Fort Collins Rescue Mission Posts

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week!

17 DRM Volunteer Appreciation FB Cover

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we’re celebrating! Here at the Mission, volunteers are our heroes. They serve meals with a caring smile, tutor kids who are behind in school, spend time mentoring adults & children, care for kids in transition, sort donations and so much more to help our organization flourish as we do God’s work.

We’re excited to share the passion and commitment of these seven featured volunteers. Read their stories below and consider signing up to make an impact at www.denverrescuemission.org/volunteer.

Thanks for all you do to #SERVEDenver and #SERVENoCo!

Steven Walker

Steven Walker

Steven serves three times a week at our Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC) in downtown Denver. He greets guests, scans their badges and hands out silverware. “I greatly enjoy the one-on-one contact with the Mission’s guests. I want them to feel welcome and know this is a place where there is no judgement,” says Steven.

Steven was blown away by our new LSCC facility when it opened and wanted to be part of it. “Blessings have been bestowed on me. Volunteering is just one small way I can pay back this gratitude,” says Steven.

We’re grateful you chose the Mission, Steven!

 

Melissa Thevenin

Melissa Thevenin

Melissa enjoys giving her time once a week as a Work Therapy Engagement Volunteer at Harvest Farm and working in the kitchen at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

“Every person is unique and so many are hilarious. They energize me with their perseverance, and I enjoy hearing their stories and talking about their interests and goals,” says Melissa.

She was nervous at first because she didn’t feel qualified, but Melissa quickly learned that all she had to do was show up and be herself. “You’ve probably heard the quote, ‘God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.’ I never believed that until I became a volunteer at Harvest Farm.”

Not only is Melissa positively impacting our program participants and guests, God is working in her heart in the process too.

Linda Parker

Linda Parker

Linda finds her passion for volunteering in our kitchens — she feeds lunch to our hungry men, women and children at The Crossing every Tuesday and serves up breakfast on Saturday mornings at the Lawrence Street Community Center.

“My heart aches for all the participants but when I am on the line serving, I have an opportunity to say hello, offer a smile and another chance to do what Jesus would do,” says Linda.

We are so grateful to have her smiling face at our facilities every week!

Larry Lewis

Larry Lewis

For nearly three years, Larry has helped lead the worship service at our Fort Collins Rescue Mission chapel.

When asked why he likes volunteering at the Mission, Larry said “It’s real. I love looking at the variety of faces of children and knowing no matter where that person is today that God can provide healing and hope.”

Larry’s voice and his words make our guests feel lighter and happier every time they enter the chapel, and we can’t thank him enough for sharing his talents. “I certainly receive much more from volunteering than I could ever give,” adds Larry.

The Spicers

The Spicers

The Spicer’s are one of our most dedicated volunteer duos! Russ teaches Fly Fishing Basics to our men in recovery at Harvest Farm. While Tina provides foot care for our guests twice a month at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

Russ takes our men out on the river a few times a year and says “I enjoy helping the men at Harvest Farm know that they can have fun in a clean, healthy way.”

One of Tina’s most memorable experiences as a volunteer was when she brought some friends with her to the Mission’s Easter Banquet where they washed the feet of our homeless guests, just as Jesus did with his disciples. “Being allowed to serve others in this way is humbling and very rewarding,” says Tina.

Duane Barker

Duane Barker

Duane has been volunteering with us at Harvest Farm since August of 2015. He feels privileged to walk with and pray for the men in our New Life Program that they may find healing and deliverance.

“I have a farming background and every farmer knows there’s an investment before the Harvest. I’m investing a piece of my daily life into my Father’s ‘farm’,” as Duane explains it.

Duane’s heart for serving our men is incredible and we know that they feel encouraged after each encounter with him. Thank you, Duane!

Local Comedian Paying it Forward

For most of us, we have a network of support – spouse, family, friends, mentor, small group, co-workers – we can call on in times of need. These are people we trust and feel comfortable asking for help, regardless of the situation.

For a moment, imagine you didn’t have anyone in your life you could go to for support. Now suppose you find yourself in the midst of a crisis. It could be loss of a job, receiving an eviction notice, being diagnosed with a physical or mental illness, among other things. What would you do? Where would you turn?

In 2010, local comedian David Bublitz found himself in a dire situation. He’d lost sight in one eye and was suffering the intense pangs of depression. Also, the health of his mother was in decline. He felt lost, had abandoned all hope and even attempted suicide.

Feeling completely adrift, David spent most of the next year in and out of the hospital dealing with mental health issues. By the end of 2012, he was feeling better and entered into the developing comedy scene in Northern Colorado. Soon his depression would swing into a manic state. It took four different doctors before David was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, by that time, he’d burned a lot of bridges. His support structure was gone and he was no longer welcome back home. At this point, he found himself with no one to call and nowhere to go.

That’s when David became a guest at Fort Collins Rescue Mission. For about a year, he relied on the support and services we offer. Not only did he receive warm meals and a safe place to sleep at night, he also found hope and a sense of purpose. With encouragement from staff, he decided to “get back out there” and pursue his passion of stand-up comedy.

Fast forward to February 2017: David has been in stable housing for two years and he’s successfully managing his mental health diagnosis. He credits the help he received at Fort Collins Rescue Mission for saving his life and enabling him to get back on his feet.

To show his gratitude, he organComedian David Bublitz_event picized the “Colorado Comedy Showcase” on Feb. 10 at the historic Rialto Theater in Loveland. Nearly 100 guests came out to hear David, who opened the show with his own “greatest hits” comedy set, and three of his stand-up comedian friends. It was a laugh-a-minute show!

David committed that a portion of every ticket sold would be donated to Fort Collins Rescue Mission. Nearly $300 was raised to benefit the homeless and hurting that turn to Fort Collins Rescue Mission for help. David believes that what goes around comes around and he’s thrilled to be able to give back by paying it forward to others in need.

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is dedicated to helping the lost, broken and hopeless in our community. We meet people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. David’s story is just one example of how we’re changing lives.

 

Giving A Meal

A large part of my job as the Writer/Photographer is to write the monthly newsletter for Denver Rescue Mission and Fort Collins Rescue Mission. With the title “Changing Lives,” we always try to have the newsletter feature someone whose life has been positively affected by the work we do.

And, honestly, the stories aren’t that hard to find. With all the work we do here, you don’t have to search far to find someone with a story to share, whether it’s one of our staff members, guests, program participants, volunteers, or even donors.

A few weeks ago, I was working on just such a story for the October Fort Collins Rescue Mission “Changing Lives” newsletter. The woman sharing her story was Dawn (you can read it here).

I finished interviewing her and taking a few portraits at around 3:30 p.m., picked up my wife from a local coffee shop, then headed back home to Denver. The drive from Fort Collins to Denver is nice, and my wife and I love spending time together in the car, so it was great that it worked out that she had an appointment in Fort Collins the same day I did.

On the way home, we stopped at a Qdoba for dinner, and what followed was an ironic twist of fate.

I stepped into the line to order my food and noted that the man in front of me was wearing an Ohio State polo shirt. My parents live in Ohio, so I thought momentarily about striking up a conversation with a fellow Ohio transplant. But I’m naturally a little shy and introverted, so I decided against it. I had spent enough energy in my interview and photo shoot with Dawn that afternoon.

But as I was eyeing this guy’s shirt, he must have glanced at the Fort Collins Rescue Mission stitched onto the left side of my black Mission polo. I could almost feel him staring at me while I pretended to inspect the menu. I hoped the line would move so that he could step forward and stop looking at me.

“So, what is Fort Collins Rescue Mission?” his voice broke the awkward silence filling the short distance between us.

Grateful that he wasn’t just staring at me anymore, I began to explain how Fort Collins Rescue Mission is owned and operated by Denver Rescue Mission. I went on to describe the Steps to Success Program, the shelter for men and women available at Fort Collins Rescue Mission, and how the Mission was able to increase its work in Northern Colorado by adding the Mission to the existing work of Harvest Farm.

As I described the programs and services we offer in Denver, he started nodding and acting like he already knew what I was talking about. I said as much, and he explained that he is a Denver Rescue Mission donor already.

Surprised, I thanked him for supporting the work we do, and we chatted a little while longer. His name was Chris, and as it turned out, the Ohio State shirt was from his wife. She was from Cleveland.

Finally, our burritos made it to the cashier. Since we’d been talking so much, she asked if our order was all together.

“No, they’re separate,” I said quickly.

But as I pulled out my wallet, Chris quickly handed his credit card back to the cashier and told her to pay for mine as well.

In a small way, Chris gave me an example of how our guests must feel when they receive a meal from the Mission. He was already donating to the Mission, providing meals, shelter and more to people in need, and here he was giving me a meal as well.

I’m grateful for supporters like Chris. Because of people like him, I’ve seen people’s lives completely turned around. I’ve met so many drug addicts and people suffering who have been completely transformed by the power of Jesus in their lives. And it’s only possible because of Chris and other donors like him.

So thank you for the meal a few weeks ago, Chris. But more than that, thank you for joining the Mission in helping rescue people from the struggles of being homeless.

Robo and Chris

Chris and I snapped a pic after our chance encounter at Qdoba

More Than Just A Homeless Shelter

Have you ever been down Jefferson Street in Fort Collins? If so, then you’ve undoubtedly seen our building. You know, it’s the one with the facade that resembles The Alamo. While passing by, you may have asked yourself, “What goes on inside those walls?”

Sure, you’ve probably seen the line of people gathered outside with all of their worldly possessions in tow. But what happens once they enter?

fcrm

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is primarily known for providing vital services like overnight shelter and meals for people in need. However, the Mission is so much more than that. Inside our facility, we offer compassion, kindness and hope as well as provide opportunities for men and women to get back on their feet through life-changing programs and spiritual guidance.

We believe everyone who comes through our doors deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. One of Jesus’ most interesting teachings is that our commitment to him can be measured by how we treat other people, especially those who have been rejected by society for one reason or another. Whether someone is experiencing homelessness as a result of being laid off, undergoing a divorce, seeking escape from domestic violence, suffering from financial burden, or being released from prison, they can turn to Fort Collins Rescue Mission for help. A hearty meal, a hot shower and a place to lay their head — we are here to meet them at their physical point-of-need.

A Step in the Right Direction
Moreover, we go beyond just offering a meal and bed for the evening; we also meet people at their spiritual point-of-need. Fort Collins Rescue Mission offers a short-term, faith-based, transitional program for those seeking life change called Steps to Success. Through the program, we provide opportunities for adult men and women to become productive, self-sufficient citizens. Our Steps to Success program is three to nine-months-long and combines one-on-one case management, life-skills workshops, work therapy and spiritual engagement. Once completed, individuals will have what they need to successfully re-enter society.

Case Management
Having lost everything, some people come to us with literally nothing but the clothes on their back. Sometimes what’s missing includes essential documents like a birth certificate and social security card. When you lack these critical pieces of information, it’s impossible to secure employment, among other things. That’s where our case managers can help. Each program participant receives comprehensive case management to help them gain access to necessary services, including housing resources, mental health care providers, educational opportunities, and beyond.

Steps to Success Program

Training for Success
Additionally, we provide a variety of life-skills classes that impart the tools necessary for individuals to become independent and self-sustaining. For example, we offer workshops that emphasize things like developing critical thinking skills, letting go of destructive habits, learning to build positive relationships and how to set healthy boundaries. We also focus on setting goals, employment readiness, developing budgets and more. These trainings help build confidence and self-esteem and provide the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to tackle life’s challenges.

Taking Pride in Work
Another critical component of the program is called Work Therapy, which teaches responsibility and accountability. Participants engage in daily assignments which can include helping in the kitchen, lending a hand with facility maintenance or assisting with operations. These small chores provide opportunities for “small wins” and allow participants to feel a sense of pride for meeting goals and accomplishing daily tasks.

Spiritual Guidance
Perhaps the most important element of the program is the spiritual factor. Every evening, volunteers from local churches lead on-site chapel service. They offer guests words of encouragement and deliver powerful messages of forgiveness, peace and love. They shine a light in midst of darkness. They are a beacon of hope. Similarly, our staff host routine group bible studies. By spending time in the Word and learning about the power of God’s love, participants discover greater meaning and purpose for their lives. They also have opportunities to develop relationships and build supportive community networks by attending local church services and participating in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Finishing Proud
Upon graduating the program, participants have a new perspective, a reinvigorated sense of purpose and are surrounded by strong community support. These are all key to sustained success as they transition into their new life beyond our walls. The old saying is true: If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. But teach that man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

Interested in learning more about how we’re “Changing lives in the name of Christ”?

Visit us at our OPEN HOUSE at 316 Jefferson Street on Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 11am – 1 pm. Click here to learn more. See you there!

open house

Preparing for Denver’s Fickle Weather 

As we prepare for a mid-spring winter weather advisory (can anyone say oxymoron?!), staff at Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Community Center, Lawrence Street Shelter and Fort Collins Rescue Mission are preparing for increased demand for our services.

Guests fill the Lawrence Street Community Center dining hall during a March 2016 snow storm.

Guests fill the Lawrence Street Community Center dining room during a March 2016 snow storm

As you can imagine, bad weather brings a lot more people indoors during the day and overnight. Here is how our facilities are preparing for this weekend:

The Lawrence Street Community Center’s dining room will be open throughout the day Saturday an Sunday. Additional food is being prepared for our normal meal times. Warm showers are at the ready, along with emergency clothing supplies. Staff will work to ensure that everyone seeking overnight shelter has a confirmed place to go.

The Lawrence Street Shelter anticipates filling all 315 beds and mats, as well as 325 mats at the Emergency Shelter (operated in partnership with Denver’s Road Home). Area shelter providers are already talking, ensuring that each provider knows where to send people in the event they reach their capacity.

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is preparing for a very similar demand on its services: increased meals and utilizing all of their available beds and mats. Fort Collins Rescue Mission provides more than 100 people a warm, dry and safe place to spend the night, including overflow mats which will be extended through April 30th.

As you brave the looming elements this weekend, consider how you might help Denver Rescue Mission keep these vital services available within the community. We ask you to visit our Donations page to learn how your generous donations can make a lasting impact at our shelter facilities.