Denver Bar Association
March 2005
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Helping Kids


Troubled and Abandoned Teens Suceed

Editor’s Note: This article continues the series inspired by DBA President Mary Jo Gross, where guest columnists write about their volunteer/charity involvement.

 
Thanks to DBA President Mary Jo Gross for the opportunity to acquaint you with two fantastic Denver-based non-profit organizations that care for our kids. I sit on the boards of Denver Children’s Home (DCH) and Urban Peak, two organizations that help kids in very distinct and important ways.

DCH is the oldest non-profit agency in Colorado. Throughout its 129-year history, the agency has sought to provide the highest quality, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art treatment to children and families. Started by a small group of Denver women, the agency began by caring

Mayor John Hickenlooper
with DCH Director
of Education
for the city’s orphaned children in 1876. Responding to the changing needs of society and of children and their families, the agency has evolved into a highly sophisticated treatment center providing both residential and outpatient programming. DCH and its amazing staff are devoted to the mission of creating a therapeutic, safe place for children and their families to heal and grow. Many of the children and families served by DCH have suffered extreme trauma, abuse and neglect.

I love Urban Peak for the same reason I love DCH — they take great care of our children. Established in 1988, Urban Peak and its affiliates (Urban Peak Denver, Urban Peak Housing Corporation, The Spot, and Urban Peak Colorado Springs) support homeless and runaway youth by offering a broad range of programs and services: street outreach; health services; a 40-bed overnight shelter in Denver and a transitional
Ingrid came to Urban Peak
after sleeping in bus stops.
She’s excited about being
at Urban Peak and is looking
forward to her future.
housing facility in Colorado Springs; basic services, such as nutritious meals, clothing, and hygiene products; case management; a GED program; job skills and placement; computer education; creative arts programs; an urban youth center that offers a safe place off the streets for youth to engage in educational, recreational and artistic programs; and housing options for homeless and high-risk youth. The goal of Urban Peak and its affiliates is to help youth ascend the peaks necessary to make the transition to adulthood. As with DCH, the Urban Peak staff is extremely devoted to the youth and is nationally recognized as a leader in the area of youth development.

After learning there
wasn’t much out there
for him without his GED,
Richard came to the
Urban Peak GED lab
to further his education.
He’s now looking
forward to college.
I am involved for somewhat selfish reasons — I am energized by the promise these kids possess, and I am invigorated by the selflessness of the staff of both agencies, who pour their hearts into the missions of each agency. Now, more than ever, in the face of continuing budget and funding cuts and reduced staffing, agencies like DCH and Urban Peak need our help.

Here are some of the many ways you can get involved. Contact Rebecca Hea at DCH, (303) 399-4890 or rhea@denverchildrenshome.org, to volunteer as a mentor or tutor, read to kids even one afternoon a week, or simply schedule a visit to the Home to see for yourself the miraculous work they do. Also, you can contact Jerene Petersen at Urban Peak, (303) 777-9198 or jerene.petersen@urbanpeak.org, to help with meals at the shelter, serve as a mentor, or go on "outreach" with a member of the Urban Peak staff to meet and assist Denver’s homeless kids. I guarantee outreach will open your eyes.

Of course, monetary contributions are greatly needed and appreciated. I urge you to visit the websites of DCH (http://www.denverchildrenshome.org) and Urban Peak (http://www.urbanpeak.org) to learn more about their important work.

Todd Fredrickson is an attorney with Otten Johnson Robinson Neff & Ragonetti and a past recipient of the Davis Award. He can be reached at tafred@ojrnr.com.


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