Denver Urban Ministries: Denver, Colorado

Dates: March 22-30
Group Size: 2 student leaders, 8 participants
Cost: $600

Quick Facts:

  • Work along side full time Vincentian volunteers in their intentional Catholic community.
  • Relax and reflect together in the serenity of nature outside of Denver.

Host Community:

The mission of Denver Urban Ministries is to “inspire hope as an advocate and trusted provider of needed services.” Since 1983 Denver Urban Ministries has committed to providing hands-on educational and service opportunities to youth and adults interested in improving the Denver community and taking the knowledge learned here, back to their own communities.

In the fall of 2010, DenUM began a Urban Plunge program!  The VISION team will  learn about issues of poverty and work with agency fighting for change in the Denver’s urban area.

Justice Issues:

Homelessness– The incidence and look of homelessness has changed dramatically in the metro Denver area in the past twenty-seven years. Not only have the numbers increased, up from 1,985 in 1990 to 11,061 in 2009 (Denver Point in Time survey), but the composition of the homeless community has changed from one of predominantly single, adult males with a substance abuse or mental health issue, to one in which 46% of the total is made up of families with children. Many of these families are homeless for the first time and do not know what resources are available or where to find them

Child poverty - Colorado has the fastest-growing child-poverty rate in the nation — a distinction attributed to a burgeoning number of poor in Denver's suburbs and a widening gap between Latino and non-Latino income. While the state ranked 22nd nationally, Colorado's child-poverty rate has climbed 72 percent since 2000, according to KIDS COUNT in Colorado, an annual report by the Colorado Children's Campaign.

Cultural Opportunities:

There will be opportunities throughout the week to interact and work with a Denver’s rich ethnic diversity.  Through a variety of experiential activities the VISION group will learn first hand about  the reality of living in homelessness , struggling in poverty, and the creativity and resourcefulness it takes to makes ends meet with few resources.

A Sample Week:

Day 1 (Sunday):

Welcome to Denver! The Urban Education Coordinator will meet you at your host church for orientation to the Urban Education Program and to review the week’s itinerary, tour the host church, and give a briefing on the issues of poverty and homelessness in Denver.

Day 2, 3, 4, and 5:

7:00 am - Rise and Shine, it is time to work! Groups will volunteer at any of the 20+ local nonprofits partners.

8:30 am – 4:00 Arrive at the worksites. Worksites include, but are not limited to: preparing and serving meals for the homeless; sorting and packing donations in a food bank; building or improving low-income housing; painting homes, nurturing and tending gardens and working with children of economically disadvantaged families, individuals with disabilities and the elderly.

4:00-7:00 pm - Relaxation time! A couple of the afternoons may be set aside for educational activities such as a Downtown Walking Tour or the Game of Life. Other afternoons are free, allowing time to explore the city of Denver.

7:30 pm - One evening will be devoted to a discussion with someone who has experienced homelessness first hand. Other evenings your group might choose to plan activities: eat dinner at a local ethnic restaurant, head to the mountains,

9:30 pm - Bed Time! After all the adventures of the day, your group may gather for evening devotions. This is a great time to reflect on what the impact of serving is having on your personal and spiritual lives.

Day 6 (Friday):

Free Day! Get out and explore all Denver and Colorado have to offer!

Food, Lodging, and Travel:

 The group will travel by 12 passenger van to Denver and will be staying in a volunteer house in the Denver area.  The group will prepare and eat meals together.

Cost:

The trip fee of $600 includes van rental, site transportation, lodging, work materials for the site, meals, and programmed urban plunge  activities. Additional expenses not included in the program fee, include: spending money  for souvenirs as determined by the group agreement and food en route to site.

 

For more information go to:  http://www.denum.org/