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Getting to the Heart of Organ Donation

Did you know that April is National Organ Donation Awareness Month?  I know it’s probably not marked on your calendar because it’s not celebrated by drinking green beer or setting off illegal fireworks.  But I feel that it is my duty to bring it to your attention so that in the future, when you think “spring” you think “kidney.”

Homeless shelter’s art club brightening kids’ lives

Julissa Valdivia, 9, and Karen Vazquez, 16, share a smile at the weekly informal art-club meeting at Joshua Station, a homeless shelter. 

Big Feelings in Little Bodies: Denver’s Resources for Grieving Kids

Imagine this.

You suddenly start crying and you can’t figure out what triggered it.  You feel angry at the world because you’ve just learned that life isn’t fair.  You’re grieving because you are living without someone you were never meant to lose.

Now imagine that you’re seven years old.

Summer Camps 2011: Overnight Camps

Mile High Mamas has the biggest, baddest round-up of overnight camps in Colorado. Be sure to use this this search tool to narrow down your options. Also, don’t miss our extensive listing of summer day camps.

Academic Treks

June-August: College-accredited summer adventures abroad with hands-on learning, community service, cultural exploration and adventure travel. Study includes: marine science, language immersion, environmental studies, wilderness medicine or cultural studies in a real world setting. High school and college credit is offered, as well as internationally recognized certifications. 14-30 day programs in June, July, August in the Caribbean, British Columbia, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Fiji, China, India and France. Various international locations; 888-833-1908, e-mail:;

Adam’s Camp — Adventure Camp

June-August: Ages 10-young adult. Activities: horseback riding, rafting, zip- line, swimming, alpine slide, mini- golf, go-carts, concerts, and a dance. Recreational camp near Winter Park; 303-563-8290, e-mail:;

Adventures Within

July 16-20: Adults and children with

Involve kids early in family’s giving ethos

Involving your children — young or grown — in your philanthropy is one of the best ways to pass on your values about community, giving back and helping others. Kids learn not only by example but also by actively participating in their family’s giving plan.

Children as young as 3 can be encouraged to donate gently used toys, books and clothes to less fortunate kids. Letting your child select what to donate and accompany you when making the donation creates a lasting impression. If your kids already have enough “stuff,” on birthdays consider encouraging your child to request that friends make donations to local charities that help kids rather than bringing gifts. The same approach can be taken during the holidays and for other events like confirmations, bar or bat mitzvahs and graduations. The invitation should specify two or three charities from which to choose.

Some ideas are the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation; Reach Out & Read Colorado; the Kempe Foundation; and the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Set the example yourself by asking others to make donations instead of giving you gifts on holidays or special occasions.

Once children start receiving an allowance or

Your opinion: A (Pink) Bone to Pick with the Susan G. Komen Foundation

I was taken aback when I read that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure was canceling their three-day walk for breast cancer in Colorado because, according to their PR agency, “it just didn’t meet financial goals.”

Nevermind the thousands of dollars Denverites have raised in what has became one of our city’s most highly-attended and beloved charity events.

Well, the fundraising giant’s public relations staff will be working overtime over their latest controversy: They are threatening legal actions around any other event and charities that use any variation of “for the cure” in their name.

Isn’t it just swell to think of donor’s funds going to

Volunteer Santa Available for Special Needs Kids & Give Back With Operation Santa

John Shager has been a Santa for 32 years and is well acquainted with the long lines and drama associated with the man in red.

He is also a four-year cancer survivor.

In an effort to give back, he is volunteering his services for FREE and is willing to visit any group of families of children with autism or special needs who need extra time to discover Santa. Photographers are available but John’s intent is to offer an experience where families can take their own pictures and have a non-rushed visit with Santa without the lines.

John’s primary goal is to be a volunteer Santa to

Rescue Mission sounds alarm on slow turkey donations

By this time last year, the Denver Rescue Mission already had secured more than 4,000 turkeys toward its 6,000-turkey goal in preparation for Thanksgiving.

This year, 12 days into the annual turkey drive, only 212 have been donated. It’s not unusual for turkey donations to lag and the mission to sound the alarm, but this year has proved more dire than usual.

“It has never been this low,” said Greta Walker, spokeswoman for the Denver Rescue Mission. “Right now, we’re underbudget for our holiday months, and demand for our services is up every day.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Rescue Mission reported it had not received a single turkey donation, but by the next day, 212 turkeys were dropped off at the downtown shelter.

“We feel the community is stepping up,” Walker said. “We hope as we get closer to the holidays and people look for a place to donate their time or money, they think of us.

“Every turkey donation does matter,” she said.

The Denver Rescue Mission uses the turkeys to feed about 1,000 people every

Mile High Mamas Bring Jewels for Hope to The Blues Jeans Bar

Take a bar full of blue jeans, a fantastic charity, darling jewelry and you have Mile High Mamas’ latest night out.

In style.

On Wednesday, Mile High Mamas partnered with The Blues Jeans Bar in Cherry Creek to host a fun evening for about 25 of Colorado’s social media moms.

Not familiar with the store? The Blues Jeans Bar is modeled after the concept of a friendly neighborhood pub and blues are housed behind an old growth wood bar. With more than 40 lines for both men and women, “jean-tenders” cater to every

A Denver Mom’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis and The Race for Her Cure

I felt a little guilty waking the kids up so early on a Sunday. But Denver’s Race for the Cure started at 7:30 a.m. and I figured, if we were all going to do this, then we might as well participate in as much of it as we can. I’d never done a Race for the Cure before, but thought that this was a good year to try it given my diagnosis back in May.

The lump was found by my gynecologist during an annual exam. Lying there on the table after he pointed it out to me and I felt it for myself, I thought, “Duh, how could I have missed this?” The lump was so obvious and superficial; it was clearly something that needed to be looked at by a doctor. I just never did the self exams before so I never felt it. I even had my first mammogram six months earlier and it wasn’t picked up.

We arrived in downtown Denver for the Race and I was blown away by the amount of people that were there. I knew it would be crowded but there were thousands upon thousands of people flooding the streets; women, men, kids, teams and groups of participants. There were lots of people participating dressed in costumes and homemade shirts and uniforms. We were wearing our white, free-with-registration Race T-shirts, although my T-shirt was dark pink with the words Survivor scrolled down the front. I was being optimistic when I signed up for the survivor shirt because I’m technically still working my way towards survivor status.

I had a bilateral mastectomy in July, and another surgery a week later to remove infected lymph nodes from my armpit. One thing I was surprised to learn throughout the whole process, and it’s probably thanks to the support from fund raisers like the Race, is the number of choices I had for how to deal with the cancer. Today, most women can dictate their plan of action in