Take a look at our year-end fundraising invitation!
2019 ROP Year-End Fundraising Letter
2019 ROP Year-End Fundraising Letter
Earlier today, I got an email from one of ROP’s ESL teachers. She related to me a request from one of her students. The student was asking where she and other refugee moms could go for help keeping their teens out of gangs. The teacher lamented that she did not have any great answers for her student, but as she pondered and prayed about the issue of gangs and teens, God brought to mind a book she had read many years ago, The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. It is the powerful story of how God led young pastor Wilkerson to New York City to minister to at-risk caught up in gangs and drug use. Toward the beginning of his ministry, Pastor Wilkerson felt led to raise money for a building where kids could come to hang out, plays games, build healthy relationships and learn about a God who loved them.
Our teacher is convicted that the 1523 Boston Building across the street from ROP’s existing building should become the same kind of place for teens in our community.* I could not agree with her more. With its full gymnasium and lots of other classroom and meeting space, we envision the 1523 Boston building becoming a great resource for our community and especially its children and teens. But honestly, as much as ROP’s ministry and community would be blessed by the addition of the 1523 Building, the greatest need of our community’s teens is for people, i.e. relationships with mature Christian adults who can speak both love and truth into the lives of kids in need of both.
So when my teacher friend asked in her email how she could help, I told her by all means to pray for and help spread the word regarding the 1523 Boston building opportunity, but where she could help the most with our teens would be by praying for and helping us get the word out regarding our need for people called and gifted to work with at-risk youth. I also put her in touch with Matt Smith, ROP’s Youth Ministry Director, who is eager to talk to this mom and see how he might help with her son or daughter and other refugee youth in our community. But Matt needs help. There is only so much that one guy can do. He needs more men and women to join him in this very strategic ministry. Sometimes, all it takes for a young man or woman to make a good choice toward the kind of life God has for them is a word of encouragement and affirmation from a healthy adult role model who genuinely cares for them. If you are interested in being a part of this critically important ministry with at-risk youth, I strongly encourage you to get in touch with Matt at [email protected] or 303.570.7501. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
And while I am making an appeal for youth-oriented volunteers, I want to also mention ROP’s Reading Mentor program at Crawford Elementary School which will be starting up again on Wednesday, January 23rd. We would love to add a couple more people to our awesome Reading Mentor team. As a Reading Mentor, you can play a critical role in helping an English language learner to succeed academically and in life by simply helping them learn to be a better reader. The time requirement is from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. every Wednesday for just 10 weeks at Crawford Elementary School. I know it can seem like a long drive for some, but my suggestion is to either bring a friend to volunteer with you or to listen to your audio Bible as you drive :-). If you are interested or have questions, please let me know.
* The 1523 Boston St. Building, aka the former Boys and Girls Club, went up for sale a few months ago and ROP is feeling led to try to buy it. So far we have a $300k commitment from The Anschutz Foundation, but we need quite a bit more to make an offer which is likely to be accepted.
As 2018 comes to a close, it seems only appropriate to take a little time to look back with thankfulness and forward with anticipation.
Here are just a few highlights from this past year for which we thank God:
As we look forward into 2019, here are just three areas in which we anticipate God moving and for which we covet your prayers:
Well friends, that’s pretty much it for this eblast and this year. Just one last low-key and no-pressure appeal for financial support. (Hey, it’s part of my job :-). To all those who are already regular supporters and/or have made a year-end donation – thank you, thank you! However, if you have been considering a year-end gift to ROP and have not yet made one, we sure would appreciate your taking a moment to do so as God leads. Not withstanding, the fact that we have raised more money than in any previous year (as mentioned above), we have also spent more and at this point are still about $15k short of finishing the year with revenue greater than expense.
Thanks again for your partnership in ministry. If you feel led to make a year-end donation, you can do so with your credit card by clicking on this link to ROP’s website, or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040. Checks must be postmarked by 12/31/18 to be deductible for 2018 taxes.
December is a busy but fun time at ROP. There may be a little shopping involved, but it is mostly about sharing – sharing gifts, sharing fellowship and sharing the Christmas Story. In previous Eblasts I talked about how gifts were shared and families blessed at Colorado Community Church’s Christmas Store and at Crawford Elementary School. I also talked about how the Christmas Story was shared and good fellowship enjoyed and at the Work Readiness and English as a Second Language Christmas parties.
This past week the sharing continued at ROP’s Wednesday Lunch Outreach and Spark program for kids. Wednesday Lunch volunteers prepared and distributed gift bags filled with socks, gloves, hygiene items and Christmas treats to about 60 of our homeless friends. As usual, a good lunch, fellowship and prayer were also shared. Sorry no photos :-(.
However, I do have a couple photos from ROP’s last Christmas event of the year. Wednesday evening was a special night for the kids of ROP’s Spark program. Parents were invited and the kids were able to share with their parents the gifts they had made for them. The kids also entertained their parents in song and dance, but the best thing, at least for me, was watching the kids actually share the Christmas Story BY MEMORY with their parents – amazing! Many thanks to Rick Randall, one of our awesome Spark volunteers, who has been teaching and working with the kids on memorizing the Christmas Story for several weeks. He and they did a great job. Now the kids can share the story of Jesus’ birth not only with their families, but with their friends as well. How cool is that?! It makes me smile just thinking about it and I hope it makes you smile too.
The Spark Christmas Party was pretty much our last Christmas event. On Thursday, Lucy’s TUMI class had their final exam and on Friday morning ROP’s Board discussed our 2019 Budget. Not very Christmassy, but good and important stuff nevertheless. But that was pretty much it for ROP’s ministry this year. Volunteers and staff are looking forward to spending the next week with family and friends, celebrating the most precious and important gift any of us will ever receive – the gift of joy, hope, peace and a transformed life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May each of you also enjoy a blessed Christmas with your family and friends!
P.S. No pressure, but if you have room left in your year-end giving, we would welcome your consideration of a year-end gift to ROP. Not withstanding a great Colorado Gives Day, we still have a ways to go in order to finish 2018 in the black (revenue greater than expense) and start 2019 in the manner we hope. Clicking on this link will take you to ROP’s website where you can make a donation using your credit card. Or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040.
Yesterday was a fun and very Christmassy feeling day at ROP.
It began with ROP’s Annual ESL Christmas Party. Like most Christmas parties, there was a lot of food, fun and fellowship, but the best part, at least in my opinion, was the sharing of the Christmas Story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in a very interactive way. Just about everyone played a part as we re-enacted the Christmas story together, including yours truly who played the role of a wise man (great type-casting) as well as photographer. I am not sure everyone understood the whole story, but they certainly had an enjoyable time and got some good practice with their reading skills as they played their part :-). To see more photos from the ESL Christmas Party, click on this link.
Later that same afternoon, Tom Adams and I got to play Santa Claus over at Crawford Elementary School. We are thankful to Cherry Hills Community Church for giving us this opportunity as a result of their decision to bless ROP and another city ministry with the leftover toys from CHCC’s Christmas Store this past Saturday. Since ROP’s families already had the opportunity to participate in Colorado Community Church’s Christmas Store the previous Saturday, we were able to bless Crawford Elementary with hundreds of toys for their families. It gave us joy to see and hear about the joy of the school’s staff in anticipation of sharing this blessing with their families.
We are thankful for the opportunity to bless the families of our community in practical as well as spiritual ways. There is no better way to celebrate the most precious gift we will ever receive – the gift of a transformed life through submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – than by sharing His love and blessings with others.
Many thanks to all who partner with us in this ministry in a variety of ways. We truly could not do it without you. No pressure, but if you have room left in your year-end giving, we would welcome your consideration of a year-end gift to ROP. Not withstanding a great Colorado Gives Day, we still have a ways to go in order to finish 2018 in the black (revenue greater than expense) and start 2019 with in the manner we hope. Clicking on this link will take you to ROP’s website where you can make a donation using your credit card. Or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040.
Thanks for you consideration and support.
A couple months ago, I announced in one of our “Urban Voices” newsletters that the building across the street from ROP (formerly the Boys and Girls Club) had gone up for sale and we were feeling led to try and buy it. Well, we still feel that way and remain pretty excited about what this could mean to ROP’s ministry and our community in terms of:
To help everyone better conceptualize the expanded “ROP campus” and how the space will be used, we got some help preparing some conceptual drawings, which I am including with this eblast. (These are kind of small, so if you would like 8.5 x 11 versions of any or all of these drawings, feel free to ask and I will send them to you. To make that request, click Contact Us.)
I am also very excited to report that The Anschutz Foundation has already made a commitment of $300k toward the purchase of the building. This commitment is contingent upon raising the additional funding needed to make an acceptable offer (probably $1 million give or take) and providing the Foundation (and ourselves) sufficient assurance that we can also support the related increases in ROP’s operating budget.
Our hope and prayer is that this significant demonstration of support might help to encourage others to partner with ROP and The Anschutz Foundation in making this dream a reality. So please pray with us to that end if this acquisition is truly God’s will (as we believe it is) and feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested in learning more about this extraordinary opportunity to make a major impact in the life of our community.
It is with great thankfulness to God and all those who chose to participate that I report to you that Restoration Outreach Programs received 87 donations totaling $59,505 through this year’s Colorado Gives Day. This is 7 more donors but about $6k less than received last year (perhaps somewhat influenced by the change in tax laws). Still, we are humbled by this generous outpouring and tangible expression of support for what God is doing through ROP’s ministry and pledge to exercise careful stewardship over these and all the gifts entrusted to our care.
If you missed Colorado Gives Day, it is not too late to make a year-end donation to ROP and help us finish 2018 in the “Black” (revenue > expense). Right now it looks like it will take about another $30k of income to reach this goal. If you would like to help us reach this goal, please make your check payable to ROP and mail it to PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040
It takes a lot of partners for ROP’s ministry to run effectively. Most of our programs rely heavily on volunteer support and, of course, ROP would not have been able to sustain and grow our ministry over the last almost 11 years without the support of many financial partners.
Today, I also want to give a special shout out to our church partners. Many support ROP financially, but we feel their support in other ways as well. Church support was a critical component of the success of ROP’s recent Thanksgiving Outreach. Big thanks to Bethany Evangelical Free Church, Cherry Hills Community Church, Eastern Hills Community Church and Greenwood Community Church for their support of that outreach.
Every year, ROP is also blessed by our partnership with Colorado Community Church (CCC) and their annual Christmas Store. CCC literally does it all with hundreds of volunteers and the purchase of presents for hundreds (thousands?) of needy children. This year, ROP was able to bless 35 of our kids and their families through CCC’s Christmas Store, and all we had to do was help our families apply to participate and make sure they were able to get to Aurora’s Central High School last Saturday morning. Thank you, Colorado Community Church!
Of course, most of the services and programs ROP offers to the people of our community require a little more financial investment on our part. This is where tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) Colorado Gives Day (CGD) continues to play a significant role in ROP’s ministry. Last year, ROP raised $68k or more than 1/6 of our annual operating budget through Colorado Gives Day alone. We are praying for a similar if not greater outpouring again this year which is necessary if ROP is to finish the year in the black (revenues > expenses) for the 10th consecutive year.
If you have room left in your year-end giving budget, we would very much appreciate your consideration of a special gift to ROP. If you like to make credit card donations, Colorado Gives Day is the best day of the year to donate using your credit card due to CGD’s lower credit card fees and our ability to participate in CGD’s $1 million Incentive Fund. Year-end gifts to ROP are also being supported by a $25k matching challenge grant. As of this moment, we are only about half-way toward releasing all of that grant.
If you feel led to make a donation to ROP through Colorado Gives Day, simply click on this link which will take you to ROP’s page on the CGD website. Of course, we also still accept checks which should be made payable to ROP and mailed to PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040.
It was the worst of days. It was the best of days. Forgive my abuse of a well-known Charles Dickens quote, but it quickly came to mind as I reflected on yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner at Crawford Elementary School.
The “worst” part obviously relates to yesterday’s weather. I do not remember the last time we had freezing rain in Denver, but we had it pretty much all day yesterday – not exactly the kind of weather you want when most of the people invited to yesterday’s dinner do not drive. Still, about 175 of our neighbors braved the miserable weather and were rewarded with a delicious Thanksgiving feast courtesy of the many people who prepared our food and volunteers who served our guests at the school. (Click on this link to see all our photos from yesterday’s dinner.)
Needless to say, when you are trying to prepare food for almost 900 people and less than 200 show up, you are going to have a considerable amount of leftovers. Of course, our awesome team of 100+ volunteers were invited to enjoy a meal with our guests when they were not serving, which was part of the original plan. Our guests were also invited to take food home and we had a couple small groups of about 30 people each that had made requests for leftovers, which we were happy to satisfy. But we still had a huge amount of leftovers looking for someone to bless.
This is where God’s plans took precedence over our plans, and it became an even better day. On cold weather days, when the temperature is expected to drop below 20 degrees, the homeless day shelter about 2 miles away opens for the night for more than 100 homeless men and women. So when I drove over to see if they would like to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to their guests for the evening, I was greeted with an enthusiastic, “absolutely!”. About 45 minutes later we delivered 4 car loads of Thanksgiving dinner to the shelter, and left wondering if this was God’s plan all along.
I confess I was initially pretty disappointed as I drove to the school in the freezing rain and contemplated how the weather would affect our turnout. Most of that faded away as the school’s cafeteria filled with the smiling faces of volunteers eager to serve and guests thankful for a delicious meal. But the real bonus came when we were able to bless more than 100 homeless people. This would not have happened if the weather had been great since we would have had a lot less food and the homeless shelter would not have been open.
We thank God that He had a better plan and for all the cooks and volunteers who partnered with us in making it a great day. And, yay! – The school has already invited us back to do it again next year :-).
Colorado Gives Day helps ROP hold events like yesterday’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Click on the “donate now” button to schedule a donation to ROP on the CGD website. Make sure to check “CO Gives Day” under “Donation Frequency”.