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Celebrating Our Incredible Mission Staff On #EmployeeAppreciationDay


I was with my team, waiting for a meeting to start, when one of my colleagues walked into the room and started to tell us the story about his commute into the Mission earlier that morning. He took the same route he always does to get to our Admin building, but he recognized something different that day.

He was happily on his way in when he stopped at a stoplight. My colleague took a look at the drivers in the other cars beside him. Unlike him, they looked agitated, frustrated and unenthused.

It was his typical, every day drive. But that particular day really stuck with him, he said, because it made him realize just how fortunate he was to love where he worked and (more importantly) the people he worked with. When he finished telling the story of his commute, my other colleagues in the room—myself included—couldn’t help but chime in with agreeance. We all began to talk about how much we love working at the Mission, and we all mentioned that it’s the people we work with that make this place truly exceptional.

Every day, when I head into work, I always think about my colleague and his realization of how fortunate we are to work with such incredible people. As someone who handles the public relations, I’ve had a chance to meet with so many awesome employees—from our CEO to our New Life Program chaplains to emergency service coordinators on the front line.

It’s rare to find a place where you get to work with people from so many different walks of life and to see them blossom into the person God intended them to be. And, even though I’ve only been at the Mission since July I feel ever so lucky to have the opportunity to work with this Denver Rescue Mission family.

Today, on Employee Appreciation Day (and every day), I’d like to recognize our awesome staff who are the heart of the Mission and are changing lives in the name of Christ, every single day.

A hungry boy changed my life…

Guest post written by Laura Schroff, author of An Invisible Thread

Hello, my name is Laura Schroff and I am honored to be the guest speaker for the Denver Rescue Mission’s upcoming An Evening of Exploration, an event aimed at exploring what it means to be homeless.

My book, An Invisible Thread is the New York Times bestseller about my friendship that spanned more than a quarter century with Maurice Mazyck, a homeless, 11-year-old panhandler I met on a Manhattan street corner in 1986.

At that time, I was a successful 35-year-old ad sales executive for USA Today. Only one block separated my apartment from Maurice’s, but in reality we lived in different worlds—I lived in a luxury high-rise, Maurice in a violent welfare hotel, the Bryant. On September 1, 1986, I walked past Maurice on the corner of 56th Street & Broadway.

“Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change?” Maurice asked. “I am hungry.”

And I said no and walked right by him, like a thousand other people did every day. But then I went back.

I went back and said I wouldn’t give him any money, but if he was hungry I would take him to McDonalds. Then I asked if I could join him. The simple lunch we shared that day was the beginning of an amazing ritual—Maurice and I wound up meeting every Monday for the next four years, and hundreds of times after that. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, we are still great friends.

An Invisible Thread tells the story of how one small act of kindness—taking a hungry boy for a hamburger—changed both Maurice’s and my live forever. And now, perhaps most impressively, An Invisible Thread is inspiring thousands of readers to look more closely at their own lives and discover the hidden blessings of their own invisible threads and how they can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

The book’s title comes from an old Chinese proverb: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” That simple message—that we are all connected to someone somewhere who needs us—is resonating powerfully with the tens of thousands of people who have taken An Invisible Thread to heart.

Maurice and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our story to life on Friday, October 5 at An Evening of Exploration event. We hope our story will continue to inspire the incredible people who support this wonderful organization who will be celebrating their 120th Year of Changing Lives in the Name of Christ!


Inspire – Encourage – Empower

A Word from Deb Phipps

I love the heart of Denver Rescue Mission which is why I love serving alongside them as they feed, clothe, shelter, minister to, and change lives every day in our very own city!  In the city of Denver, this organization truly is the hands and feet of Jesus!!

My life was busy and full with many amazing things, but I knew God was calling me to do more, when I received a phone call from a longtime friend, Denver Rescue Mission’s CEO, Brad Meuli. Brad asked if I would consider be on a planning committee for a new event honoring women who have made a positive difference in the city of Denver. Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City was just a vision for Denver at that time. I knew this was God’s calling for me to serve the Mission in a larger capacity.

Four years later, I am in awe of the event’s success and the women we have honored. Each and every one of them has lived in a way that honors other people – leaving a mark on the city that has positively changed the footprint of Denver forever. These women inspire us all to do more, to give more, and to be more!

A Word from Carol Mullens

I was thrilled when Deb asked me to be a part of the Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City planning committee. I have been so inspired by the women we have honored each year. These women have dedicated their lives to helping and encouraging others by going above and beyond what was expected of them. They are changing our city – our state – our world.

The women who are honored at the tea are women who are leading by example. This event inspires, encourages and empowers other people to make their community better through change – which in turn sparks a legacy of doing good.

Planning Committee


Event Details

Please join us for tea on September 14th at The Brown’s Palace Hotel and leave inspired, encouraged and empowered to change the heart of the city.

Buy your ticket here Registration closes Tuesday, September 11th.

{Guest Blogger} The Good Neighbor

Written by: Kari Sanders

The year was 1997. My husband and I had moved to Riverside, California, so that I could pursue a graduate degree. The financial end of things did not work out for me, so I left the graduate program and started looking for a job. Even with an engineering degree, the process took a over month and a half. So, I was frequently home during the day while my husband was at work and met Christine- my neighbor.

We shared a balcony, but little conversation. One afternoon, Christine poked her head in to ask if I could help her fax a resume. I agreed – I could have told her about the library resources at the school or other places, but I decided to invite her over. We worked on her resume together, wrote a cover letter, and I helped her fax it from my computer to several potential employers.  As a thank-you, she made me an ice cream float, and we spent some time talking on the balcony.

During our first, more personal, conversation, Christine told me about who she had come to Riverside after running away from an abusive relationship. Her husband had been abusive to her, and she was concerned he would become abusive toward the children. One day, they had an altercation in which she was threatened with significant harm. She packed up the kids while he was out of the house and traveled from Oregon to California. She and the children spent several nights in a women’s shelter until she could get the apartment in Riverside.

My invitation to allow my neighbor to use my computer and fax machine allowed Christine to pursue new opportunities. It was simple, yet helped change the course of her life.

Today, I am not in contact with Christine, but her story stayed with me. Her story reminded me that it doesn’t take much to turn your life upside down – what happened to her could happen to anyone. I learned that a hand up combined with a lot of determination is all that’s needed to get life back on track.

I believe the work  Denver Rescue Mission does is extremely important for our community – they are one of the places determined people who just need a hand up can turn to when it seems all other doors have closed. I want to help ensure that the organization is always there – for the people who need it, for people like Christine, for people like those I knew growing up who struggled – and, one never knows – maybe even for me someday.


Thank you, Kari for sharing your experiences! If you’d like to share your experiences about being a good neighbor, please submit a short essay to Aneta Storvik,

A ripple can start with a big splash or a small touch of the water

Written by: Gina Schreck

Over four years ago Denver Rescue Mission decided to create an event that honored women who were causing ripples that impacted their communities.  Some started simple and spread to the world, like Captain Emily Warner (2011 honoree) who was the first female commercial pilot.  Others took on a world in need and made ripples that pointed back to Denver, like Lily Nie (2010 honoree) who set out to use her connections in China to bring a few orphans to longing parents in Denver and now has helped to connect over 9,000 forsaken Chinese orphans to their loving parents in the United States wither her Chinese Children’s Charity.

This event, Women Who Have Changed the Heart of the City, is meant to not only honor women doing amazing things, but to inspire us all to look around, right where we sit and get involved with those in need.

2011 Women Who've Changed the Heart of the City

This year’s honorees are sure to inspire

Sue Anschutz-Rogers who took on seeing that her father’s wishes to help those who were in need, would be carried out.  By taking the time to care and look deeper, she found that the needs of so many were not being met because those in the further corners of our state did not know how to access the help they needed.  Sue now helps all in need have access to the resources that are available.

A mail-order bride in her family caused a disturbance in the soul of Beth Klein.  She knew, even at a young age, it was not right for a woman to be bought and sold like a pair of shoes.  She got her law degree and has taken on sex slavery with a vengeance, and a goal of seeing it completely wiped out!  Writing laws in our country and now across the globe to make these horrendous crimes easier to prosecute, she is changing the world!

Diane Van Deren developed epileptic seizures during her pregnancy, which increased over the next 12 years to a point where she was seizing up to 10 times a day as she tried to care for her young children.  After undergoing a risky brain surgery to hopefully stop or at least slow the seizures, Diane started running when she realized the physical activity would stave off the feelings of an oncoming seizure.  Her two-mile run, turned into 100, 300 and most recently, she completed a 1,000-mile journey in 20 days.  Proving to herself, and to others battling with epilepsy or any other disability, that you really can outrun your problems.

Keri Christiansen was living her dream life as a well-known and accomplished talent agent here in Denver, Colorado.  Because her family had been touched by breast-cancer scares in the past, Keri and her sister, channel 9 anchor, Kim Christiansen, spread the message of Buddy Check 9, encouraging women to get regular breast exams.  Irony struck hard when Keri discovered she had breast cancer herself.  Instead of seeing the diagnoses as a defeat, she took it on as a challenge and a pivotal point to make big changes in her own life.  Moving into the non-profit world Keri is now developing talent and raising awareness at The Denver Hospice.

What challenge or opportunity are you facing today?  Will you sit back and wait for someone else to do something or will you reach out and stir the waters right where you are?

Join us on September 14, 2012 and meet these incredible women and many more. Register here:

Let’s make a big ripple together that can change the heart of the city!  Denver Rescue Mission event: THIS

BIO: Gina Schreck has been on the Committee for the Women Who have Changed the Heart of the City event for all four years and loves getting to meet and be inspired by these amazing women!  She is the president and co-founder of SynapseConnecting, an interactive technology and social media management company.  Find her on Twitter @GinaSchreck.