Volunteering Posts

“We Are Columbine!”

Twenty years ago on April 20, 1999, news broke out across the nation of the tragedy at Columbine High School.

I was just ten years old at the time, living in Ohio, more than a thousand miles away from the events that took place here in Littleton. I was actually out of school for the day at a doctor’s appointment. We had gone out to lunch at a local pizza place when we heard the news and someone turned on a television in the corner. I still remember seeing the kids running out of the building—a video caught from a helicopter at the scene—and feeling a strange mix of confusion and fear. My mom was probably more devastated than she let on, and I’m sure she was glad we were not in school that day.

Other staff here at the Mission lived in Colorado at the time and have described the incredible sadness and fear they experienced in the days and weeks that followed.


“I was born and raised in Colorado. We define so much of our history based on before and after Columbine. The entire state was grieving for this terrible tragedy,” Nicole Tschetter, PR & Media Specialist, said.

The event marked a turning point for many of us. In the weeks to come, we all heard the stories, especially of the kids who stood up for their faith despite the threats. They were incredible stories of faith amidst tragedy, hope in the sight of fear and strength beyond words.

Last weekend, a group of 14 students from Columbine High School showed us another bright light of hope as they served meals to people in need at our Lawrence Street Community Center.

“What an incredible morning here at the LSCC…these kids sang and danced the entire time, and lit up the dining room like the 4th of July,” Eric Korb, Volunteer Coordinator at the Lawrence Street Community Center, said. “It was so beautiful to watch our guests smile, laugh and applaud as breakfast was served. One gentleman stopped me, and beaming ear to ear, asked, ‘Why are they so happy?’ I told him that they are a bunch of kids just enjoying life, and he replied, ‘Well, seeing them happy, makes me happy.’”

And seeing the kids happy was a welcomed surprise considering the events of the previous week. “With all of the events of last week, coupled with the focus on the students, their school and the anniversary, they could have come in quiet and sullen,” Eric said. But they came in dancing, smiling, laughing, and as Eric put it, just enjoying life. They even sang while they served, including a few school chants of “We Are Columbine!”

We are so grateful to these students for their generosity in taking time out of their weekend to build into our community and serve those in need. The hope they displayed is a great reminder that we are all in this together, serving one another and bringing joy into the lives of those around us. Thanks, Columbine High School! Check out the Mission’s Facebook page for a short video showing the students singing and serving!

Celebrating The Best Of The Best Volunteers- We are lucky to have YOU!

It’s National Volunteer Week! Denver Rescue Mission and Fort Collins Rescue Mission are celebrating all of our incredible volunteers. It’s simple— our volunteers are heroes. We could not change lives in the name of Christ without the help of our volunteers. From standing outside for our Thanksgiving Turkey Drive to waking up early and staying late to serve meals, words fail to express our gratitude for our volunteers.

In 2018, we had almost 18,000 volunteers step up to the plate. We are thrilled to give the community a snapshot of the passion and commitment these volunteers bring to the table every day. Read their stories below. Feel inspired? You can sign up to make a direct impact.

Thanks for helping us #SERVEDenver and #SERVENoco


MICHELLEMICHELLE GOODMAN

“I believe part of the Great Commission is to bring Heaven to Earth – and I see the Kingdom of God advancing at the Rescue Mission. I am so grateful for the guests, the staff and all of the volunteers who are making this happen,” Michelle said.

Michelle has been volunteering as a chapel provider at Fort Collins Rescue Mission for just under a year. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with our homeless brothers and sisters. She is drawn to help all of God’s children!

When asked about her most impactful experience, Michelle recalled praying for the chapel to be full for her service. Low and behold, she arrived to find the chapel packed! She prayed for the healing of the guests and felt His presence in the chapel.

Michelle, thank you for your contribution in the spiritual lives of our homeless neighbors!


GGEORGINAEORGINA BUSH

“I love volunteering at the Mission because I know this is a place of much caring, love and hope,” Georgina said.

Georgina’s been volunteering with the Mission since the beginning of 2018 (right after she returned from Europe.) She is a regular volunteer serving in the dining area at the Lawrence Street Community Center.

She says she is continually blown away by the heartfelt, sincere and positive energy our staff and program participants have.

“There is a very genuine and beautiful blessing in this place,” she said. “It is a tremendous honor to be a part of it.”

We are SO lucky to have you be a volunteer Georgina!


Rebecca LoveallREBECCA LOVEALL

Rebecca serves Fort Collins Rescue Mission as a chapel provider; drawing from her own life experiences to connect with our guests and contribute to their spiritual lives. She began her work with the Mission in April, 2018.

Although Rebecca grew up surrounded by the message of Christ, she encountered several abusive figures in her life. “My life has been transformed by God’s love. God rescued me from abuse, Pharisaism, and so much hopelessness, how can I not turn around and do the same for others. I use my experience (pain) to speak to other hurting people in such a way as to bring them hope. There is nothing more redemptive than that,” Rebecca remarked on her experience.

After sharing her story and providing a message in a chapel session, guests will often come up to Rebecca and thank her for speaking directly to them. Several people relate directly to her story and feel encouraged by her strength. These experiences are most impactful for Rebecca!

You’re an inspiration, Rebecca! Thank you for all that you do.


CHRISTINA OLDHAMCHRISTINA OLDHAM

For the past 5 plus years, Christina has been the ADT Citizenship Team Captain setting up monthly opportunities for team members to volunteer at the Mission. She’s gotten a taste of many different volunteer opportunities by working in our Ministry Outreach Center and Lawrence Street Community Center kitchen.

The most impactful experience Christina has had is when she went down to the Lawrence Street Kitchen one Sunday morning to serve breakfast.

“My tired grumbling about having to get out of a nice warm bed that morning ended after parking my car and making the walk to the kitchen door. This trek walked me by people sleeping on the streets – not in a nice warm bed – that were waiting for a warm meal. It is humbling to realize the privilege I currently have in my own life and that even the basics of shelter and food are not available to everyone is profound,” Christina said.

We appreciate all you and ADT do for us Christina!


PAULPAUL ACKERMAN 

Though I was born with disabled arms, I don’t let that stop me from doing my assigned tasks around the Mission. Many guests observe me working with my arms, and some have told me how they watch me and feel inspired to press through in their challenging circumstances,” Paul said.

Paul started volunteering in guest relations at Fort Collins Rescue Mission in June, 2018. He assists guests with check-in and works closely with our Emergency Services Coordinator. He enjoys serving the people of God and learning the stories of our guests.

At one point during his service, Paul encountered a guest who had an underdeveloped hand on one of his arms. The guest was inspired by Paul and how much he witnessed him doing with his arms. He transitioned out of the Mission after a short period. Paul was moved by his experience with this unique guest!

Keep up the good work, Paul!


VRNDA DASI NOEL

Vrnda and her group from Ability Access are an incredible volunteer team. Vrnda is the owner of Ability Access, an organization that helps those who are developmentally disabled with day training services.

The dynamic group has been volunteering at The Crossing since 2007. During their 11 years volunteering, they’ve been a tremendous help in preparing the dining room for lunch, cleaning up from breakfast and serving lunch to residents and staff.

“My group enjoys volunteering at the Mission because they like to be fully integrated with their community. They enjoy interacting with folks and serving others,” Vrnda said. “The participants of Ability Access appreciate the respect and kindness they receive from residents and staff.”

Thank you Vrnda and Ability Access for helping to make a difference in the community we serve!


CHASE JACKSONCHASE JACKSON

Chase only recently moved to Denver, but quickly picked up volunteering at the Mission.

I moved to a Denver neighborhood where the issue of homelessness is a daily and ever-present reality, and volunteering with the Mission gives me the opportunity to make a direct impact within my own community,” Chase said.

Chase works as a kitchen assistant at The Crossing. He helps prep, cook, serve and clean while he volunteers. Getting to build relationships with the community we serve is one of the most impactful parts of Chase’s time at the Mission.

He said, “Working side-by-side every week with the same guys in the program has humanized homelessness for me in a way I haven’t experienced before.”

Keep on rockin’ it Chase!


ANDREA SEVERSONANDREA SEVERSON

An avid yogi, Andrea volunteers teaching a yoga class at Harvest Farm once a week. She began her good work here in early 2018.

Andrea enjoys sharing yoga with the New Life Program participants, exposing them to a new experience, many of them know nothing about. She shared, “We have guys sometimes who come to their first class in jeans, no idea what to expect, and who come back the next week in workout clothes and with other new recruits in tow, then they become dedicated regulars. It’s awesome to see, and tells me they appreciate the opportunity.”

Being able to witness the men grow and graduate the program is the most fulfilling part of Andrea’s volunteer work. She aspires to contribute to the participant’s recovery and life journey.

We are so thankful for Andrea’s caring heart and commitment to our New Life Program!


RYAN CARTER

A passionate believer, Ryan began his work as a chapel provider and mentor at Fort Collins Rescue Mission in 2017. He focuses on lifting up our homeless neighbors to a place of honor, dignity, and hope.

As we talked, he began to release forgiveness to those who had hurt him. He said it felt so good, but it also hurt, because he was opening up his heart again for the first time in decades,” Ryan said when speaking to a homeless guest.

Ryan enjoys engaging with our guests and giving his time and attention to those undergoing hard times. He feels most impactful when guests allow him to be part of the restoration and recovery process.

Thank you for opening your heart to our guests, Ryan!


AMY BAMY BURANT

Amy Burant has been volunteering at The Crossing since September, 2017. She started volunteering because she wants to contribute to the solution of ending homelessness in our city.

Amy said that the most impactful part of her experience is getting to know our program participants who work in the kitchen and have shared their stories of homelessness and hope.

“I feel really hopeful when I see the residents who are taking positive steps in their transition. I love that New Life Program participants are rewriting their story with the help of the Mission. I don’t have a lot of money to donate, but I do have time I can give,” Amy said.

Thank you so much for your time Amy!

Local Community Leaders Continue Yearly Tradition With Pizazz!

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

PRESIDENTS DAY BLOG
It’s a tradition that’s been years in the making. In honor of Presidents’ Day, the Mission welcomes Denver’s top executives to serve lunch at our Lawrence Street Community Center. This is a chance for CEOs, presidents and vice presidents to give back to their neighbors experiencing homelessness.

The once-a-year opportunity has become a staple event for many of these local leaders who look forward to helping the homeless community every year.

“A lot of us gather each year, on this Friday before Presidents’ Day weekend, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a part of what we are at the Broncos. To be able to do this with other leaders in the community is fun for me. Brad Meuli does a terrific job here at Denver Rescue Mission,” Joe Ellis, President & CEO of the Denver Broncos, said.

Ellis, along with nine other top executives, served 300 guests a delicious plate of pork chops, gnocchi, fresh fruit and more!

 

Join us in thanking all of the following for helping us serve in honor of Presidents’ Day:

  • Joe Ellis, President & CEO, Denver Broncos
  • Dick Monfort, Owner & CEO, Colorado Rockies
  • Jim Kellogg, Vice President of Community Relations & Retail Operations, Colorado Rockies
  • Tami Door, President, Downtown Denver Partnership •Matt Hutchings, Executive Vice President & CEO, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
  • Todd Broderick, President, Albertsons & Safeway
  • Rod Mickelberry, President, Cardel Homes Denver
  • Alan Sowers, President, Bauen Corporation
  • Joel Mecklenburg, President, First Integrity
  • Brad Meuli, President & CEO, Denver Rescue Mission

Use Your Gifts To Serve Others: Denver Rescue Mission’s Mentor Services Help Change Lives

MENTORING

When Steven talks about his mentor, Jon, you can hear the excitement in his voice.

“Why he is just the greatest man!” Steven says as he flips through photos of the two on his iPad.

Steven was paired with Jon as part of his program. Steven and Jon meet every other week, if not every week, to chat about everything from Duke overcoming his addictions to scripture passages.

“We get a lot of support here. But, I couldn’t do any of this without him. Jon really, really cares. He wants to make sure I’m successful. That’s what a classic mentorship is and everyone needs someone like that,” says Steven.

And, with the Mission’s mentoring, participants in the New Life Program, like Steven, do have someone. Last year, the Mission paired 61 NLP participants with mentors, also known as Change Makers.

“When he cries, I cry. When he’s happy, I’m happy. He is a blessing,” says Jon. “Steven has inspired me. It’s a blessing to be a part of his life and see his testimony unfold.”

Steven and Jon’s mentorship isn’t the only living testimony that shows the power of the program. Many of the mentees and mentors experience the same connection.

“I love being a mentor at Denver Rescue Mission because it allows me to give back and pay forward to individuals in my life that have inspired me to love God and respects others more,” says Johnnie, another NLP Mentor. “So, many people just need to know that there are people who care about them.”

You can also help change lives. Join Denver Rescue Mission in celebrating all of our mentors during National Mentoring Month by learning more about our mentoring opportunities.

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is Honoring Volunteers this Month!

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Fort Collins Rescue Mission and Harvest Farm Honoring Volunteers this Month

Here at the Mission and Harvest Farm, volunteers are our heroes. They help us prepare and serve meals to guests with a caring smile, dedicate time to mentor and encourage program participants, as well as share messages of hope and possibilities of a new life. Volunteers are an invaluable resource that help our organization flourish as we do God’s work.

Last year, volunteers provided over 14,000 hours of service at Fort Collins Rescue Mission and Harvest Farm. This is equivalent to having an additional 6 full-time employees! It’s because of their dedicated service, that we’re able to meet the needs of the broken and lost in our community.

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and the Mission, along with numerous non-profit organizations across the country, are taking some time to celebrate. Throughout #VolunteerAppreciationWeek (April 15-21), we will honor and thank our volunteers for their tireless service.

We’re excited to share the passion and commitment of four featured volunteers. We are so grateful for them, and all our amazing volunteers, for everything they do to #SERVENoCo!

 

Jim Lord

Jim Lord

Jim has been serving warm meals to our homeless guests at Fort Collins Rescue Mission for seven years. He enjoys filling this need in the community and says, “It keeps me humble and helps me appreciate what I have more often.”

Jim loves trying to make our guests smile. He has made it his mission to help our guests feel important while they are here.

We appreciate the work you have put in at Fort Collins Rescue Mission Jim. Thank you!

 

Laura Steven

Laura Stevens

Laura has been volunteering with Fort Collins Rescue Mission for the past two years. She loves being a Mentor and helping our homeless guests. Specifically, she has a heart for helping women feel good about themselves. Often, she donates clothing to fulfil this passion.

“Being a Mentor has been the most fulfilling experience at the Mission so far. In the midst of sadness, challenges and pain, we manage to find the humor and faith and laugh a lot together.” – Laura

Thank you Laura for showing compassion to our guests at Fort Collins Rescue Mission!

 

Marilyn Calcatera

Marilyn Calcatera

Marilyn wanted to use her hair cutting skills to do good in the community. That’s how she got connected to Harvest Farm.  Each month, over the past year, she has been offering free haircuts to men in the New Life Program.

She loves being able to have spiritual conversations with the men in the program and helps encourage them in this journey of their lives. “I can show some motherly love, provide encouragement and share a hug” said Marilyn.

Thank you for using your skills to touch the lives of our New Life Program participants, Marilyn!

 

Ryan Carter

Ryan Carter

Ryan serves as a preacher for chapel services at Fort Collins Rescue Mission and he has been doing this for the past year. His goal is to assist the staff in connecting the Mission with pastors and community leaders to maximize the care and service to those in need.

“I see the Mission’s guests as some of the richest and most gifted people in our city.  Darkness has marginalized many people who are desperately needed and deeply loved.”  Ryan loves the Mission because he gets to work with Jesus in the restoration process!

Ryan’s most impactful experience at the Mission was preaching to a man that had never been to church before or heard the Gospel.  “I saw this man two weeks later, and he grabbed me and said, “Everything is changing!”  He had started to read the word of God and exclaimed, “It’s really making sense to me!”  Also, in that two week span, he was restored with his mother in San Diego, and was leaving that week to be with her again.  I will meet this man in heaven!” Ryan shared.

Thank you Ryan for diligently doing God’s work with us at Fort Collins Rescue Mission!

These are just a few examples of passionate volunteers committed to doing the Lord’s work alongside us. If you’ve been inspired to give back and make a difference, we encourage you to serve with us! There are many ways to get involved.  To learn more and sign up, visit: http://bit.ly/Volunteer4FCRM

 

 

We’re Honoring Volunteers this Month!

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Denver Rescue Mission Honoring Volunteers this Month

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. Volunteers provide 122,276 hours of their time at Denver Rescue Mission each year, which is equivalent to 59 full-time employees.

Throughout #VolunteerAppreciationWeek, volunteers will be honored and thanked for their service to the Mission on our social channels. 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 #VolunteerAppreciationWeek.

Kyle Gjersee

Kyle Gjersee

You can find Kyle serving breakfast five, sometimes six, days a week at our Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC) in downtown Denver over the past year. Kyle recently became a mentor for a New Life Program participant at The Crossing as well.

“I enjoy giving back to the community and being part of something bigger than myself” -Kyle.
Thank you Kyle for your servant heart!

Scott Farleigh

Scott Farleigh

Scott has been a volunteer with us for nine years! He volunteers primarily in the Denver Broncos Youth Center at The Crossing tutoring kids. Scott donates his money as well as his time, working to organize projects with the Eagle Scouts. They most recently replaced some fencing and put in a new flag pole in front of The Crossing.

“The greatest experience I’ve had so far was teaching one of my third grade kids in the Bronco Room how to read. He started at a 1st grade reading level and is now almost up to a 3rd grade reading level.” -Scott

The kids are blessed to have had your help in the Denver Broncos Youth Center over the past 9 years, Thank you Scott.

Carroll Dannettell

Carroll Dannettell

Since 2008, Carroll has been tutoring our kids at The Crossing in the Denver Broncos Youth Center.

“I enjoy knowing I am making a difference in a child’s life,” Carroll says.

Carroll also loves working alongside the Interns in the Denver Broncos Youth Center because she feels she has been able to mentor them as well. She enjoys watching both the interns and the children grow and mature. Carroll believes that her life has been changed by volunteering at the Mission.

Thank you Carroll for your ten years of service with Denver Rescue Mission!

Jenelle Wilson

Jenelle Wilson

Jenelle has been a Youth Mentor since November. “Serving my mentee and her family brings me a joy I cannot express. She reminds me that God is alive and present even in the youngest of lives and being part of something so much bigger than just me, it’s humbling and exciting,” Jenelle says.

Jenelle brings her mentee with her to church every Sunday morning. She loves how her mentee sings during worship even if she doesn’t know the words and always holds Jenelle’s Bible when the pastor speaks to follow along. “It’s amazing how much she retains! She is thoughtful and connected to the message. God is doing great things in her!”

Thank you Jenelle for bringing God into the lives of your mentee and her family at The Crossing!

Rylee Bennett

Rylee Bennett

For the past year, Rylee has been mentoring one of our STAR Transitional Program participants. “I knew that when I moved to Denver about a year ago, that I was craving a deeper, more meaningful relationship with someone in need.”  Rylee was thrilled to find Denver Rescue Mission and applied to be a long-term volunteer immediately.

Rylee’s most impactful experience as a Mentor has been watching her mentee persevere despite adversity and stand as the determined, selfless, God loving woman that she is today. “When I first met her it almost felt like our time spent together was a one way interview as she would only give short little responses to my pleading questions to get to know her. Since then our relationship has done a 180 and she’s been able to open up her heart to me and allow me to encourage her and just love on her.”  They’ve tackled topics that she initially wanted to stay so far away from, like going back to school to get her GED, building a resume and applying to jobs, getting her permit, and seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus. Rylee is so grateful for this opportunity and wants to help others be able to have the same experience as a Mentor at the Mission!

Rylee, we thank you for showing God’s love and grace to your mentee. We are blessed to have you.

Laura Skladzinski

Laura Skladzinski

Laura is a Mentor to one of our STAR Transitional Program participants. She also tries to serve meals at our Lawrence Street Community Center at least once a month. Laura loves how easy it is to serve meals even when she has a busy schedule. “Although the line moves quickly, I try to at least say hi and give a smile to everyone who comes through.”

Becoming a Mentor for the STAR Transitional Program has made her feel like she is truly making a difference in someone’s life by getting to interact and help someone one-on-one. Laura really enjoys meeting with her mentee and is grateful for the opportunity to not only help but also make a new friend. “I often think my mentee has helped me more than I have helped her, in that my time with her has given me a different perspective and made me appreciate the many blessings I’ve been fortunate to receive.”

Thank you Laura for serving with us over the past two years!

Dan Polizzi

Dan Polizzi

Dan combines his love for music and kids by teaching the children at The Crossing guitar and piano lessons, over the past eight years! “I feel a part of the community/family when I’m there.” – Dan

Dan has always volunteered for causes he has felt strongly about and giving music lessons at the Mission was a perfect way to show his gratitude for what people have done for him. “Knowledge is power and can open doors to opportunities you otherwise would never have access to” said Dan. His hope is that the kids he works with will have a better quality of life having gained some ability to play an instrument.

Dan, thank you for sharing your passion for music with the kids and with us at the Denver Rescue Mission.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Did you know that April is National Alcohol Awareness month? Substance abuse is something we see frequently in Denver Rescue Mission’s New Life Program. Addiction can be all consuming and can drastically affect every area of someone’s life. However, our goal at the Mission is to ensure that every person who enters our New Life Program knows deep down that their addiction does not define them and that there is always hope for renewal and recovery.

This idea that “our mistakes do not define us” is important for us all to remember, especially those struggling with addiction. This verse from Psalms is one that our program participants reflect on often…

Psalm 25:7

Participants in our New Life Program often come to us struggling with addiction, without hope and without any connection to a stable community. They also struggle with maintaining employment and finding a stable place to live. Their abuse of alcohol and other substances is often a pathway used to cope with deeper issues. Our program provides them with the chance to deal with those deeper issues head-on, reestablish positive relationships, maintain a stable living environment, give them a sense of purpose through work readiness, and, ultimately, lead them into a spiritual connection with God.

No one knows more about teaching others the love of God and the power of His forgiveness than our New Life Program staff. I sat down with some of our program staff to get their perspective on alcohol awareness.

“[Our] staff embraces the Mission’s mission statement of ‘Changing lives in the name of Christ.’ We tell our New Life Program participants that they have a purpose in life and that they are gifted to accomplish many things.  The guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us the advantage to help our participants uncover and rediscover their gifts and guide them into becoming what God created them to be,” says Patrick Mary, Counselor & Clinical Supervisor at the Mission.

Every day in the New Life Program, which can last up to one and a half years, our participants are encouraged and counseled by our staff. One participant recalls life before the program, “Before, alcohol was killing me; today, I am really enjoying life, my wife, family sunrises, and sunsets. Finding God in the New Life Program has changed my life. Before, my work day was mundane; today, I am enjoying the work readiness program in the program.  I have rediscovered the truth of enjoying work.”

Our New Life Program recognizes the wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step Program, which, in a way, become a part of what we do. A Recovery Support Group – facilitated by Patrick Mary – meets weekly to inspire discussion, mutual encouragement, bonding, and sobriety. Along with elective groups, each participant is required to attend individual counseling and group sessions. These sessions are designed to “dig deeper” into childhood trauma and other issues related to present-day addictive behavior.

“It is a joy to see the transformation that occurs when freedom from bondage is realized,” says Steve Swihart, New Life Program Graduate Chaplain.

“A misconception exists that addiction or homelessness is simply a matter of will-power or choice. This is not always the case. Each participant that we come in contact with has a story. Each story comes with layers,” says Austin Morrow, Next Step Community Coordinator.

“The first step in correcting these misconceptions is to listen. Not just listening to someone’s problems and immediately trying to find a solution but truly listening to someone’s story and understanding that there are more layers than what may be seen initially. Addiction and homelessness can be difficult to understand.  It can be messy. But, through the love and grace of Christ, lives can be changed and misconceptions can be corrected,” adds Morrow.

“The Mission’s approach to helping people struggling with alcoholism isn’t going to be the right fit for every person who walks through our doors. But, over the years, I have seen so many lives change – fathers who reconnect with their children after years of being estranged, men who find newfound self-confidence and energy in their sobriety.”

This month, as we acknowledge Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s an important reminder that rehabilitation is a journey and it’s different for everyone. May we all listen a little more and judge a little less.

 

 

 (Contributors to this article include Austin Morrow, Zach Titus, Patrick Mary, Stephen Swihart.)

 

January is National Mentoring Month

Ralph Waldo Emerson (2)
January is a month of resolutions and fresh starts. It’s also National Mentoring Month. Seeking out the guidance of others who can remain objective to life’s challenges can be extremely positive for anyone. Here at Denver Rescue Mission, mentoring is an important part of our New Life Program and STAR Transitional Program. The relationships that are built can last for years.

 
I was recently inspired by Jim, one of our Change Makers who has been mentoring the same kiddo since 2014! Here’s what Jim had to say about his experience:

 
“My experience as a mentor has been fantastic. You need to put work into your mentorship but the result is great. You will have to make the first big effort. Appointments probably will be missed and it will be difficult to find things in common to talk about in the beginning. Then when your mentee realizes that you are serious and this is not a passing fad, things will begin to change. So next you will draw on your creativity to find things to do and maybe you will decide to teach them something or other. This is the next hurdle, this relationship is for him or her, not for you. Be flexible. Listen. Adjust to the one you are mentoring. I have never regretted being a mentor.”  -Jim Lanyon

 

The opportunities to mentor include youth, individual men and women, homeless and refugee families. You can mentor one-on-one or with a group of colleagues or friends. Learn more about becoming a mentor on our website.

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week!

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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!

Auto-Amanda! Local Teen Fixes Cars in the Mission Auto Shop

Did you know Denver Rescue Mission has a fully functioning auto repair shop? For more than 18 years, we’ve ran the shop as part of our Vehicle Donation Program. We created this program to provide transportation for graduates of Mission programs including the New Life Program, STAR Transitional Program and Family Rescue Ministry. The men and women who complete our long-term programs often require reliable transportation to secure employment. Owning a vehicle makes one less barrier for these deserving individuals to overcome on their road to success. The shop also provides services such as repairs and maintenance.

And the shop just got a new volunteer! 18-year-old, Amanda Dungan, began volunteering at the shop earlier this summer. She comes every Tuesday to offer her time and skills to fix cars and further her experience in mechanical engineering. It is inspiring to see that such a young and bright mind is willing to get her hands dirty to be of service for those less fortunate.

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When I first met Amanda, she was wearing cowboy boots, so it was no surprise to hear that she was born in Texas. Eventually, her family consisting of her mom, dad, sister and herself moved to Denver. Amanda had a very active childhood and continued her active lifestyle throughout high school. She has a tendency to pick up a hobby and run with it. By the age of 18, Amanda has been a swimmer, tennis player, horseback rider, hiker and archer.

Unlike most teenagers, Amanda already knows her true passion and what she wants to achieve in life. She plans on attending Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall of 2016 with a major in Mechanical Engineering. Amanda first started repairing cars in high school, when her school offered a one-day car repair workshop that taught her how to change brake pads. Not long after, she wanted to get more hands-on experience, so she enrolled in a “Cars 101” class at Front Range Community College.

As a recent graduate of Valor Christian High School, Amanda’s always heard about Denver Rescue Mission. When she discovered the mechanic volunteer opening, she felt selfishly excited because she got to learn so much and build her resume while getting to volunteer. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Amanda is full of compassion and heart and truly enjoys what she does at the shop.

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Her favorite part about working in the shop is working hand-in-hand with her two supervisors, Russ and Don. Amanda quickly learned to love the work environment and the community it brought her. It was an instant connection. She says she loves the shop because “the guys are super funny and know how to have a great time!”

Russ and Don say that they love her desire to learn and her lack of fear to tackle any task. “She loves trying and does a great job trying,” they said. “She’s open to any work. She may need some direction, but her ambition is the best we’ve seen.”

Amanda is willing to do whatever her bosses need her to do. “I clean a lot of gaskets, do oil changes, inspect cars, making sure things are okay and write down what’s wrong with them,” she said. “After that, we check tires and brake pads, and whatever needs to be fixed, we fix it.”

Amanda pays great attention to detail making it easy to recognize malfunctioning parts that are wrong, like leaks. In the future, Amanda has the desire to learn all about cars. She wants to be well versed in the vocab and parts of cars, just like her supervisors Russ and Don.

So far, her favorite cars to fix are Toyota’s. “I have a new earned respect for them because they just keep going and going,” she said. “They’re awesome and they never die— it’s amazing.”

As Amanda matures and attends college, her supervisors want her to succeed at what God has called her to be. She’s already made such an impact on the lives of our program graduates and all the guys she works with in the shop. Russ and Don add, “She makes it fun again, to do what we do.”