2011 Posts

Local Company IQNavigator Gets Creative with Social Media to Support Champa House

Last month, IQNavigator, a local Denver technology company, started a promotion that would support the Mission’s woman ministry – Champa House – using Twitter. It’s quite simple; with every follow to their Twitter account @IQNavigator (link: http://twitter.com/iqnavigator) they are donating a $1 to Champa House.

It’s been exciting to see the participation from fellow Tweeters. IQNavigator has had 120 new followers – that’s $120 donation dollars to support women in need for the holidays. They are hoping to get hundreds more. The campaign ends on January 3, so there’s still time to support Denver Rescue Mission by following IQNavigator with a simple click of your mouse:  http://twitter.com/iqnavigator.

We thought this was a very creative use of social media to fundraise for the Denver Rescue Mission. If your company is interested in supporting the Denver Rescue Mission by creating a Twitter campaign like IQNavigator has, please let us know and let the tweeting begin!

Giving Back with Art

How cool is it that many of us can use our talents and gifts to earn a living and then give back to those in need?  Rod Grier is that kind of guy.  His art has been so successful and what’s really wonderful, he’s a faithful supporter of the Denver Rescue Mission for years.

This time he’s giving back in a big way.  He’s auctioning his acclaimed original artwork seen in the iconic opening sequence of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Volume 1” as well as other one-of-a-kind pieces from his collection and a large portion of the proceeds will benefit the Denver Rescue Mission.

The auction is from 6-8 p.m on Thursday, December 15 at the Artwork Network on Sante Fe.  “Artwork Network is honored to work with the Denver Rescue Mission in hosting this auction to help raise awareness about the local homeless and those in need this holiday season,” Artwork Network owner, Alan Kircher said.

You can bid on your favorite piece online at ArtworkNetwork. Bids will help feed homeless and hungry men, women and families throughout the holiday season.  “As a long-time supporter of the Denver Rescue Mission, this felt like the perfect time of year to display and sell my paintings,” Rod says.  “No one should go hungry, especially during the holidays.”

Go check it out.  You can meet Rod (he knows Quentin Tarantino) and get in the Christmas spirit!

The exhibit is open to the public until December 15th (and a few pieces will remain up during the duration of the month).  Stop in and meet the artist in person!

Event Details: https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/calendar/event-detail.cfm?id=22666

The Upside on Failing

Today, we celebrated 41 people who have completed their 1 year commitment to the New Life Program and STAR Family Transitional Program. Let’s not forget the 10 men who celebrated receiving their GED! So, you could say it was a great day here at the Mission!

We were joined by Doug Resler, senior pastor of Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Resler spoke on failing. You are probably asking yourself, “Why Failing?” Failure is a place of utter and complete reliance on a God who has our back – as Resler put it. And he’s certainly right because true change can only happen from the inside out – not outside in.

Resler’s encouraging words will prayfully stick with all our graduates because they all have choices to make. Choices to serve God or to serve their gods that once left them in a dark place.

Today, our graduates are revived and refreshed ready to start anew! Today, was to honor the graduates for all the hard work they put forth to acheive a better future.

Congratulations to all who are deserving of a “GO FOR IT” – go for all that God has in store for you!

"Go for it"

Mark Siegrist – DRM – Director of Education

Denver Responds to Turkey Shortage – 7,000 in Freezer

Generous turkey donors dropping off birds at the Lawrence Street Shelter.

Since the Mission put an urgent request out for turkeys, generous Coloradans have decided to respond – and fast! The outpouring of kindness from the Denver community will allow thousdands of homeless and low-income individuals and families to be blessed with Thanksgiving meals.  Thank you!

URGENT: 10,000 Turkeys Needed for Thanksgiving

The freezer currently has 298 turkeys. The Mission needs over 10,000 to feed the homeless and low-income this holiday season.

The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. The freezer at the Mission’s Ministry Outreach Center is currently filled with 298 turkeys. In just 11 days, the Mission will give out 1,250 Thanksgiving food boxes to families, including a turkey. About 80 churches and non-profit organizations have requested nearly 10,000 turkeys to feed men, women and children in our community. We need your support!

Drop off turkeys 12 pounds or larger at the Lawrence Street Shelter, 1130 Park Ave. West in downtown Denver.

7th Annual Last Waltz – Revisited Concert Benefits Denver Rescue Mission

Seven years is a long time in the music business, but that’s how long “The Last Waltz” concert has been coming back to Denver with incredible local musicians featuring Polytoxic.

In 2005, the popular local jamband wanted to create a show that would feature all their friends in the Denver music scene. They decided to re-enact The Band’s “The Last Waltz”, a 1978 concert film by Martin Scorsese that included greats like Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. That first concert at Dulcinea’s sold out in minutes and the rest is history. 

They now play two shows – one at the Boulder Theater (Nov.18) and the other at the Ogden Theatre (Nov. 23). Both concerts are just prior to Thanksgiving and have become a pre-holiday tradition for many. Concert goers have supported the Denver Rescue Mission over the years whether they knew it or not. 

This year, you can help feed the hungry and homeless by bringing canned food to the Denver show.  Anyone who brings seven cans or non-perishable items will get a free limited edition concert poster.  A portion of the show’s proceeds will also benefit the Denver Rescue Mission.  It’s a great way to start your Thanksgiving weekend!  

For information on the concert visit www.facebook.com/TheLastWaltzRevisited.

Discovering the Reality of Homelessness

Last Thursday night, over 200 people discovered the reality of homelessness at the Denver Rescue Mission’s annual banquet through Mike Yankoski’s, author of Under the Overpass and Zealous Love, personal account of living on the streets.

This year’s banquet was relevantly titled, Evening of Exploration as both speakers Mike and DRM’s graduate, BJ Swenson, shared their testimonies. Tamara Banks was the event’s emcee and was honored to introduce the incredible men with their remarkable stories.

Tamara Banks

Mike was up first to speak. When Mike was just kid he never had to face the reality of what it meant to go to bed hungry or not to have a comfy bed to sleep in. He also never thought that he should help anyone in need. That all changed when he was in high school and a few of friends introduced him to Christ. Mike finally realized that poverty was no longer an abstract idea, but it was a person – it was reality.

He started exploring what it looked like to respond to homelessness and poverty and this is where his journey began. A friend, Sam joined Mike in research and planning to prepare for their five-month journey of living on the streets. It started at the DRM’s Lawrence Street Shelter. For 30 days they lived among the homeless and New Life Program candidates. Mike was the cook alongside program candidate, Timothy. Through Timothy, Mike understood that Rescue Missions provide hope and redemption. Timothy would still be on the streets or even dead if it weren’t for the Mission.

Mike Yankoski mingles with guests at the Evening of Exploration.

I won’t ruin the rest of his story, but it’s worth mentioning that Mike emphasized we should have ‘active, real love.’ It’s about love that does not make anyone invisible – even man sleeping on the bench. It’s about making eye contact with someone, and maybe even talking to them over a burrito.

Following Mike, BJ Swenson, a New Life Program graduate, told his humbling story about what it means to run with a purpose. BJ began running away from himself for 15 years. In those years, he became an alcoholic and reliant on drugs, he strained his relationships and found himself homeless a few times. In 2009, he entered the New Life Program at The Crossing and there he found healing, peace and belonging through the message of Christ.

Today, BJ is no longer running from himself. He is now running with a purpose to prove that you can do anything through Christ. BJ has run three marathons and 9 half marathons. BJ says that he himself is not remarkable, but that he now has a remarkable story to share.

BJ Swenson and family at the Evening of Exploration.

Thank you to both Mike and BJ for inspiring all of us with your words!

Summer of Hope Hygiene Drive

Imagine getting ready for a job interview. You take a shower, shave, and make sure you have clean and neatly combed hair to match your sparkling white smile. You put on our best outfit, to give the impression of a well put together individual ready to take on the world. When we are clean, we feel powerful and confident. Now, imagine going to a job interview without showering or shaving. The pivotal moment of trying to sell yourself, while competing with hundreds of other applicants is disrupted by the lack of basic personal hygiene.

For many men and women, this is a reality. Thousands of men, women and children in our community don’t have enough money for food, let alone essential hygiene items. The lack of daily necessities makes the odds of getting and keeping a job in this economy decrease.

Here’s how you can help! Join the Denver Rescue Mission as we partner with Walgreens, Mix100, 92.5 The Wolf, and KOOL 105 in our Summer of Hope Hygiene Drive. From August 1st through August 21st, visit any Metro Denver or Northern Colorado Walgreens store and fill up a Hope Tote bag with much needed items such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, disposable razors, deodorant and more. Drop donations in the Hope Tote bins as you leave the store. Click here for a full list of items. This is an easy and inexpensive way to help an individual or family in our community feel clean and confident. In many ways a Hope Tote can be the first step toward a new life. Business travelers, don’t forget to take the shampoos and soaps from your hotel. Travel sized items are needed for guests at the Lawrence Street Shelter.

Thank you for making this a Summer of Hope for the homeless and low-income in the Denver community.

Annual Raft Trip for Program Participants

Over the past 10 years, the Denver Rescue Mission has sent nearly 800 New Life Program participants to Buena Vista where they experience a four hour rafting trip on the Arkansas River.

The jolting movement, unforgiving rapids and constant loud noise of whitewater slamming against the inflatable raft seem minor compared to the stories behind the lives of the men and women that have recently joined the Denver Rescue Mission’s New Life Program.

Each year the Wilderness Aware Rafting Company donates two days where approximately 40 Denver Rescue Mission programs participants will attend each day and learn rafting skills on the Brown Canyon of the Arkansas River.

“The guides were helpful and we learned a lot, mostly how not to drown. It was nice to get out of our structured schedule for the day and do something new for a change. I took a lot of pictures, even the drive was beautiful” Abraham Wilson, Phase 2 program participant, said. “Everything about the trip was fun and the weather was great.”

One obstacle to overcome while in rehabilitation is the ability to set goals. Participants on the raft trip have set a big goal, to survive the rapids just as they can survive their addictions. The New Life Program is holistic, and whitewater rafting down Brown’s Canyon of the Arkansas River is great therapy for these men and women.

The New Life Program contains a total of five phases and provides a community-oriented environment for Denver Rescue Mission program participants to gain the skills, stability and self-esteem necessary to become productive, self-sufficient members of society.

“We all had a very good time. It was the first time some of guides had a live group in their rafts and they did great.” New Life Program Phase 1 participant Rick Brown said “We were witness to God’s creation in all the beautiful scenery and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.”

Just a couple of months ago, some of these men and women were living on the streets in a world of addiction. Now they are on exciting whitewater rapids known as Pinball and Zoom-Flume.

“I took everything I have learned while in the program and applied to this rafting trip. It was a powerful experience, the water was cold, the cliffs were high and the people were informative and friendly. I think we joked the entire time,” said Sage Enos in Phase 1.


After nine days of riding over 475 miles, Biking Cross Kansas (BAK) is over! My son Gus and I arrived at the Missouri state line, took our photo (I wish it had been a bigger sign!) and rode back to the celebration area where my wife, Cary picked us up bound for Denver! The ride from a fundraising standpoint was wildly successful! Final numbers are still being calculated, but as of today, June 13 we were able to exceed our goal of 10,000 meals raising the money to provide 10,159 meals for the homeless and needy. The cost of serving one meal is $1.92, which makes the total $19,505.28!

At the Missouri state line.

I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the financial support raised for the Denver Rescue Mission. Knowing that you were there supporting me in this ride was such an encouragement. Friends of the Mission not only supported me with prayer and financial gifts, but with a kind word, a special email or just “checking in” on me. For those of you who have been reading my blog and praying for me, thank you! We certainly felt protected and looked after. With only one flat tire and no mishaps resulting in bodily damage, we felt blessed!

Gus and I rode across Kansas!

I would like to also thank the BAK organizers, who have been doing this for 35 years. What a great job you did! Thank you! You know how to put together a ride! Thank you to the great people of Kansas, especially those in the small towns who treated us with wonderful hospitality!

A special thank you to the other riders whom Gus and I formed a pace line with at various times; this helped us complete each day faster. These individuals include Scott, Albert, Bruce, Jan, Rick, Brad, Lorrie, Todd, Terry, and anyone else I missed or may have drafted off of!

Thank you to all my staff and especially Alexxa, Zsuzsanna, Chris, Griff, Greta, Mary, and Kadija for making the logistics run so smoothly. This event was not a one man show, it took a team to put this together.

Lastly, thank you Gus for being willing to spend nine days with your dad as we rode all the way across Kansas. I am sure most 27-year-olds have other things they would rather be doing than sleeping in a hot two-man tent with their dad, pulling me up hills and through headwinds or sitting in small town libraries while I blogged. Thanks to your daily support, we were able to do something for a cause bigger than ourselves, something that will change people’s lives forever at the Mission. The thing I will remember the most about this ride is the great gift of your time, joining me in this adventure!

For those of you reading, I hope this adventure has been an inspiration to do something for someone who can do nothing for you. It does not have to be a ride across Kansas, just a kind word or encouragement to someone. We all so desperately need this. I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He said, “This is my commandment to you, that you love one another even as I have loved you.” John 15:12.

Thank you and God Bless!