Are we affecting change? This is a question we struggle with in the Denver office regularly. We strive to challenge our groups to be part of the solution to the many issues we are diving into during the week. My desire is that the youth who come through our program would have a life changing experience where they cannot go home and forget about what is going on in their own urban back yards. I heard an encouraging story this spring from one of our regular groups; a private high school from Albuquerque, NM. They bring their junior class to Denver on their school-wide mission week each spring. Last year's class was deeply impacted by the things they learned on our prayer tour and by the many stories they were able to hear throughout their week. They took what they learned home and put it into action.
During our prayer tour we stop next to civic center park where we spend some time learning about homelessness. Surrounded by several museums, the city and county building and the state capital we are standing where tourism, business and politics collide. It is here where groups learn about the Denver's Road Home, a program instituted by the mayor in 2005 with the goal of ending homelessness in 10 years. We are standing next to a red meter that is part of DRH's program. In 2007, 86 meters were placed around the city in high foot traffic and panhandling areas. The goal is to increase community awareness as well as raise funds. Each meter is covered in statistics about homelessness and all the money collected is given to agencies working with the homeless. The meters are also sponsored by a company or organization for $1000 and the program is on track with their goal of raising $100,000 a year! I love the visual that this gives students of how even a little bit of effort can add up to a lot of change!
This group of students was inspired by the idea of the meter program and is currently trying to institute the program in all cities with an approximate population of 500.000. They have created a petition on the Change.org website. Check out the petition here and join them by adding your signature! I am encouraged by their vision of seeing this sort of program in multiple cities and their initiative to seek change.
-Keysha Boggess, CSM Denver City Director
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