10 Year Anniversary

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

By |2011-11-16T18:56:01+00:00November 16th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

Do you love hosting parties? Do you want to have fun while helping Mi Casa raise funds to support its mission?
If so, then we invite you to become involved in the 2011 Mi Casa Es Su Casa dinner series as a host. It’s a series of small dinner parties in private homes hosted by friends of Mi Casa. While the size, menu, and date of each party will vary, the purpose of each Mi Casa Es Su Casa event is the same: raise vital funds to further our mission of advancing the economic success of Latino families.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa guests will each be invited to make a suggested donation of $50 – or the equivalent of what you might spend on a night out.
Hosting a Mi Casa dinner party is fun and easy!
1Pick a date.
2 – Create a guest list. Invite the people in your life who, like you, care about making a difference in our community. As a way to share the work, consider teaming up with a friend as co-hosts. All hosts and co-hosts receive a Mi Casa Es Su Casa e-vite template to help easily spread the word and invite guests.
3 – Set a fundraising goal for your event and communicate it to your guests.
4 – Plan your party to fit your lifestyle and budget. Some hosts will serve a sit-down meal while others may organize a happy hour with appetizers and drinks
5 – Finally, throw your party!
On the evening of your event, Mi Casa staff, board members and volunteers will be available to mingle with your guests and provide an overview of our programs.
Want to host a Mi Casa Es Su Casa party? Please contact Cheryl at (303) 539-5609 or cbalchunas@MiCasaResourceCenter.org.

10 Years. 10 Charities features Mi Casa Resource Center

By |2011-11-16T18:50:22+00:00November 16th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

In 1976, eight Head Start mothers living in West Denver founded what would become Mi Casa Resource Center. More than 35 years later, thousands of low-income individuals, many of them Latinas and youth, have come to Mi Casa with little more than hope and dreams: hope for a brighter tomorrow, dreams of a good job, a home of one’s own, and a child’s bright future. For many of these women their first step through Mi Casa’s front door is the beginning of a journey toward new opportunities and economic success.
Mi Casa’s mission is to advance the economic success of Latino families, through an integrated program strategy comprised of Career, Business, and Youth & Family Development services. Mi Casa believes that only when members of a family have realistic opportunities to pursue professional, educational and entrepreneurial advancement – within a culturally responsive and supportive environment – will the cycle of poverty ultimately be broken. Mi Casa offers:
Career Development Programs – that provide a practical pathway for workers who face barriers to employment to launch a promising career

  • Green Construction and Energy training program
  • Bilingual Bank Teller training program
  • Healthcare Professionals training program
  • Vocational English Language Learning (VELL) training program

Business Development Programs – to help underserved entrepreneurs and emerging businesses find success through self-employment

  • 13-week entrepreneurial program
  • Individual business consulting/coaching
  • Many seminars on topics such as social media, technology, email marketing and networking

Youth & Family Development Programs – for Latino youth focused on positive academic, emotional and social development, with opportunities for family engagement and adult learning.

  • Afterschool technology program for youth ages 14-20
  • Out-of-school enrichment programs
  • Intensive case management and prevention for at-risk youth

Mi Casa continues to modify and expand programs to align with community needs, economic trends, and best practice program models. Because of their drive for excellence they were considered a national model for welfare reform and were recognized and endorsed by then First Lady and now Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Proof is in the statistics:
•    54 individuals successfully completed the bilingual entrepreneurial training courses in Denver and Southern Colorado; 84 graduates submitted viable business plans
•    83 small businesses launched with Mi Casa’s assistance that created 87 jobs, obtained over $1,000,000 in capital assistance and generated nearly $3,000,000 in revenue.
•    81 individuals completed Mi Casa’s career training programs
•    44 individuals (54% of those who completed the training) have been placed in full-time jobs with average wage of $11 per hour with benefits
•    402 children were served in out-of-school time enrichment programs
•    230 family members participated in adult programming
•    53% of core students improved their academic performance based on CSAP scores
•    100% of core students advanced to next grade
See Mi Casa in action – Check out their video!

Mi Casa from Mi Casa Resource Center on Vimeo.
Learn  more about Mi Casa – www.micasadenver.org

Success Stories from the Bean

By |2011-10-25T20:40:46+00:00October 25th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

The proof is in the pudding, or shall we say the soup, with 58% of 2011 participants graduating the program, 78% securing jobs, 66% keeping employment at 6 month check-in, 80% showing improved self-esteem and interpersonal skills, and displayed increased ability to set goals and manage finances. 80% also eliminated employment barriers like housing and tra
nsportation. With the Women’s Bean Project as a stepping stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations.
Below are just a couple of their tremendous success stories: (OR we could have this link to another page so folks don’t miss the bottom section)

“I always felt like the black sheep in my family. My mom and I argued until I moved out of the house at 14. I was in and out of people’s houses until I graduated from high school. My mom now admits she wasn’t a good mom to me…but, it was tough for her too because she was 17 when she had me.
I started getting into meth when I was living with a friend, and her mom introduced me to it. That started a 7-year meth addiction. Both of my children were born in jail and had a slight addiction to meth themselves.
Working at the Bean Project has given me so much. The Bean Project saw me as more than just an ‘addict.’ It can be really hard when you are trying to get your life back together and people only see you a certain way. The Bean Project didn’t judge me and helped me find a way back into society.”
Update: Barbara got married, is working part time and expecting a baby.

After her mother’s untimely death, Josephine started getting into real trouble. It began with cashing bad checks when she was 18 years old to support her daughter. Soon, she started drinking and getting high which lead to cashing more checks, stealing cars and dealing drugs.
“The bank caught me cashing checks and I was arrested and sent to jail for six months. When I got out, I found out I lost full custody of my baby.”
“I am so grateful. I didn’t even know where to start. The Bean Project helped me get my birth certificate, social security card and got me working right away.
Update: JoJo is working and living in her own apartment.

I was born in Colorado and I have 2 siblings. My mother was an alcoholic. My parents divorced when I was 10 and all three of us kids stayed with my dad. From that point on my life was different. I started to have trouble in school. By the time I was 12 I stopping going to school, left home and was drinking everyday. At 14, I started using crystal meth. By 16 I was shooting up. My life was a mess. I didn’t have my family. I was in and out of juvenile facilities.
When I was 18 I got my first felony for forgery and went to jail for 180 days. When I got out, I met my daughter’s dad. It was first of many abusive and horrible relationships. I became pregnant but didn’t stop using drugs. After my daughter was born things got even worse. I was living in a hotel on Broadway with my daughter. My addiction forced my mother to go get sober to save her granddaughter. She took her from me because I was high and not a very good parent. I would visit maybe once a week.
My daughter was growing up and getting bigger without me. I would show up high to her birthday parties. I missed her first day of school. I missed every important first experience. My daughter wanted to see me but I was not capable of seeing her. I didn’t care about anything. And my mother had to deal with my bad judgment.
I was high nonstop for over 10 years. I was in and out of jail. I had nothing and nowhere to be. And I was writing bad checks to stay high. I eventually ended up at a community corrections program called the Haven. From there I was referred to Women’s Bean Project.
When I started work there it was awesome. I went to work every day. I was responsible. I learned skills I never had. It was like I was 16 again, going to work for the first time. My past doesn’t mean that I can’t be a normal functioning member of society.
I learned how to go into an interview and be confident. I learned to answer uncomfortable questions that employers would ask. I went Women’s Bean Project with no skills and by the time I left there was nothing there I didn’t know how to do. I could make baskets, work on the line, do shipping, answer the phones. I could do it all and it felt good. I am so appreciative of the opportunity that was given to me at the Bean Project. It was the first of many steps in the right direction. I would like to see more women who are trying to get their lives on track, be able to have this opportunity.
Contact Hoyer Law Firm for more information.
Update: Shawna is working in an optician’s office and continues to be a mom to her children.

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10 Years. 10 Charities features Women's Bean Project

By |2011-10-25T20:19:45+00:00October 25th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

Since 1989, Women’s Bean Project has been dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.
The Mission: To change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.
The Vision: Women’s Bean Project strives to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty by helping women discover their talents and develop skills by offering job readiness training opportunities.

With this stepping stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations.
The Program:
The Women’s Bean Project is a non-profit business dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. Our goal is to provide each program participant with a safe, accepting work environment where she can learn to identify and build upon her talents while building the skills necessary to get and keep mainstream employment. We do this by providing employment training in our gourmet food production business.
Each program participant begins her time at the Bean Project on the production line. During the initial Probationary and Stabilization period, participants focus on the basic skills needed for employment such as coming to work on time and staying on task.
As participants move into the second phase of employment, expectations increase to include individual goal setting and team leadership, and the focus broadens to include skills such as problem solving and effective communication.
Training tracks provide our program participants with the opportunity to work in various departments throughout the organization, offering them additional skills and the chance to try different kinds of work. Training tracks are offered in reception, shipping and receiving, sales and marketing, off-site sales, public speaking, and accounting.
The program has three basic components, each designed to address areas that serve as barriers to getting and keeping employment.
Meeting Basic Needs and learning Life Skills and Fundamental Job Readiness. For in-depth information about the program click here.
Throughout the course of six months, we work with program participants to help them discover their capabilities and interests. As they approach the end of their training, participants will decide whether to further their education, access more training through another community nonprofit, or search for a new job.
Women’s Bean Project graduates have found jobs at many businesses including Wells Fargo Bank, The Colorado Trust, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Safeway, Old Country Buffet, Denver Health Medical Center and Marriott’s Residence Inn.
Check out the numerous Women’s Bean Project YouTube videos:

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Faces of Hunger – This Could be YOU!

By |2011-09-23T17:02:59+00:00September 23rd, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

When contemplating the concept of people going hungry, you may conjure up images of Third World countries, people living in shacks with dirt floors, and children that are far too thin. The reality is the folks who don’t have enough food are living in your neighborhood and look very similar to you and me. The only difference is many of them have had a number of challenging situations stack up in such a way that they are unable to provide for their family, much less themselves. It is not the end of the world if you have to care for a sick loved one, or your car breaks down, or you lose your job, or you fall ill, or suddenly become a single parent. These things happen, BUT if you are confronted with a constellation of difficulties simultaneously, your ability and resources to cope are diminished. With the state of the economy these unfortunate situations are becoming more and more common and are occurring much “closer to home”. Thanks to the help of non-profit organizations like Food Bank of the Rockies, people have a place to turn for food, when there is nothing in the cupboards. It doesn’t solve all of their life problems but it is one less thing to worry about. Peer into the Faces of Hunger below. Get a sense for who they are and what they are up against.
Vikki was visiting a food pantry for the first time when we sat down with her. She lost her job during the summer of 2009, discovered she had stage 3 cancer in November of that same year and has since taken on the responsibility of caring for her disabled father. During their year of hardships, her husband’s work hours began dwindling and insurance costs went up. Vikki hasn’t been able to get adequate medical coverage due to her “pre-existing” condition. Following five months of cancer treatment, her family was forced to file bankruptcy in July, 2010. They are days away from losing their home and remain two months behind on bills and mortgage payments. They cannot find a way to catch up. Her four year old son is her driving force and it’s because of him that they finally came to the conclusion they need help. The food pantry she visited will provide one less worry for Vikki and her family.
Christy and her husband took over the family painting company after her husband’s father passed away suddenly.  Once a lucrative business, the company fell on hard times with the troubled economy.  Christy, her husband, young daughter and mother-in-law are trying to keep up on bills, but are struggling to put food on the table.  They’re currently waiting for food stamps and are trading services for painting as a creative way to make ends meet.  Simply going out for painting bids is difficult with the price of gas.  They’re having a baby any day and worry about how they’re going to manage all that life is throwing at them.  Christy relies on a local food pantry to ease worries about feeding her family and is grateful for the help.  This family resides in the 7th wealthiest county in the nation.  Imagine that.

Rita’s fiancé passed away last June.  And she lost her job shortly after.  She and her four children have been trying to make ends meet ever since.  Rita lost her car and she couldn’t keep up with utilities, rent, gas…you get the drill.  She’s been on hold for receiving food stamps for months, so she comes to a local pantry for food and clothing for the kids.  And for a sense of family.  They try to make it without asking for help, but that’s been pretty tough lately.  But she smiles and laughs.  And she makes it work for the sake of her family.
For more stories like these, thanks to Food Bank of the Rockies, click here.

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What Are Professional Artists doing in the Math Classroom?

By |2011-08-29T17:06:00+00:00August 29th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

If you think that dance, visual arts, and theater don’t have a place in the math classroom, you better think again. Actually, you better Think 360 Arts! This Denver-based non-profit organization is keeping the 1970’s Artist-in-Schools philosophy alive today by continuing to foster art integration in education. Not only do they bring professional artists into the classrooms of ALL subjects but bring teachers together with artists to learn how to infuse art into their curriculum. So who are these artist teachers and what is art integration all about??
The Artists
The Think 360 Arts professional teaching-artists have spent the vast majority of their lives dedicated to an art form – whether it is storytelling, music, writing, dance, sculpture, photography, etc. etc.. They are talented, and seasoned individuals who have been expressing themselves creatively in the “real world” and want to share that knowledge and experience in the classroom. Jane Page, a professional theater director and long-time teaching-artist with Think 360 Arts explains, “The art form becomes an engine which adds a new perspective on what is already being taught in the classroom. The resulting curriculum connections are made in concert with the teachers whose classes are involved in the program. The connections in my programs have encompassed math, science, literature, history, social studies, and character education.”
Check out the Think 360 Arts roster of exquisite professional artist teachers

The Importance of Art Education
First and foremost art education cultivates creativity on the most basic level. Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations. So infusing a rational, right-brained subject like math, with song or dance not only captures the attention of students, but allows them to think about it in an entirely different way…utilizing BOTH sides of their brain and “thinking outside the box”. Cultivating creativity and creative expression at an early age is also beneficial down the line for it serves as a coping mechanism for emotional challenges that tweenagers and teenagers may not have the skills to express verbally.
Art education also bolsters skills for the 21st century workforce though critical thinking and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity, discipline, alternative ways to express yourself and communicate ideas, and cross cultural understanding – all of which support academic success across the curriculum.
Overall Impact
A true trifecta exists in the world of art education. For students, working with a professional artist not only provides them with added skills in the specific art form, but often introduces them to a new kind of relationship with an adult. Many children have had a fairly limited view of adults: they are parents, family members, teachers, religious leaders or the police. So getting to know an adult whose life and work is a bit untraditional is a new experience, and sometimes it opens their eyes to opportunities that might exist for them as they grow up. For teachers, they are able to witness first-hand how creativity and learning in a different way can inspire their students, AND themselves – many times sparking the artist within themselves and encourage them to refuel, rethink and re-envision themselves and their teaching. For teaching artists, they are rewarded by the personal connections, interactions and joy of sharing. “Learning to communicate and express yourself is a great asset in any facet of life and I enjoy helping students learn to do that.”, states Jeff Finlin, critically claimed writer and singer-songwriter and artist teacher for Think 360 Arts.

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10 Months. 10 Charities features the Dumb Friends League

By |2011-06-16T13:44:28+00:00June 16th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

Founded in 1910, the Dumb Friends League is a national leader in providing humane care to lost and abandoned animals, rescuing sick, injured and abused animals, adopting pets to new homes, helping pets stay in homes, and educating pet owners and the public about the needs of companion animals.
The Dumb Friends League is the largest animal welfare organization in the Rocky Mountain region, welcoming tens of thousands animals to their two shelters. They turn no animals away.
At their main shelter in southeast Denver and our Buddy Center in Castle Rock, dogs, cats, rabbits and other small pets enjoy the comfort of a nurturing environment in state-of-the-art facilities.
Explaining the Name…
The organization was named after a London, England, animal shelter called Our Dumb Friends League. In those days (early 1900’s), the term “dumb” was often used to refer to those who were unable to speak.
Although the term “dumb” is not generally used with that meaning today, we’ve kept our name, because it has significant recognition among Colorado residents.
The mission statement of the Dumb Friends League includes these words: “speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves,” meaning our companion animal friends.
More than just adopting animals…
The Dumb Friends League provides the following services to the Rocky Mountain Region.

  • Provides shelter and care for as many as 25,000 lost and abandoned animals every year
  • Adopts homeless pets to new families
  • Reunites lost pets with their owners
  • Investigates animal cruelty and supports animal-friendly legislation
  • Provides animal behavior assistance through classes, a free telephone helpline and the Internet
  • Offers free pet-friendly housing referrals throughout Colorado
  • Educates children and adults about the humane treatment of animals and the importance of spaying and neutering
  • Offers donor-subsidized spay/neuter for owned cats and dogs in under-served communities

Taking DFL on the Road…
The Pet Care-avan is a 27-foot mobile unit that is fitted with kennels and taken throughout the Denver area and Douglas County. Our goal is to help increase awareness about the organization and adopt more pets. In the past year they have attended more than 125 events, interacting with nearly 77,000 patrons and adopting more than 110 pets. Go behind the scenes of the Pet Care-avan.
DFL on YouTube
Helping pets recently affected by natural disasters
Many more videos about DFL on Youtube.com

The Dumb Friends League – Cat and Mouse Game

By |2011-06-16T13:08:48+00:00June 16th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

If you have lived in Denver for more than a few months you are surely familiar with the infamous Dumb Friends League. They are the largest animal welfare organization in the Rocky Mountain region, welcoming tens of thousands animals to their two shelters.  For over 100 years they have provided humane care to lost and abandoned animals. In addition they rescue sick, injured and abused animals, adopt pets to new homes, help pets stay in homes, and educate pet owners and the public about the needs of companion animals. There is a myriad of heart-felt stories about the placement of animals into loving homes. Below is a unique tale of an unlikely duo that befriended each other and their new owner.
Cat and Mouse Game
Bailey and Izzy are best friends. They took to each other like peanut butter and jelly, or milk and cookies. Or a rat and a kitten? That’s right. These two gave up the endless game of cat and mouse and are as close as can be.
Bailey was found alone downtown when she was a kitten. The family who found her already had a number of animals, including a 2-year-old rat named Izzy. Bailey got along well with the other pets, but she and Izzy formed a special bond. The family could not keep Bailey themselves, so they brought her to the Dumb Friends League. They decided to give up Izzy as well, hoping the two would be adopted together.
Ruth Carney was on the lookout for a new cat after her own, Cooper, went missing.
“I was literally going to various shelters on a daily basis,” Carney said. “I walked into the Dumb Friends League, saw Bailey, and I fell in love. I put my finger on the glass, and she responded instantly.”
Carney decided to take Bailey home, and she was told about Bailey’s friend, Izzy. She said she was surprised, but she was happy to add a rat to the family. Carney already had two dogs, and all four animals get along. The two new pets seem to be the perfect additions to their home.
Carney made a home for Izzy in a large birdcage, which Bailey loves to climb inside. She set up different toys inside the cage and calls it the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. The pair also enjoys running and playing together when Izzy is in her large blue exercise ball.
“Izzy loves to sit on your shoulder and watch TV,” Carney said. “Bailey runs the house now, but the pets are all the best of friends.”
“We love the new additions to our family, and we love the Dumb Friends League. We appreciate all that you do to assist animals that cannot assist themselves.”
The Dumb Friends League has many cats, dog, and other small pets available for adoption. If you are interested in making a cuddly addition to your family, view our adoptable pets online, visit one of our two shelter locations or call (303) 751-5772 for more information. www.ddfl.org

Permission Granted… give to yourself, others and the community.

By |2011-05-31T21:32:31+00:00May 31st, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

Who would have thought getting a massage would not only be good for you, but  for the local community as well.  If you haven’t heard yet, to celebrate our 10 year Anniversary we are donating 10% of our net massage proceeds to 10 local charities through December of this year!  Here are the upcoming charities that your massages will benefit this summer!

  • June- Providence Network and The Joy House
  • July – Denver Dumb Friends League
  • August- Colorado Community Health Network

Doesn’t it feel good to know that when you take care of yourself, that you are also supporting a great cause!  To read more about our 10 year anniversary.

  • 3- 60 minute full body summer massages: $199 (~$66 per massage)

 Are you a member?  Get an additional $50 off this package: $149 (~$49 per massage)
The fine print: massages must be used within 3 months from date of purchase and are non-transferable.   90 minute massage packages are also available.  Offer expires July 31, 2011. 
 Call to Book Your Appointment Today!  303-357-9355 (WELL)
Get Real Results at The Wellness Center – Voted one of Denver’s top Massages by Channel 7s A list, two years in a row.

Laurie’s Story – The Joy House Gives Women Shelter and Hope

By |2011-05-09T17:03:59+00:00May 9th, 2011|10 Year Anniversary|

Laurie found The Joy House, a domestic violence safe house, when she escaped a severely abusive relationship for fear of her baby’s life, as well as her own. They joined the 10 other families that occupy the individual apartments within the house, where they received housing, counseling, job training and other services, but most importantly a safe haven. As residents they were immersed in a high-accountability two-year program with the goal of helping people like Laurie become healthy and self-sufficient. After nearly two years of personal, professional and financial accomplishments, Laurie and her son were ready to move on. At this point they could relocate anywhere but choose to stay in the community in what is known as “Next Step” housing. Victory Apartments is an affordable housing complex that offers yet another safe, drug/alcohol free living situation where the community is strong and the friendships are deep. Laurie and her son have thrived in this environment where they have developed deep and lasting relationships.
Not all stories are as successful and emotional as Laurie’s, BUT the Joy House has spent 10 years supporting battered women in the Denver community, providing them a respite from abusive situations and giving them the tools to re-enter society as independent, confident women.  With the generous donations from individuals and organizations like The Wellness Center they are able to fulfill their mission.
For more information about Joy House and Laurie’s story watch this touching video – Click Here
Contact Mike G Law services for consultation.

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