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Boulder Safehouse Needs Your Help: Take Our Survey to Help End Violence In Boulder County

The Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence is asking residents of Boulder County who are at least 18 years old to participate in a very short online survey in order to enhance the organization’s service offerings and to help meet organizational goals.

The Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or SPAN, is a human rights organization committed to ending violence against adults, youth and children through support, advocacy, education and community organizing. Since 1979, SPAN has provided a network of support that offers critical “safety net” services to survivors of domestic violence, helping them achieve and sustain safe, stable, self-sufficient lives for themselves and their children.

SPAN Programs include:

  • Emergency Shelter
  • Outreach Counseling
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Transitional Services
  • Training & Community Education

Participants will complete a 15-question online survey, which should take about 2  minutes to complete. Participation in the survey is voluntary, and you may choose not to continue the survey at any time. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old and residents of Boulder County. All information gathered in this survey will be anonymous and confidential. Only SPAN will collect the survey responses, aggregate the data and analyze results. Individual survey responses can not be identified.

If you are willing to participate, please go here to take the survey.

If you have any questions about SPAN or the survey, please contact SPAN at info@safehousealliance.org.

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!

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

600 volunteer mentors show up for school breakfast with dads

There is so much good in the world and this story out of Texas reconfirms that.

What do you do about a school event for dads if you don’t have a dad? Every year, the Dr. Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas, Texas, hosts a “Breakfast with Dads” event to encourage fathers and father figures to engage with their students, over 77 percent of whom have been identified as “at risk,” according to the school profile.

School principal Tracie Washington was concerned that students were opting out because they didn’t have a father or father figure of their own to invite. Community member and event organizer Kristina Dove , who works at education non-profit Big Thought, suggested putting a call out on Facebook to see if she could get 50 male friends to volunteer as “dads” for the day. They would fill the gap that would prevent students from participating in the breakfast. At first, Dove posted on her personal page, but after a friend suggested she make it public, the post was shared over 120 times in the two weeks leading up to the December 14 event.

“Our initial goal was to find 50 volunteers,” said Dove. “We ended up with 600.”

Guilt-free Mom’s Night Out that gives back to school

It started with the “Bad Moms” movie back in 2016. The premise of the movie struck a nerve with so many moms I know. Trying to be a good mom but feeling stuck at times. The whole idea of building and nurturing your own life while managing your family’s activities and well-being is tiring and sometimes downright frustrating. The comedy knew my story – as well as most moms I know. Serendipitously, that’s when my foray into producing mom’s night out events began.

A guilt-free mom’s night out where every mom could give equitably to their kid’s school and receive a swag bag was needed. I wanted to create a night where the mom tribe could become stronger through conversation and laughter. Sure we see each other’s news feeds but old school gatherings will always be the best way to connect – especially when you’re having a bad week. From the moment I had kids, my mom groups and friendships became my life jacket. Whether it was a breastfeeding group, stroller walking group, family play date, room parent group or simply a group of moms catching up during a flag football game, moms are an important niche that ‘get my drift’ literally.

After a year of running movie night events, I wanted to create something bigger.  An event with more entertainment value and where every mom could attend, regardless of what city they lived in or what school (public or private) their kids attended. All moms need a night out once in a while and all schools need funding to stay afloat and competitive.

Speaking of school funding, it’s common knowledge that Colorado is among the states that spend the least on education (per pupil). The result is that it forces schools to scale back on educational services, only with the hope of raising enough revenue (via PTA for example) to help fill the gap.

On top of that, parents expect a lot from their kids’ schools but many forget that there’s a real cost for the resources that support those expectations – including the cost to stay current with technology. When I went to school during the 70’s and 80’s, our schools were better supported. We also didn’t have to factor in ever-increasing technology costs. The only electronic equipment our classrooms had were electric typewriters. The Internet didn’t even exist. We live in different times.

If we want our future generation to be competitive, then every dollar counts. With that, my business will always have a school fundraising component.   

On January 25th, 2018, the Mom UP! Project will welcome moms at the Hangar at the Stanley Marketplace. This will be a much-needed mom’s night out after coming off from a long winter break, holidays and bringing in the new year. Along with being greeted with the much-loved swag bag, there will be pop up shops, cash bars and intriguing guest speakers to round off the event. Plus, $8 from every ticket will be donated back to the school of each attendee’s choice within Colorado.

The final takeaway is for moms to enjoy a night off and welcome in a little indulgence for their soul. www.momUPproject.buzz

Mom UP! Project combines entertainment, shopping and community giving to create a guilt-free night for busy moms

 

Family service opportunities and the 9-year-old girl who’s paving the way

Baby, it’s cold outside! Here are some great ways to serve for the holidays through Volunteers of America.

Socks for Service

Is your family looking for a last-minute volunteer project? Do you want to make a BIG impact? Give the gift of warm socks to a Veteran experiencing homelessness in Volunteers of America’s Socks for Service Program. They are looking for two new pairs of winter socks for men and women Veterans to be donated inside a gallon size Ziploc bag. ​​​​​​​

If you’d like to go above-and-beyond, ask guest to bring a pair of socks at your holiday party and have a table designated for assembling the bags. You can write an inspirational messages with a colored sharpies directly on the bag, you can have note cards and slip inside of the bags, or construction paper and makers then put together a homemade card, the options are endless!

Please contact Vanessa at vgates@voacolorado.org if you are interested in learning more about this ongoing opportunity for the women and men who have served our country.

Christmas Dinner Basket Prep and Decoration Day

On Friday, December 15th, volunteers are needed from 9-11:30 a.m. to  help set up for VOA’s Christmas Basket event and decorate their Mission. Tasks will include carrying in boxes of food, setting up the room and decorating for Christmas. Volunteers of all ages welcome and please sign-up here.  2877 Lawrence St., Denver

Pack Christmas Dinner Baskets

On Saturday, Dec.16th volunteers are needed from 9 a.m.-noon to help pack the Christmas Dinner Baskets. This task includes an assembly line of filling bags with food. Must be able to walk and be on your feet. All ages of volunteers are welcome but it is most appropriate for 10 years or older and please sign-up here2877 Lawrence St, Denver
 
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Adopt a Little Library

You don’t have to be an adult to make a difference, just ask Sophia. She is a 4th grader and had an idea, she wanted to donate her books to kids that didn’t have any. Well her idea turned into 300 donated books for both adults and children,  These some of these books were added to VOA’s little library so that the families staying at our emergency shelter have something fun to do. The others are going to our affordable housing units and to their Head Start Program.

VOA is currently looking for a group that would like to “adopt” their little library, because these families have so little they are not expecting them to leave a book so they need a group to help make sure the little library is stocked up thought the year. The shelter is close to Colfax and Sheridan, please email Vanessa for more details at vgates@voacolorado.org

Denver Mom Celebrates Deserving Kids With Birthday Cake

Kids who come to the Denver Children’s Home don’t always have someone in their lives to make them feel special. An extraordinary Colorado woman has made it her mission to change that. Cyndi Suckow founded Home Slice after hearing the story about one person’s dying wish for a birthday cake. She wanted to make sure that wasn’t a reality for kids in the Denver Metro Area.

Suckow explains to CBS Denver it’s a fairly simple process, “They tell us what they would like for their birthday, and what kind of cake they would like, and people all over the Denver metro area sign up and provide amazing birthdays for these kids.”

If you would like to sign up to help and provide special birthday for these kids, you can visit the Home Slice Facebook page.

Your holiday bird: A guide for making the perfect turkey

JON EMANUEL roasts 200 turkeys a year. That’s about 199 more than the rest of us.

So when Emanuel — the executive chef at Project Angel Heart, a nonprofit organization that delivers meals to homebound folks across the Front Range — lays out his system for a moist, picture-perfect Norman Rockwell-style Thanksgiving roast turkey, it pays to pay attention.

“I use what I call the BATTT method,” Emanuel says. “Brine. Air dry. Truss. Turn. Temperature.” He swears that this progression, from seasoning to serving, results in an impeccable turkey every time.

Emanuel isn’t the only one with a set of foolproof turkey-roasting rules. Noah Stephens of Vert Kitchen in Denver (who cooks about 500 birds a year for his restaurant’s famous turkey sandwiches) and Mark Monette of Boulder’s Flagstaff House (who ships hundreds of complete Thanksgiving dinners for his national dinner-by-mail program) also lay claim to the secrets of a

Get Ready to ROMP: The Range of Motion Projects Wants to Get Your Family Moving!

Calling all Rocky Mountain families, it’s time to get motivated for you, your community, and others around the world—it’s the annual Range of Mobility Project (ROMP) climb!

First, what is ROMP? ROMP is a technology based nonprofit organization, which provides high quality prosthetic care in underserved populations, thus enhancing mobility and unlocking human potential. ROMP believes that prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces are not simply medical devices, but instruments of personal empowerment. ROMP recognizes the dual hardships of living in poverty with a disability, and stand in solidarity with those who are made to suffer from an unequal distribution of care.

Since 2005, ROMP has seen over 6,000 patients with custom-made prosthetic and orthotic devices in Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti, Pakistan, and the US. The organization believes that training locals to provide ongoing services in their communities is the only way to fix a long-term problem.

Second . . . HOW CAN YOU CLIMB FOR THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY? HERE IS A LIST OF COLORADO CLIMBS!

Climbing for ROMP: The Main Event
Saturday July 22nd @ Mt. Sanitas in Boulder

$40 registration/donation includes: athletic shirt, breakfast, snacks, coffee, lunch sandwiches, hiking snacks, post-hike beers, games, celebration, vendor village sponsored by Whole Foods, pre-hike yoga class, kids face paint, massages. Kids are free, unless attending the kids camp. See below for more details. 

Event Schedule

9 am: Yoga with Orly Eisbart: Join us for a stretch and flow class to get you moving and ready for your hike. This is an adult only class, although anyone over 8 years old is welcome! Cost of the class is included with registration.

9:30 am: Registration Opens: please plan to leave enough time to register, grab a snack, some water, and sunscreen up before heading up the mountain. 

10 am: Hikers head out!

11:30 am: Hikers return, lunch, music, massages, face painting, Whole Foods Vendor Village

What to bring: Water, sunscreen, hat, and sturdy shoes!

 SANITAS CLIMBING FOR ROMP KIDS CAMP

Do you want to hike without your kids? Arts & Minds Colorado, a licensed and insured provider of children’s programming, will be providing a kid’s camp with a mini-hike, art project, yoga, and more! You will have the opportunity to choose this option during registration.

Register for hiking and kids camp here!

 Climbing For ROMP: The Ultimate Challenge
Saturday, July 22nd: 6:45 am
Grays & Torreys (two 14ers: one day)
$40 donation includes athletic shirt, snacks, and post climb celebration
Register and details here

Climbing For ROMP: Ibex Mt. Sherman Challenge
Sunday, July 23rd: 7:30 am
Register and details here

Climbing For ROMP: The Incline
Wednesday, July 26th: 6pm
Manitou Springs
Register and details here

Make-A-Wish Transforms Ritz-Carlton to Hotel Transylvania

Make-A-Wish® Colorado was honored to have granted a very special wish for a young boy in the fall of 2016 through their ongoing partnership with the Ritz-Carlton, Denver. Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor, Christopher wanted nothing more than to become a vampire, a wish inspired by his favorite movie, Hotel Transylvania. 

A committee was formed at the hotel with the goal of making his dreams a reality – the hotel would soon be turned into the “Hotel Ritz-ylvania” and the little boy would become known as “Christovitch” during his wish weekend. Throughout his time at the property, he and his family and friends were treated to a “vampire” warm welcome with staff members wearing capes and fangs before arriving to a fully decorated suite full of bats and other spooky surprises. Scenes from the animated film were enlivened with a fog-filled ballroom where a monster dance party was held while “scare school” was conducted with real-life creepy crawlers of all kinds and taught by a vampire; even an outdoor campfire with a sing-along was enjoyed before a scary-themed, interactive dinner at ELWAY’S, the hotel’s signature restaurant, filled with potions and other fun creations with the help of Denver’s Inventing Room catering group.

Christopher’s wish to be a vampire! from Make-A-Wish Colorado on Vimeo.

Every year Make-A-Wish chapters across the world come together to celebrate the creativity and partnerships that take place to create lasting memories for children and their families through a wish experience. The hotel received the news that their partnership with Make-A-Wish Colorado was the recipient of the national award for “Most Innovative Wish” during Make-A-Wish Colorado’s annual fundraiser, The Sporting Affair, at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum this past March. The event raised $260,000 which will be used to grant the wishes of Colorado children with life-threatening medical conditions.