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A Busy Bee Summer | June 29th, 2022
Every weekday during the summer, our Learning Center is filled with about 25 students ages 3-12. The purpose of the Learning Center is to support working families by providing a quality education and Christian character development, and the LC staff do an incredible job providing physically, spiritually, and mentally enriching activities all day long from June to August!
This June, our School-Age kids were invited to join Bethany Busy Bee Preschool in Littleton for their “Monumental” VBS. They learned about Joseph’s story in the Old Testament and how it connects to Jesus. It was a blast to see the kids engage with the activities and worship songs.
Two of our students struggle with behavior issues and we weren’t certain if they would come to the VBS consistently. We were amazed to see them attend every day and now they want to listen to the VBS worship music nonstop! Our Learning Center has been blasting the VBS CD this week and everyone has been singing along!
Our staff put a lot of time and intention into the summer curriculum for both the elementary-aged kids and the preschoolers. Here are just some highlights:
Daily Bible Study Lessons
A Summer Reading Challenge with Prizes
Trips to the Children’s Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Paco Sanchez Park, Sea Quest, & More!
A Deep-Dive Study on the Ocean
Story Time at Hampton Library
Visits to Skate City, the Denver Zoo, Butterfly Pavilion, and Oasis Volleyball (where they turn their indoor sand pits into a massive sandbox for kids!)
We are grateful that so many local families entrust us with the care of their children and that we get to support the whole family unit by providing a safe and nurturing space for their kids to thrive. We now have openings in our preschool program (ages 3-5). If you are interested in enrolling your child, click here for more information!
In Honor of Brooke Hardy | June 16th, 2022
“We want people to be aware of the dangers of drug use and the cost of making one bad decision.”
As tears streamed down her face, Liz Hardy welcomed us to spread this awareness and share about her daughter, Brooke Hardy.
Brooke tragically passed at age 25 due to an accidental overdose of fentanyl early on New Year’s Day 2022. “She never suffered from addiction, but she tried the drug out of ignorance and that decision cost her her life,” shared Liz.
Through the support of community partners, Dave & Liz Hardy and family hosted The Brooke Hardy Charity Event on June 5th. The event allowed family and friends to lend their financial support through raffles, participating vendors and other opportunities. The Hardys decided to donate ALL proceeds from the event to Open Door Ministries.
Dave & Liz first heard about Open Door through Flatirons Community Church and even volunteered at a service project for Treasure House last August. The connection between Brooke's heart to serve the homeless and Open Door's work to do the same led them to support our organization.
Reminiscing over Brooke, Dave shared, “She truly had a heart for the homeless. She wouldn’t let fear deter her from lending a helping hand, getting them food or giving them blankets on cold winter nights. That’s why we wanted to give back to Open Door.”
Sheronda attended the event to represent ODM and connect with the Hardy family. “The event was a huge success, and I was able to have meaningful conversations with Brooke’s parents, meet Brooke's siblings, Paige and Logan, and meet many of their friends. Hearing from each of them, they all said Brooke was a presence that brightened any room in which she walked. Her parents are grateful that through this event, her life is still making an impact, which is what she wanted to do above all else.”
“Thank you for keeping my family in your prayers,” says Liz. “We are doing our best because God is good, but this is the hardest journey we’ve ever been on, so continued prayers are very much appreciated.”
Though our words can do little, we hope our thoughts and prayers will encourage The Hardys during this difficult period.
To the Hardys: May you find comfort knowing that Brooke’s life continues forever in heaven and Brooke’s impact continues forever on earth serving urban Denver.
$10K Match… SUCCESS! | June 6th, 2022
We had a fantastic time on Saturday joining together with our Denver community at Run for the Door 5K! Thank you to all who walked, ran, rang cow bells, gave out water, and donated to address the root causes of poverty in Denver. And now for a fundraising update…
We met our $10,000 Match on Race Day.
AND… that brings our fundraising total to $120,856 so far. That’s the most we’ve raised through this event EVER!
We are incredibly close to reaching our $125,000 goal for this event. Would you give today to help us close the gap? Every dollar given allows ODM to have a greater impact as we reach urban families and individuals with the hope of Christ! Click here to donate.
Be A Good Samaritan - May 20th, 2022
Here’s a Thrive in 25 Video from our friend Matt in the Family Room!
“I started coming around 2017 when they had the Saturday morning breakfast. Unlike a lot of other places that say that they help but don’t really help all that much, this place will actually try to help you with resources in the best way that they can.” - Matt, Family Room Guest
We Invite You to Touch a Life with the Samaritan App
Last year, the Family Room partnered with Samaritan, a program that allows you to give money directly to someone experiencing homelessness in a way that gives dignity and shows transparency.
We enroll Family Room guests that we have established relationships with. Once they are enrolled, they get a “smart wallet” which helps them set goals to work toward obtaining housing, employment, or to take small steps to stability.
You can download the Samaritan app and give directly to our Samaritan members. These funds are released to them on a VISA debit card by Open Door staff once they complete their goals.
Real Stories of Success Through Samaritan
Karey (pictured left) successfully completed her Samaritan goals, which have included working on Open Door staff and participating in the Freedom in Christ group with Open Door Fellowship. Through Samaritan she has been able to save up enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent for an apartment.
Catherine (pictured center) was staying at a shelter when she first started the Samaritan program. During her time with us she volunteered weekly and has now found stable housing.
Augustine (picture right) was recently homeless, but has become a leader in our Samaritan program. He has volunteered in the Family Room more and more frequently and is now helping with administrative tasks and managing the coffee station. But what has been most remarkable to watch is a change in Augustine’s demeanor. He spent 16 years in prison and had a rough exterior. But now he has opened his heart to God and started praying for people in the Family Room. He commented, “I feel mushy inside and I don’t know what to do about it.” Augustine is also on track to move into stable housing this weekend. We love watching how God is working in his life!
We Need Your Help!
We only have 10 active Samaritan donors right now and we're running out of funding. Would you consider being a Samaritan donor? This is a great opportunity to directly impact the life of someone who wants to take positive steps towards stability and sobriety. To get started, click the links below to download the free app on your device. Once it’s downloaded you can connect directly with our Samaritan Participants and choose how you want to give!
A Treasure House Makeover - May 12, 2022
At the end of 2021, an employee of Footprints Floors attended our annual banquet and decided he wanted to get his company involved in God’s work at ODM. After touring our properties, the company committed to refinishing the floors at Treasure House, our home for single moms. DuraSeal donated the product to finish the floors and Footprints staff not only did the finishing, but also sent some of their administrative staff to paint and stage two of our bedrooms for single moms.
When the floors were being refinished this spring we also installed brand new kitchen cabinets. The home is now in beautiful shape to welcome new residents. We also hired a new Treasure House Director, Jamie, and Assistant Director, Bailey, after our previous house staff transitioned to other positions.
We would love your help to outfit Treasure House so it can be a hospitable environment for the new single moms and kiddos we’ll be welcoming through our doors starting this June. We’ve put together an Amazon Wishlist with items (big and small) that you can help contribute to Treasure House. Click here to view the wishlist and tangibly help young single mothers in our community!
As we celebrate 25 years of ministry, we are launching a series of videos highlighting ministry participants, staff, and volunteers who’ve had their lives changed at Open Door Ministries. You won’t want to miss our first video from the most recent graduate from Treasure House, Nikki.
He is Risen Indeed! Eggs, Skits & Reaching Our Westside Neighbors
April 28th, 2022
The Westside community gathered last week to reach the neighborhood through an incredible “He Is Risen” Easter outreach!
The 138 people who attended the event enjoyed live music and games, but more importantly, each person heard the gospel message in some form.
Pastor Michelle Cazas organized a Resurrection Egg storytelling time where kids heard the Easter story in an interactive way. We were able to send each child home with their own set of Resurrection Eggs (and we had extras, which we sent home with each of our Learning Center kiddos and let them hear the story too!)
Since our neighbors speak many languages, Pastor Michelle also organized a silent evangelistic skit (you can watch by clicking here) so we could communicate the gospel without any words. We followed the successful skit with an evangelistic message, more live music, and an Easter Egg Hunt.
We are grateful for volunteers from Foothills Bible Church who volunteered for several days with us to help pull off the event. We cannot express how incredibly helpful they were in making this event a success.
On top of this, we are thrilled to see two young women give their lives to Jesus at the event! We pray that many more were touched and that we will continue to see God’s work in their hearts!
Watch Nikkie’s Treasure House Rap
March 17th, 2022
Graduating from Treasure House, one of our Still Waters Housing transitional programs, is no small accomplishment - it takes two years of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. On Saturday we gathered together to celebrate Nikkie as she successfully graduated the program! Nikkie has an incredible story, and we thought you’d like to hear it…
“Starting at the age of 14, I spent the next 18 years in and out of institutions, psych wards, and treatment programs for dangerous drug use. I was arrested many, many times. In and out of the ER and detox. And the picture I hope I’m painting for you is just how hopeless I really was. I was one of those people that it seemed like I would never get better. Many of my loved ones grieved my death many years ago because that was the trajectory that I was on. How I was living wasn’t really living.
Then two years ago I was a new mother again and I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I was given that opportunity again after everything I had done. And I realized that not even that was enough - that not even the thing I wanted more than anything in the world, my deepest desire or my strongest will, was enough to get me better. I was on the path to repeat the cycle all over again. And that’s when I had my first meaningful communication to who I now know to be God. I said, ‘Fix me or take me because I can’t do another day like this.’ And you know what, I didn’t do another day like that.
I was in treatment in less than 36 hours. I stopped using drugs the next day. God really got down in the grave that I was in and built this strong scaffolding around me in the way of people, and places, and relationships, and opportunities, and all I had to do was climb.
So many miracles happened at Treasure House. The amount of times I was celebrated at Treasure House far exceeds the amount of times I was arrested! I was so excited when I celebrated one year there because I had never stayed put for one year anywhere. I had never had the same relationships for one year. And now here I am. My mind is a little blown because I never saw myself with several years clean, and with good relationships.”
Welcoming the Stranger - Join Us March 16th
Stories are powerful, and we want to invite you to explore the journey of immigration through the stories of four individuals. Please join us for a panel discussion facilitated by our partners at Westside Church Internacional and JAMLAC!
Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Westside Church Internacional
3440 W Louisiana Ave, Denver, CO 80219
Our event panelists will share personal experiences to build a framework for immigration that is rooted in our shared theology, the history of immigration policy and law, and how we can move forward together.
We are excited to hear from moderator Michelle Warren, and panelists Sulma Mendoza, Michelle Cazas, Jonathan Alfonseca, and Gixson Zambrana.
We look forward to learning together about this important issue facing our country and how we can respond as Christians.
Is Food Your Love Language?
March 3rd, 2022
The Family Room ministry at ODM wants to reach as many people experiencing homelessness as possible. No matter how hot or cold it is outside, there’s nothing more inviting than a nice, warm meal!
Instead of just offering hot coffee and snacks, our Family Room staff want to go above and beyond to serve warm meals for breakfast and lunch each day to our Family Room friends. But to do this, we need your help!
Is food your love language? We are looking for Meal Partners who are willing to bring a meal once a month that we can freeze and reheat for a weekday breakfast or lunch for 30 people. We ask that meals be delivered in re-heatable, disposable containers that we can freeze until needed.
Or, if you’d rather come and serve up a fresh meal yourself on a monthly basis (instead of dropping it off for us to serve later), we’d welcome that as well.
Want to become a Family Room Meal Partner? Contact Bonnie Mondragon at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 303-830-2201.
We’re excited for the opportunity to reach more of our brothers and sisters on the streets by partnering with you!
Black History Month: Get Inspired!
February 15th, 2022
In honor of Black History month, we want to introduce you to some of our Downtown Youth Center students! They took the time to share with us who inspires them the most in the black community and what they aspire to be when they grow up.
Joann, We See You
February 10th, 2022
We’d like to introduce you to Joann, a new face on the ODM Block. Joann moved into Te Veo House on December 14th, 2021, and has an incredible story to share of God’s faithfulness.
“I journeyed back to New Jersey last year to take care of my mom. Within a month of me being there, her kidneys dramatically failed. She passed away July 4th, but it was her freedom day.
“When she passed, I suddenly realized I didn’t have a place to live. I was living, eating, sleeping and washing up in my car during a heat wave in August.”
After a few stops with friends and family, Joann sensed the Lord leading her to return to Denver. Her daughter sent her a link to the Open Door website and told Joann she should apply for transitional housing.
“As I was filling out the application, I heard that God was sending me there.” In an act of trust, Joann drove to Denver to interview for a spot in Te Veo House. After patiently waiting and sleeping in her car in the cold weather, she received a call that she could move in. “Praise the Lord!”
“When I got to the house, Lena [Te Veo Director] had a gift bag on the bed, a new bedspread, and a greeting letter saying ‘We see you.’ I left the letter on the dresser for days because it was such a beautiful greeting.”
When Christmas rolled around, the staff showered residents with gifts from donors. Joann commented, “I know they shopped with their heart in a very mindful, loving way. It was a blessing to see so much love poured out on the sisters here in this house. You could see God’s hand working. Our donors need to know the impact that it made on every person here.”
Joann has a God given calling on her life to write. She is currently writing her first book titled "She Cries Holy" and is due out by summer. She said, “I just can’t believe it. Marti [Te Veo Assistant Director] arranged for me to have a desk. Somebody bought me a printer. Right now, I’m looking at all these books spread out on my bed, and I’m grateful.”
Joann, we see you!
A New Focus Area: Leadership Development
February 3rd, 2022
Since our inception in 1997, Open Door Ministries has been passionate about developing leaders - especially those who come from our community. It’s an integral part of our ministry efforts, so we’ve chosen to make Leadership Development one of our key focus areas.
Here are the many ways we seek to develop emerging leaders:
The Internship Program equips young people with practical vocational experience through specific ministry placements in our urban environment.
Street2Life Print Shop offers a path from the street to a productive and Christ-centered life by providing transitional employment.
Urban Immersion brings youth and adults to ODM for short-term trips to serve, learn, and interact with the neighborhood.
Beyond these specific programs, Leadership Development is woven into almost everything we do. Downtown youth students complete the Next Step Internship program every summer, becoming seasonal employees of ODM. We provide pathways for transitional housing residents to lead the newer members of their houses and give volunteer responsibilities to Family Room guests who want to give back.
And did you know that 8 of our current staff actually started off as ODM program participants? We love watching individuals grow and take ownership of their lives, choosing to contribute to Christ’s kingdom work as leaders at Open Door Ministries!
p.s. We are now recruiting interns for summer 2022! Click here to view our many internship opportunities.