Category Archives: ROP Outreach

Annual outreaches & special one-time events

School Supplies Bless Students, Families and Teachers of Neighborhood School

Things slow down a bit at ROP in August with both our English as a Second Language and Work Readiness programs taking much needed breaks.  But this past week was a busy one with lots going on related to our Back Packs for Crawford project.

Tuesday, we started setting up our assembly line. Since this is the first time we have done it this way, I was amazed at how many boxes we needed open to get ready for the “stuffing” team, but there were a lot.

Wednesday evening was “stuffing” time.  We hoped we could get it done in less than three hours, but our team of 15 freshman (and three adult drivers) from Valor High School did an awesome job, stuffing 492 back packs and cleaning up in just two hours.

On Thursday morning a group of 6-7 Flourish East Colfax friends loaded a friend’s trailer at ROP and unloaded it at Crawford. When school starts next week, every student will receive a back pack filled with school supplies. Our friends at Crawford are delighted and very thankful.

And so am I. Many people contributed to making this happen. Our thanks go out to all the donors, stuffers and loaders who played a part in blessing the children, families and teachers of our neighborhood elementary school.

Well done team. Project complete!

ROP’s Reading Mentoring program at Crawford starts up on Wednesday, 9/5. If you are available on Wednesdays between 3:15 and 5 p.m. or just interested in learning more about this very strategic program, please contact me (Kent) by email or phone.

Pedal 4A Purpose 2018 is  7 weeks away on Saturday, September 22nd. Click here for more information or to register. And be sure to invite others to join you in this fun event which provides much needed funding for ROP’s ministry and other partnering non-profits.

Check Out the Latest Happenings at ROP

The latest bi-monthly edition of ROP’s eNewsletter – Urban Voices – is now available on ROP’s website.
This 2-page edition of Urban Voices includes the following articles:
  • Many Opportunities for Summer (Year-round) Groups – Summer is an especially busy time for ROP’s Office Manager, Vicki Ekberg, as she organizes, leads and teaches a wide variety of work groups looking for ways to serve and learn.
  • Everybody – Always – …is the title of the Bob Goff book that ROP’s staff is currently reading and discussing at the beginning of our weekly staff meetings. It’s core message is central to the heart of ROP’s ministry. We love it. You might too.
  • RCEC – Called to Serve the Trafficked and the Addicted – One of the cool things God has orchestrated in 2018 is the spin-off from ROP of Restoration Counseling on East Colfax (RCEC). RCEC’s founder, Deb Ford, shares about what God has done to help launch RCEC and invites all interested to RCEC’s inaugural dinner on September 14th.
Click on this link – Urban Voices – August 1, 2018 Edition. (If you cannot see the embedded version, just click on the link below it to access the current and older editions of Urban Voices.)
Hope you enjoy this edition of Urban Voices.
P.S. Stay tuned for a report on the delivery, earlier today, of back packs and school supplies to Crawford Elementary School.
P.S.S Pedal 4A Purpose 2018 is  7 weeks away on Saturday, September 22nd. Click here for more information or to register. And be sure to invite others to join you in this fun event which provides much needed funding for ROP’s ministy and other partnering non-profits.

Trash Vigilante Making a Difference in Northwest Aurora

Meet Bill Gondrez, aka Mr. Bill.  Bill is a pre-school teacher in Aurora Public Schools who moonlights as a trash vigilante in his off-hours. I first met Bill when he came to one of our Flourish East Colfax Neighborhood Meetings to present the Blockmeister Program.  Following Bill’s presentation, ROP and several of our neighbors signed up as Blockmeisters with the primary responsibility of keeping the trash picked-up around our homes, buildings and streets. In our neighborhood, this is an ongoing challenge and clearly not a current priority for many of our neighbors, but our hope is that, as our neighbors see their neighbors picking up trash in front of their homes, they might choose to join us in making our community a trash free environment. And although this often feels like a very long-term goal, a wonderful by-product of doing this on a regular basis is that we have more opportunities to engage with and get to know more of our neighbors, which is a very good thing.

But back to Mr. Bill. While the Blockmeister Program is a good solution for all the plastic bottles, pop cans, fast food wrappers and other small stuff that litters our streets, it provides no answers for the mattresses, couches, tires, shelving, pallettes and other big stuff that clutters the sides of alleys throughout northwest Aurora. Most people just complain about this junk, but not Mr. Bill.  Through Flourish East Colfax, Bill applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the Stapleton Foundation to clean-up the big trash in Northwest Aurora’s alleys – well maybe not all of the alleys. But beginning in June and on one Saturday a month, Bill rents a truck, fills it with the “big stuff” and takes it to the big public dump east of E470. If Bill could do it by himself, he probably would, but the “big stuff” takes two people. So several of our Flourish East Colfax neighbors/participants, including yours truly, have had an opportunity to partner with Mr. Bill in this worthy endeavor, and we will continue doing so, one Saturday morning a month, until the money runs out.
There were other things I could have done this past Saturday morning, but I am glad I chose to spend a few hours taking a load of trash to the dump and making our community just a little nicer. Along the way we had the opportunity to meet a few more people, tell them what we are doing and directly or indirectly encourage them to be a part of cleaning up our community. The big bonus is it gave me some quality time to get to know Mr. Bill a little better. I thank God for him and all those who are working to make our community a better place to live and work.
P.S. I am thankful to report that we raised almost exactly the amount needed to complete the purchase of back packs and supplies needed to provide these items to all 490 students at Crawford Elementary, which will happen on August 2nd.
P.S.S. Pedal 4A Purpose 2018 is just two months away on Saturday, September 22nd. Click here for more information or to register. And be sure to invite others to join you in this fun event which provides much needed funding for ROP’s ministy and other partnering non-profits.

School Supplies – Pedal 4A Purpose – Kent on Radio

School Supplies:

So far, we have raised a little more than $1700 toward our goal of $3000 which will enable us to provide a back pack filled with school supplies to each of Crawford Elementary School’s 490 students. To donate toward this very practical need, click on this link to ROP’s website or just send a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora CO 80040, and make sure to put “School Supplies” in the comment box on-line or on the memo line of your check.

Kent on 850 KOA Radio, 7 a.m. Sunday, July 8th:

Every Sunday morning from 7 to 7:30 a.m. on 850 KOA radio, Bo Mitchell interviews a leader of a local faith based non-profit on the program You Get the Blessing. I recently had the pleasure of being Bo’s interviewee and the result of that interview will be aired on the morning of Sunday, July 8th.  Bo spent a good portion of our time together asking about my experience with depression 20 years ago, so I did not have quite as much opportunity to talk about things currently going on at ROP as I might have liked. But hopefully, God will use it as He desires in the lives of those who listen. Tune in at your own risk :-).

Pedal 4A Purpose:

The date of this year’s Pedal 4A Purpose is still almost three months away on Saturday, September 22nd. Registration fees are $35 per individual and $80 per family of three or more. To register or for more information, click on this link to the P4AP Website.

That’s it for now. Thanks for your partnership and consideration of these opportunities.

Two Great Opportunities to Bless the Families of ROP’s Community

Opportunity No. 1

If you live in the Denver metro area, like to drive and enjoy seeing hungry people fed, then please consider joining our Food Bank team as a driver.  ROP’s Food Bank and its participants have been greatly blessed by the provision of food from Whole Foods beginning this past January. As a result, we have been able to offer many perishable items not previously available to our participants, including dairy, baked goods and fresh fruit and vegetables. Our biggest challenge with the Whole Foods donations has been transportation. We have had a couple very dedicated drivers moving the food from the South Glen Whole Foods to ROP, but they occasionally get sick or go out of town (can you believe it?), which requires us to scramble to make other arrangements.

So that is the purpose of this request, to mobilize 2-3 more volunteers – and their vehicles (the larger the better) – to join our Whole Foods transportation team. What does this specifically entail? Glad you asked. It entails picking up and helping to load food into your vehicle at the South Glen Whole Foods at around 11 a.m. on Monday mornings and driving it 15 miles to ROP where the Food Bank team will help you unload. Please note that this is a good time for driving without heavy traffic.

If this is something you think you may be interested in helping with or just have questions, please contact ROP’s awesome Food Bank Director, Tish Freeman, at [email protected] or 720.628.1256.

Opportunity No. 2

Whether you live in the Denver area or not, but like to putting a smile on the face of kids, parents and teachers, then please consider a donation in support of ROP’s school supplies drive for the kids of Crawford Elementary School. I highlighted this opportunity in the lead article of our Newsletter, Urban Voices – June 1, 2018 Edition,  and simply state here that ROP’s provision of back packs and school supplies to the children of Crawford Elementary is not only a blessing to everyone at the school, but also serves to strengthen one of ROP’s most strategic relationships. (Please note that we are asking for financial rather than in-kind donations for this. The article explains why and how to make a donation.)

Thanks for your consideration of these opportunities to partner with ROP in blessing the people of our underserved community.

Check Out the Latest Happenings at ROP

The latest bi-monthly edition of ROP’s eNewsletter – Urban Voices – is now available on ROP’s website.
This 2-page edition of Urban Voices includes the following articles:
  • Back Packs & School Supplies – Big Deal for Families & Teachers – Kent invites our supporters to partner with ROP in blessing the students, families and teachers of Crawford Elementary School with back packs and school supplies.
  • ESL through the Lens of God’s Faithfulness – Retiring ESL Director, Donna Godfrey, credits God’s faithfulness for eight plus years of blessing in and through ROP’s English as a Second Language ministry.
  • Save the Date – Pedal 4A Purpose 2018 is Saturday, 9/22 – Lots of good reasons to participate in Pedal 4A Purpose 2018, but the real purpose and best reason for Pedal(ing) 4A Purpose is helping people in need.
Click on this link – Urban Voices – June 1, 2018 Edition. (If you cannot see the embedded version, just click on the link below it to access the current and older editions of Urban Voices.)
Hope you enjoy this edition of Urban Voices.
If you are connected with a church or non-profit that would be interested in using P4AP 2018 to raise some funds, please get in touch with me at [email protected] or Tom Adams at [email protected].

P4AP 2018 Early Registration Deadline is June 30th

For the second year in a row, Pedal 4A Purpose will be held on the third Saturday of September – September 22nd. September may still be a few months off, but our early registration deadline  is coming up in just 5 weeks on June 30th.  So if you would like to get a date on your calendar to help motivate some training and save a few bucks in the process, I encourage you to think about registering now or at least before the registration fee goes up on July 1st (from $30 to $35 per individual and from $70 to $80 per family of 3 or more). 
Pedal 4A Purpose is an important part of ROP’s annual fundraising efforts. Last year, P4AP raised more the $21k in support of ROP and our partnering nonprofits, and this year our goal is $30k. But Pedal 4A Purpose is also much more…
  • P4AP provides a great opportunity for bike riders of all abilities to enjoy a supported ride with family and friends. It offers rides from as short as you like (5.5 miles to first aid station) to as long as 63 miles (with 4,522 feet of total elevation gain).
  • P4AP also offers a run/walk alternative along the beautiful Bear Creek Green Belt for those who prefer “pedding” to pedaling.
  • P4AP provides a yummy Chick-fil-A lunch and a great venue at The Bridge Church at Bear Creek (same location as last year 3101 S. Kipling St. – Name change only).
  • P4AP offers supporting churches and other nonprofits an opportunity to partner with ROP and share the funds raised by their teams up to 80/20 with ROP. (Youth groups and short-term mission teams please take note.)
  • Finally, P4AP offers a lot of great prizes for top fund-raisers and all participants. Our grand prize again this year is a $1,000 gift certificate from Schwab Cycles. Last year, all of our riders received a prize!
To register, donate or simply learn more about this fun event, click on this link.
Hope you can join us on September 22nd, have some fun and partner with us in meeting the real needs of a lot of under-privileged people.

If you are connected with a church or non-profit that would be interested in using P4AP 2018 to raise some funds, please get in touch with me at [email protected] or Tom Adams at [email protected]

Always Lots of Smiles and Hugs on ESL “Graduation Day”

It all began almost 9 years ago with a conversation with ROP’s Refugee Outreach and Resources Director, Lucy Bruser, in a parking lot outside a nearby apartment building. A couple weeks later, Donna Godfrey began teaching ESL classes in ROP’s building. Since that time Donna and more than a dozen teachers have partnered with her in teaching hundreds of immigrants in our community to speak better English.

Yesterday was “graduation/celebration day” for the students in ROP’s ESL program. It was a great time of celebration as each class received certificates of achievement, shared a song or reading and exchanged gifts. There was also a special time of recognition and affirmation for Donna because it appears as though it may have been Donna’s “graduation day” too.
After 9 years of faithful service as ROP’s ESL Director, Donna is feeling called to focus her skills and energy on helping refugee mom’s to learn how to be more effective in discipling there children. She is also feeling called to become a tutor in ROP’s after-school tutoring program which makes us very happy because this means some kids are going to be very blessed and Donna will remain an active member of the ROP family.
As far as ROP’s ESL program is concerned, things are a bit up in the air. At this point, I know a couple of our teachers plan to “retire” from the program along with Donna, but I also know a couple teachers plan to keep teaching. We will see what God will do, but if you or someone you know has any interest in teaching English as a Second language, point them in my direction.
To see more photos from Thursday’s ESL Celebration click on this link.
We have received several more donations from our Annual Dinner, $800 of which qualify for the $10k match, but that still leaves $2.4k remaining to receive the full $10k. For anyone who believes in and supports ROP’s ministry with an occasional donation but has not made monthly or quarterly commitment, this would be a great time to consider making that commitment. Its benefit to ROP and those we serve will be immediately doubled! Click here to make an on-line donation or simply send me an email confirming your commitment to give regularly for the next year. Thanks!

$3.1K in Qualifying Donations Needed to Maximize Matching Grant

In retrospect it was a wonderful 10th Anniversary celebration, but the evening got off to a “rocky” start when the main video system failed an hour before the dinner began – yikes!  With many elements of the program dependent on video (lyrics to praise songs, 4 ROP videos, a slideshow and a PowerPoint) it looked for a while like it could be a very short evening. But God answered our prayers and the church’s Audio-Visual technician managed to cobble together a solution which allowed most elements to work. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Jeff.

Frankly, I admit to being more than a little stressed, but with the help of a wonderful time of worship, led by Christie Gerwinat and friends, and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I think our 200+ attendees enjoyed a beautiful evening together and, I am glad to report, so did I :-).

Many thanks to all those who chose to celebrate God’s faithfulness with us last Friday, and to all those who helped to make it happen. I also want to give a special thanks to Jenny Passchier and Keely Rochford, Principal and Assistand Principal from Crawford Elementary School, who were kind to share the evening with us and share a few words of affirmation and support for ROP. Our partnership with Crawford is a very important and strategic part of ROP’s ministry.

Of course, I also want to thank all those who chose to make a financial donation in support of ROP’s ministry. I am thankful to report that to date we have received $23.6k in donations related to Friday’s dinner, not including the $10k matching grant. At this point, we have received $6.9k in donations and commitments that qualify for the match, but of course, we would like to take full advantage of the entire $10k match. And that is still possible, and a great opportunity to double your donation for anyone who was unable to attend Friday’s dinner.
Here are the four kinds of donations that qualify for the match:*
  • Any donation from someone who has not previously made a donation to ROP
  • Any donation from a donor who has not made a donation to ROP within the last two years
  • Any monthly/quarterly donation commitment from a donor who has not previously made such a commitment. (The amount of the commitment for one year will apply to the match.)
  • Any increase in monthly/quarterly commitment from a donor who is already giving on a monthly/quarterly basis.
Thanks for your consideration and support. Click on this link to make an on-line donation and remember to write “ROP Dinner” in the comment box.
In case you are interested, the four short videos shown for the first time at Friday’s dinner have now been loaded onto ROP’s website. I hope you will check them out at your convenience. Just click on this link to ROP’s website.
* Donations to staff support do not qualify for the match.

“This Gives Me Goose Bumps!” – Community Development Can Be Fun!

What a difference a week makes.  The previous Saturday it was snowing and raining, but yesterday the weather was perfect for a picnic. Thank you, Lord!

With the jumping castles arriving a little late, things got off to a bit of a slow start, but with the great weather and the smell of burgers in the air, a crowd slowly started to gather. It probably did not hurt that a few days earlier we distributed more than 800 fliers around the neighborhood or that our neighborhood elementary school stuffed 512 of our fliers in the back packs of all of their students.  Hard to count how many people came, but we know we served 370 hamburgers and 250 hotdogs, so maybe 300 plus. Part of the entertainment was also proved by street artist, Hector, who painted the attached painting in about 1 hour as we watched.  Last year, Hector painted the word “DREAM” for us. Can you read this year’s word? If you cannot read it and want to know, just email me. (No fun telling you without even trying :-).

But the best thing about this year’s Neighborhood Party was the opportunity it gave Flourish East Colfax (FEC) – in which ROP partners with Agape Missionary Church in our neighborhood and 4 other organizations more broadly – to engage more people in our Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) process. Gathering in the park, watching kids play and enjoying freshly grilled hamburgers and hotdogs was the perfect setting to talk about Flourish East Colfax’s mission of making our neighborhood a better place to live and work and to invite people to get involved and come to our next Neighborhood Meeting on May 10th.

Many participants responded quite positively to the invitation to get involved and all seemed thankful just to be there. My favorite reaction came from a lady who has lived on the western edge of the park for 8 years. She remembered seeing last year’s “Neighborhood Party”, but did not join us. This year, she chose to take a chance and see what we were up to. After experiencing the positive energy of the event and hearing why we were having the party, she told one of our FEC partners that she was so excited it gave her goose bumps.

Truly, it all made for a great day with a special shout out of thanks to the International Section from Cherry Hills Community Church who did much of the hard work of set-up, clean-up, food preparation and service and monitoring the games and jumping castles for the kids. This was a huge blessing as it freed up us FEC types to engage with our attendees, get to know them a little better and invite them to our May 10th Nieghborhood Meeting.

Of course, with ROP’s Annual Dinner comming up this Friday, May 4th, I also want to take this opportunity to make a “final” invitation for you to join us. In addition to celebrating the last 10 years of God’s faithfulness to ROP’s ministry, we will be anticipating some of the directions God is leading us as ROP moves forward and especially in the area of Community Development. See below for the time and place*. If you decide to come, please RSVP to [email protected] by Tuesday evening.

To see more photos from Saturday’s Neighborhood Party click on this link.

* ROP’s Celebrating God’s Faithfulness dinner is being held at Colorado Community Church’s Upper Room, 15445 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora 80013. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served promptly at 6 p.m.
** If you cannot attend, but would like to make a special gift in support of ROP’s ministry, click on this link, and remember gifts from first time donors, new monthly donation commiments and increases in monthly commitments all qualify for a $10k matching grant.