Monday
Dec102012

Families still recovering from Hurricane Sandy

A reprinted Dec. 10, 2012 email message from Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide

Oftentimes it takes a tragedy to create a strong sense of community both nationally and globally. Early this month, we asked you to help the families throughout New York and New Jersey, who are still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

And you responded. Thanks to your compassion and generosity, our coalitions are helping children and families with essentials such as car seats, cribs and other supplies that we take for granted.
At a recent event in Staten Island, there was a family who lost their home and their car in the storm. Can you imagine? But despite the hardship, this family was so grateful for simple car seats for their twin daughters and their older brother. They just needed something to safely transport their kids as they put their life back together. At another event in New Jersey, there was a family who had been sleeping in a shelter. There were tears in the mother’s eyes when she was handed a crib. Now her little girl had a safe place to sleep. You would never think that cleaning supplies could make one father so happy, but that’s what he needed when he returned to his home and found rooms full of mold.

These are just a few of the stories that inspire us to keep doing more. Unfortunately, there are too many families who still need our help. So we’ll continue to ask. Please help make the holidays safer for those who are struggling.

It is true that nothing can make up for their tremendous loss but as we’re learning, sometimes what seems like a little thing – a car seat, a crib, cleaning supplies – can be a good start.
Thank you for your support.

Kate Carr
President, CEO, Mom
Safe Kids Worldwide

Wednesday
Dec052012

Denver Open Media‚Äôs 6th Anniversary Fundraiser Party

Looking for a fun event supporting one of Denver's community media organizations?

Denver Open Media is celebrating six years of independent voices in public access TV on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, coinciding with the monthly First Friday festivities in the Santa Fe Arts District. A cocktail reception celebrating Independent Voice of the Year honoree, Westword Editor Patricia Calhoun, begins at 6 p.m. at DOM's headquarters - 700 Kalamath Street, Denver, Colorado, 80204.

Proceeds from tickets for the VIP Dinner will go to supporting work DOM does to keep the voice of the community alive.  A small number of tickets are still available for the dinner and can be purchased online - RSVP Here.

Not able to attend? Check out the online silent auction.

Sunday
Dec022012

Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, Dec. 4

Remember your favorite charity.

Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day will take place during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Donations will be accepted through the website GivingFirst.org.

The goal is to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting local nonprofits.

Don’t forget your favorite charity this year, especially on Dec. 4.

Friday
Nov232012

Small Business Saturday a reminder to boost the local economy

Ronald Springer is owner of Denver-based Akente Express. Small Business Saturday, which lands between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is officially recognized by the U.S Small Business Administration as a day to help kick off the holiday season while supporting small businesses and the local economy. During the rush to stock up on holiday gifts, remember to patronize local businesses, such as Denver-based Akente Express, which Canady’s Corner highlighted last summer. Below is a re-post of "Akente Express celebrates 21 years."

This year marks 21 years since Ronald Springer created Akente Express, an Afro-centric store supplying fabric, art, incense, oils, jewelry, hair and skin care products.

“I’ve been blessed to do this,” says Springer, who created the idea for Akente Express when he picked up on the community’s demand for African fabric in April 1991. The New York native broke the market by purchasing fabric from his hometown and selling fabric for $9 a yard. He went home, “spent $800 on fabric, jewelry, incense oils and cute stuff, and returned to Denver and sold everything in two weeks. I thought that was pretty interesting and profitable. I went back and spent $3,200.”

He had mastered his formula. By the time Juneteenth and the Denver Black Arts festival rolled around that year, “I was selling hand over fist. Evidently, I was getting things no one else could get,” says Springer, who executed words of wisdom from Clara Villarosa, then-owner of Hue-Man Experience Bookstore.

Villarosa walked by his booth at the arts festival, looked at him and said, “You need a store.” Along the way he also picked up a partner, Michael Simmons. By Nov. 15, 1991 they had incorporated and set up shop next door to the bookstore. Not only did he get the overflow from book signings, with high-profile people as Colin Powell and Maya Angelou, he maintained business relationships with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, the Denver Center Theatre Company, school systems and events hosted in Colorado, such as the Black Ski Summit.

“The first six years we were successful,” says Springer, who initially had carts in downtown Denver bringing in $200 a day. “Then we slowed down by 40 percent.”

He says African traders were coming to town and staying, mainstream stores were offering similar products and the start-up of basement businesses. One day he counted about 40 other stores in Denver doing what he was doing. “They were doing a little bit, but not everything. But one and two percent of your business here and there taking from your business adds up.” About eight years in Simmons decided to return educational consulting with Denver Public Schools.

“I was wondering if I was doing the right thing myself,” says Springer, who on a snowy day had resigned himself to head to Pierre’s restaurant for some catfish and a drink while he rethought his plan.

“It was 6:20 p.m., and I closed at 6:30 p.m. One of the costume designers from the Denver Center for Performing Arts came in to purchase material for plays. She said 'I want this, this and this.' I thought I was going to have to cut into tomorrow, with a yard here and there. She says 'I want all of it.' By end of week she had spent about $11,000."

Read full story in our Featured Archives.

 

Saturday
Nov172012

Testimonials plant seeds of hope in mission work

Remmie Auwa (left) from Papua, New Guinea is shadowing John Ware during an internship at the Denver Rescue Mission.Local communities are responding to a request from the Denver Rescue Mission (DRM) for 10,000 turkeys to serve during its annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet and for distribution to poor and needy families through area non-profits and churches.

News media reports show individuals and corporations stepping up to the plate, not only because of that day, but because of the work the DRM does year round. In appreciation, Canady’s Corner is highlighting Evaluation Chaplain John Ware.

Ware’s battle with a crack cocaine addiction lurked in the rear view mirror as he left a 25-year career in Iowa’s printing industry to start a new life in Denver. It was 2001.

Understanding that he needed support, he enrolled in the mission’s New Life program, which helps individuals suffering from addiction, abuse or other hardships to make a lasting life change through a curriculum that integrates spiritual, emotional and addictions counseling with academics.

He graduated in 2003, was hired as a staff member in 2004 and has been at the mission ever since telling his story, in greater detail, to those who are where he has been.

A lot of the mission’s participants “had lives like I had and related to me. It’s rewarding for me to see a guy get his life changed,” says 61-year-old Ware, who works with the Mean Street Ministry, which provides guidance to individuals and families wanting to get off the streets and out of the hotels along Colfax Avenue. 

No matter a person’s situation, he knows how the Denver Rescue Mission can support them in living a better life. In his eight years with the mission, he has recruited program participants, held Bible studies, served as night watchman at the shelter, assigned living arrangements for participants and even helped participants with driving tests.

Today his office is located in The Crossing, the mission’s transitional housing facility that serves approximately 500 participants across various programs, including the New Life, Post-Graduate, STAR Transitional Housing and Respite programs. 

The Crossing also houses visitors and interns, including Remmie Auwa with the City Mission in Papua, New Guinea. The 32-year-old is at the tail end of a six-month internship with the DRM, where he is shadowing different leaders in the program, including Ware. Auwa can attest to the far-reaching impact of one person’s testimony.

“We are bringing in people who don’t think they have hope,” says Auwa, who at the age of 17 was forced to leave his home to start a new life alone because his religion was in conflict with his step-father’s religion. He is Christian. His step-father is Mormon.

The day he left his home in Popondetta was also the day he began his international journey to help others be “productive and self-sufficient citizens.” It began with a 96-mile, three-day walk through the Kokoda Trail to Port Moresby, a suburb of Papa, New Guinea. He would live literally on a dump of trash for two years. During one of those years he remembers wearing the same pair of jeans, turning them inside out for a different view. Today, Auwa travels to other countries, including the United States, to build on strategies to help others find their way.

Everyone has a different story that leads them to support systems like the Denver Rescue Mission, but it’s what they do with what they’ve learned that’s important. Ware says that even when a guy has not completed the program successfully, “a seed has been planted. A lot of guys don’t graduate the program, but years later they are self-sufficient."

Thanksgiving donations are being accepted through Tuesday, November 20 at the Lawrence Street Shelter. For more information about the mission’s year-round work, visit www.denverrescuemission.org.