Never, ever, under any circumstances should you ever let someone make you a drink. I don’t care how well you know someone—I want you to be responsible for what you are putting in your body.

 I wish I knew those rules when I was your age, and I wish I followed them. But to answer your question in a different way, no. I don’t regret anything that has ever happened to me. In fact, now that I’m an adult and have dealt with my past, I embrace my experiences. I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Do you know why? Because I will gladly keep those experiences that made me wiser, smarter, and experienced enough to be as protective of you as I am. I want my experiences to be my gift to you, so you never have to experience them yourself.

 Please do not waste this gift. Use it to the best of your ability, and let it make you stronger and wiser so that this world can be a better place for you. And pass your wisdom on to your children, so the world can be an even better place for them too.

 I love you with all my heart and so much more. So please understand that the reason you think I overreact sometimes is because I love you too much to let a little thing pass by. You’re worth the little things.

 Now get to bed. We’ll talk more tomorrow, and the next day, and for the rest of our lives.

3 Awesome Colorado Timeshare Resorts for a Family Ski Vacation

You’ve rented hotel rooms, condos and cabins for your Colorado ski vacation but have you ever considered a timeshare? Find out why this is a great option.

When searching for family-friendly accommodations in Colorado, you may think you need to sacrifice luxury and amenities to ensure you get the space and comfort you need. When in fact, it is possible to have all the comforts of home while having access to the fantastic offerings of an upscale resort when you buy or rent a Colorado timeshare.

Regardless of the size of your family, timeshares are available in cozy studios all the way up to four bedroom suites. These suites will also come with features like full kitchens for your cooking convenience, spacious living areas for family game night, dining rooms for enjoying meals prepared en-suite, and multiple bathrooms to make getting ready for the day a breeze. Not to mention, you’ll enjoy dozens of resort amenities like swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, hot tubs, and restaurants. The majority of Colorado timeshares are located right within the state’s most popular ski resort, making it incredibly convenient to access the slopes. With so many resorts to choose from, here are the top three timeshare resorts for a family ski vacation in Colorado.

(Grand Timber Lodge)

Grand Timber Lodge is located in the heart of beautiful Breckenridge, and is host to fun activities for the entire family such as ice skating, sleigh rides, train rides, dog sledding, family movie night, and more. Tucked right between Peaks 8 and 9 of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, you will love the ski-in/ski-out access out on the Snowflake Light. If you need some adult time, send the kids to the arcade while you have a tasty cocktail at the Lodgepole Bar and Grill, or indulge in a rejuvenating massage at the Refresh Spa. After a long day, your gorgeous accommodations will help you to relax with a fireplace, flat screen TVs, and deep jetted bathtubs.

Grand Lodge on Peak 7 is situated just steps from the Independence SuperChair and is also located right inside of the BreckConnect gondola route for ideal convenience whether you are looking to ski or explore Breckenridge from above. With a Grand Lodge timeshare, you and your family can enjoy features like games and movies at the family fun center, dining at the Sevens Restaurant, sledding, skating, and snowmobiling. Lodging is available in sizes all the way up to a four-bedroom with plenty of room for everyone. King and queen size beds will make the kids feel like royalty, and the private balconies allow you to overlook the gorgeous peaks at all hours. 

Mountain Valley Lodge makes it easier than ever to access powdery slopes and the charm of downtown Breckenridge. Kids can splash in the outdoor heated swimming pool while adults overlook in the peace and relaxation of the whirlpool spas. The resort also offers daily activities for all ages, a fitness center, and rugged surrounding trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Mountain Valley Lodge is also just 40 minutes away from Keystone, where you can enjoy a night time skiing outing that everyone will love. Villas are cozy, but well-equipped with a full kitchen, living room, dining area, and whirlpool tub. 

Colorado timeshare resales and rentals are the best way to ensure you can enjoy a lavish getaway for a price that is significantly below retail. You can shop the secondary market online, from the comfort of your home and rent a Colorado timeshare through a private owner to get a taste of what the timeshare lifestyle is all about. Alternatively, buying a timeshare resale won’t only save you thousands on a lifetime of great vacations, but they are a fantastic way to ensure you make time for family getaways and make a memories that will last forever.

Visit the Centennial State more easily and affordably with a Colorado timeshare. Learn more about Colorado vacations today by checking out SellMyTimeshareNow.com. 

Additional Resources

25 of Colorado’s diverse winter accommodations

Colorado family ski directory

Kids ski free at these 22 Colorado resorts

In partnership with Mile High Mamas

Deals: Red Envelope Giveaway, Bicycle Village Grand Opening & More!

I have never professed to be much of a cook. My typical line is something like, “I can cook it if it is boxed, bagged or frozen.”  But I do have some OK taste buds and remarkably so do my kids. I have recently tried a couple different remedies to this. I tried the Farm Oven Bakery Bites. These are little treats that the owner created to try to get her kiddo to eat her veggies but have to say, I’d rather eat the actual veggies than these little bites. But the concept is fantastic and my daughter took them in her backpack to school. I also tried Kilyn’s Kitchen Meals. The meals were a cross between a fixed meal like Blue Apron and a frozen dinner (only the stuff is fresh). Easy to make by just boiling and done in under 5 minutes. But again, I like my veggies fresh (the rest of the meal parts were good).  
 
Free Days. The beginning of each month is the time for free days. Don’t miss these freebies at the Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus Target Tuesday Nights and the Clyfford Still Museum.
 
Baskin Robbins. Celebrate the end of the month. Baskin Robbins celebrates 31 just $1.50 a scoop on January 31.
 
Krispy Kreme. Download the Krispy Kreme app, then join their rewards program and get a free donut on January 31. Easy as…donuts?
  
Plum Consignment Progressive Sale. Every year my favorite consignment store, Plum Consignment hosts a three-week progressive sale. We are in the second of three weeks which means more on sale!!! This week (week of Jan 22) save 40% and the following week save 50% on seasonal merchandise on sale.
 
IHOP All You Can Eat. Breakfast lover? We have a delicious deal for you – All You Can Eat Pancakes at IHOP! To celebrate their 60th anniversary and show appreciation for you, take advantage of limitless pancakes for $3.99! Dig into unlimited orders of freshly made, world-famous Buttermilk Pancakes now through February 12th. Fulfill your pancake craving!
 
Outlets at Castle Rock.   Kung Hei Fat Choi! That’s Happy New Year in Chinese. Thursday, Feb. 1 – Monday, Feb. 19, Outlets at Castle Rock will be honoring the ancient Chinese “Red Envelope” gifting tradition by giving away red envelopes filled with gift cards and center promotions at customer service. Participating shoppers will be able to enjoy exclusive discounts around the center. The red envelope tradition symbolizes good luck and well wishes for the New Year and is a gift from Outlets at Castle Rock to express appreciation for the center’s wonderful shoppers and guests from all over the world. To participate in the Red Envelope Giveaway, shoppers can visit customer service and say “Happy New Year!” During the same time frame, traditional lanterns and decorations will be available for kids 12 years old and under at customer service. In Chinese and other eastern Asian cultures, lanterns represent prosperity and letting go of the previous year. By returning to customer service to show off their decorated lantern, participants will receive an $8 center gift card, a number that traditionally indicates good fortune in China. All participants are able to take their decorated lanterns home. Additional information is available at: https://www.outletsatcastlerock.com/events
 
RisasIn honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month (February), Risas Dental and Braces will offer free exams and x-rays for all children ages 17 and under between Feb. 1 – Feb. 28. Parents can make an appointment for the free exam and x-rays at any of Risas Dental’s offices, by calling 720-536-0401 or they can book online at www.risasdental.com.
 
Westminster Colorado Ski &Sport/Bicycle Village Grand Opening.  After months of remodeling, the new co-branded Colorado Ski & Sports and Bicycle Village store will celebrate its Grand Opening at 9170 Wadsworth Parkway in Westminster with activities for all ages. Festivities run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3 and include the following: Learn from the Pros: Children can get an introduction to snowboarding with Burton’s Riglet Park; “Learn to Bike” with the team at Bicycle Village; Boot fitting experts from Colorado Ski & Sports will be available to assist for adults and children with customized boot fitting. Plus, you can win great prizes like The Family Snow Package – valued at $3,000; Family Bike Package – valued at $1,750; Family Getaway – valued at $1,000; And there will be all kinds of other family-friendly activities include face-painting, food from The Vanilla Bean Pastry Truck, Spyder’s Olympic Uniforms on display, and giveaways.
 
Yogurtland. The popular self-serve dessert spot, Yogurtland announces plans for the seventh annual International Frozen Yogurt Day celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 6 where fans can enjoy free frozen yogurt, ice cream and toppings from 4pm – 7pm at all participating locations. You can count on me loading up birthday cupcake batter yogurt and loads of candy! 
 
KneadersWednesday, January 31st, Kneaders Bakery & Café is celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day with a Buy One, Share One. Kneaders invites customers to bring friends and family to the bakery and celebrate the fun winter holiday with the warm, rich and flavorful taste of their European Hot Chocolate. Perfect drink to enjoy with a fresh baked cinnamon roll or any of the handcrafted pastries you will find in the bakery.
 
Snow Mountain Ranch. Are you ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics? The Snow Mountain Ranch (part of YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, CO) team is gearing up and offering Olympic-themed programs this month and next (dates below). Overnight and day visitors pick up an Olympics passport and get a stamp for every activity completed. Once the passport is full, guests can enter to win a two-night stay in a lodge room at Snow Mountain Ranch. Upcoming Olympic-themed weekends include are coming up the next one is Feb. 2–4 and Feb. 9-11 (there are additional dates in Feb). Live like an Olympian with activities including bobsledding, broomball, cross country ski races, curling, ice dancingnerf gun biathlon, podium photos, Olympic crafts and so much more. If you feel like training for the next summer Olympic games, you can head indoors to practice some swimming, archery, or basketball.
 
Denver Travel, Design & Food Festival. I love expos. Because for a small amount of money you can spend a n entire day walking around and dreaming. This event happens Feb 10 & 11 at the National Western Complex. It is just $10 at the door  – but you can save $3 per ticket by buying online before you go! Travel agents get Free Admission with Business card at the door.
 
Loveland Fire and Ice Festival. The Nation’s Sweetheart City comes alive for Valentine’s Day with the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival, Feb. 9-11. Two days and three full nights of fun featuring an explosive fireworks show with music and lights, ice sculpting, live entertainment, fire performances, the new Fire Sculpture People’s Choice competition, Brewing and Distilling Arts and more. Bring your loved ones and celebrate. Learn more at LovelandFireAndIce.com
 
Exxon and Shell BOGO Ski Tickets. Buy 10 gallons or more of gas at a participating Shell or Exxon Station – Get a Buy One Get One Free Ski ticket voucher. Take that voucher to one of the participating ski resorts (Copper, Crested Butte, Powderhorn, or Sunlight). When you purchase one adult lift ticket you get one free.

Family Travel: 24 Hours in Grand Valley

This is me:

And these are my kids:

Let’s do a recount:

  • 1 of me
  • 2 of them

Oh. And we all ski.

Here’s what taking two kids skiing all by yourself looks like:

  1. Pack the gear.
  2. Pack the snacks.
  3. Check the gear. Realize you packed ski helmets for exactly no one. Pack the ski helmets.
  4. Separate children who can’t seem to stop fighting even though it’s 9pm and they should be in bed.
  5. Check the snacks. Realize you packed a lot of applesauce…and nothing else. Add a few cheese sticks and Clif Kids bars.
  6. Threaten the children that if they don’t go to sleep RIGHT NOW, no one in this house will ever ski EVER AGAIN.
  7. Realize you forgot to put the skis on the car. Put skis on the car.
  8. Prep the coffee for the next day.
  9. Crash in to bed.

And all of that is BEFORE you even wake up two sleepy kids, drag them out of bed, drive them to the ski area, dress them in snow clothes and ski boots (PLEASE. Somebody make a ski boot that is easy for children to put on by themselves. Anyone? Anyone?), and actually get them on the hill.

And that’s what made our recent trip to Grand Junction and Powderhorn so…easy and relatively simple.

I’ve wanted to ski at Powderhorn for ages and when Hazel, the 8-year-old, told me at the beginning of the ski season that she wanted to try skiing other resorts, Powderhorn was at the top of the list. It’s an easy two hours away from our home in Gunnison. It’s relatively small and accessible. And the best part? You can stay in warm and dry Grand Junction and still spend the day skiing wide open runs on uncrowded snow. Now THAT is my idea of a perfect ski trip.

By the time I pulled into the Residence Inn in Grand Junction on Saturday evening, I was ready for a glass of wine and a comfy bed. I was NOT ready to put two irritable and tired children to sleep. The cookies at the front desk saved my sanity and my patience. The breakfast buffet in the morning, full of boiled eggs (my 4-year-old’s current obsession) and fruit loops made my kids-and me- very happy. The bed was quite comfy too.

After a truly spectacular drive up to Powderhorn from Grand Junction, we parked right in front of the lodge.

Let me repeat that: WE PARKED RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE LODGE.

This is step one to an awesome ski day with kids- make the walk to all of the services about 10 feet long, at most. Powderhorn was winning from the minute we arrived.

The kids and I spent the first few hours cruising up the high speed quad and down Stagecoach, the meandering green run that delighted 4-year-old Tygh and sent Hazel looking for bumps, jumps and swooshes. We were greeted on every lift ride, we never felt threatened by aggressive snowboarders and we had sweeping views of the Grand Valley below.

Honestly? Skiing with my two kids has never felt so easy.

After lunch, Hazel took off to spend her afternoon on her Ski Patrol Ski Along. On our lift ride to meet the ski patroller she was going to shadow, we met the ski patrol director who regaled us with tales of owning a bike shop in Fruita, helping to build mountain bike trails in the valley and the skiing history of Powderhorn, this year being the area’s 50th anniversary and all.

Can I say this? I have never once- not once- had a similar conversation with a ski patroller at my home ski area, which will currently remain unnamed.

During Hazel’s Ski Along, she helped in an injury transport, rode in a snowmobile, hung from the ski patrol shack ceiling in a harness and closed down the mountain.

Hazel was the happiest 8-year-old I have ever seen.

Meanwhile, Tygh had grown tired, which is known to happen to skiers who are 3 feet tall. He and I headed for the lodge, which not only provided kid toys at the ready, but also ample space to play with his own toys. I pulled out the laptop, wrote a paper and generally reveled in the fact that the whole day seemed impossibly easy.

Don’t let all of those pictures on social media fool you: skiing alone with two children is hard, hard work. It is exhausting and you will often wonder if it is all really worth it. I am here to tell you, it IS worth it. Places like Powderhorn remind you that it will never be completely effortless, but it can be easIER. It can also be fun and beautiful and yes, sometimes even relaxing.

Eryn Kaiser lives, works and plays in the Gunnison Valley. You can read her writing on her blog, Gunny Girl, or find her on Twitter,Instagram or Facebook.

Add your camp to our Denver Summer Camp Guide 2018

Mile High Mamas will soon be launching our Denver Summer Camp Guide 2018. Now through March 1 you may post your listing for free: milehighmamas.com/places/camps

We have other affordable advertising options available as well. Be sure to email us themilehighmamas [at] gmail [dot] com.

Bring on summer!

February Family Volunteer Event

Want to do something special for our Veterans?

Join Volunteers of America on Saturday, February 10th from 9-11 a.m. at the Volunteers of America Administration Building to make homemade Valentine’s Day cards for the men and women who have served our country. Volunteers of America will supply the construction paper, scissors, and glue but if there is something special you would like to add to your cards like stickers or pictures please feel free to bring them! Sign up here. 

Family activities to do at home

Want an easy fun project to do with your kids at home? Try a no-sew fleece blanket, when you’re finished with your blankets you can drop them off with Megan Harding at the Volunteers of America Admin Building. Please email mharding@voacolorado.org or call 303-297-0408 to set up a drop off time. Click here for instructions.

Dishing Out Warm Cups & Coats for Veterans

We love giving back to our veterans as often as possible! This month, amazing donor and friend, Betty Kuhl, served a delicious chili meal at our Veterans Services Center for homeless veterans. Our honored guests were also able to pick out a brand new jacket to help keep them warm this winter. Thank you Betty, staff and volunteers for continuing to support and give back to our troops!

#MeToo and Kids

In the wake of high profile sexual abuse disclosures, accusations, indictments, and the social media campaigns of #metoo and #timesup, I am cautiously hopeful that we can usher in a new era in which the children of today are raised to understand and practice consent as adults—an era when “Yes” means “Yes” and “No” means “No.” And if someone can’t find their voice to say “No,” because of fear or discomfort, it is still a “No.”
 
I believe we need to address three urgent issues:

  1. Parents and our communities need to spend extra time teaching consent to boys and young men to counter the still ubiquitous images and messages of women as sexual objects who are supposedly just playing coy and need to somehow be persuaded or coerced into sexual activities.
  2. And likewise, we need to spend extra time teaching girls and young women, that they are intelligent, have a voice, and own the right to use that voice. We need to give them opportunities to express themselves and celebrate forthrightness.
  3. And, you, as parents, need to spend as much time building prevention teams as you are teaching body-safety rules. Body-safety rules alone are not enough. When you talk with a substitute caregiver (teacher, coach, nanny, tutor, etc.), you are letting them know that you are paying attention. And based on my conversations with child sexual abusers, a substitute caregiver, who is a sexual abuser, is less inclined to groom a child whose parent says, “May I tell you about my child’s body safety rules?” (See Build Your Prevention Team – the Easy Way).

Please read my posts and start teaching your children about consent today – and also take charge of building or expanding your prevention team.

Your Partner in Safety,

Feather

Involve Board: The New Way to Find Opportunities for Your Teen

Last year, I connected one of my most shy students to a program called ArtLab, a program that uses art to address social issues. Since joining, she has become more empowered and more confident than she’s ever been. She would be the first to tell you that ArtLab changed her as a person. As an educator at a public school, I thought – what if we could do this for every student across Denver? This is why I created Involve Board.    

Involve Board is a new website for students, parents, and teachers in the Denver Metro Area. The website serves as a one stop shop for students to find opportunities ranging from volunteering, to weekend workshops on coding, to summer programs at universities.

Parents and students can create accounts and find exciting opportunities based off their interests. They are then able to pin their favorites to their own boards and apply. Think Pinterest for teen opportunities.

Extracurriculars can change a child’s future. Volunteering and participating in programs helps your teen gain soft skills, find their passions, and *bonus* looks great on their resumes. And as we know, colleges and scholarships are getting more competitive each year.

I wasted an entire year of college as a nursing major, only to discover that I hated seeing the inside of a human body. I definitely wished I would have figured that out $10,000 earlier.  Maybe if I would have known about CU Anschutz’s “Exploring Careers in Health Care” Day for high school females that would have helped me.  Getting our youth involved not only allows them to develop as people, but allows them to discover what they are passionate about. We all want our kids to be the best versions of themselves as possible. So as an educator and as an entrepreneur, I encourage you to encourage your teen to try new things and check out Involve Board.

Here are some awesome opportunities that are on Involve Board right now:

  1. LYNX National Arts and Media Camp at CU Denver: This summer immersion program is for students interested in contemporary music, film, or visual arts. Your student will meet people from around the country and get a taste of college life by being on a campus.
  2. Volunteer Open House at the Denver Children’s Museum: Visit the Museum and learn about ways to volunteer. Most students need volunteer hours to graduate – help them get those in early!
  3. Generation Teach: Not only does your student get paid, they get to see what life as a teacher is actually all about. Your student will complete two weeks of teacher training and then spend the summer teaching middle school students. I’m sure it will probably make them more appreciative of their teachers when they return to school in the fall 🙂
  4. Colorado State Patrol Youth Academy:  This academy is designed to give teens a look into the career of law enforcement as well as developing their leadership skills, team building, and understanding of today’s complex issues facing Colorado first responders.  
  5. Cornell’s CURIE Academy: Do you have a high school female who excels in math and science? Let them spend a week on Cornell’s campus learning more about careers in engineering.

There are countless more opportunities on Involve Board and more being added every week. So, whether you’re looking to have your teen volunteer, attend a summer program focused on coding, or maybe you just want to get them out of your house – check out  Involve Board today.

Maggie Dering