Metro Denver Habitat for Humanity is the oldest Habitat affiliate west of the Mississippi River and the fourth oldest over-all. The affiliate has built over 500 homes. About 35 of those homes have been built in partnership with metro-area Lutheran churches.
9News' anchor, Cheryl Preheim, opens the 11th Annual Breakfast for Humanity at the Infinity Events Center in Denver. Hundreds gather each year for this event in order to be inspired by the work of Habitat and make a contribution to its work.
Governors, Mayors, and members of Congress have spoken at this gathering, but the star of the show each year is a message from one of our partner families. This year, Angel Meza spoke, and introduced all of her children. (Angel's house was the one President Carter worked on at the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project last summer.)
Metro Denver Habitat is the fourth oldest Habitat affiliate, and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. It has completed 500 homes, and plans to build 200 more in the next five years. Every four minutes, a Habitat house is dedicated somewhere in the world.
The Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the Northwest Washington Synod are challenging each other to raise the most gifts for ELCA World Hunger.
To contribute, go to the synod website here. Click on "Broncos" which takes you to a donation page. You need not have a Paypal account. On the payment page, click on "continue" near the credit card icons to pay with your credit card. The challenge ends when the Super Bowl ends. So far, the Broncos have a narrow lead. Go Broncos!
I'm honored to have seen the man in the flesh. It was January 20, 1993, inauguration day for President Bill Clinton.
After the ceremony, we walked up the street from the Capitol where we would (eventually) eat lunch at Slick Willie's, also having its' opening day at the time.
As we were standing at the intersection southeast of the capitol, waiting for the light to change, I saw someone who, at side glance, looked very familiar. When I turned to look, it was Nelson Mandela, also leaving the Capitol for lunch.
Being present for the inauguration was a thrill. Seeing Mr. Mandela was another one.
Wednesday night's celebration of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project--Raise the Roof!--was attended by nearly 4000 people. They were there to celebrate the building of 11 new homes and 15 rehabs in the Globeville neighborhood of Denver, and, more broadly, to celebrate the entire 30 years of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
The evening featured video stories of partner families, and scenes from the first three days of the build. Metro Denver executive director, Heather Lafferty, welcomed the crowd, thanked them for their hard work and their financial contributions, lauded the work of volunteers and introduced President Jimmy Carter.
President Carter recalled the many sites of the Carter Project over the years. The very first project was in Brooklyn, New York in September of 1984. This year's Project will conclude in New York City today and tomorrow. In more recent years, the Carter Work Project has tried to alternate between a domestic site and an international one. International sites have included Mexico (three times), the Philippines, Hungary, South Africa, Haiti (twice), and Korea.
Carter said that, when he left the presidency, he and Rosalynn had a long discussion about where they wanted to place their energies and influence. They chose Habitat for Humanity. (Millard Fuller once told me that, in his first meeting with the Carters, he asked, "Are you interested in Habitat for Humanity, or are you really interested in Habitat for Humanity?" The Carters looked at each other and said, "We're really interested.")
President Carter concluded, "If you want your life to have meaning, if you want your life to have purpose and stand for something, if you want your life to make a difference, you'll get involved with Habitat for Humanity."
One portion of the evening was typical for a Habitat event: a partner family in the spotlight. After Pres. Carter's speech, he and Rosalynn presented the key to a new Habitat home to Angel Meza and her family.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were present, made brief remarks to the crowd, and said they were encouraged into singing a song or two by President Carter. Said Brooks, "When President Carter asks me to do something, I say, 'Yes, sir.'" They sang two songs, to the great delight of the audience. Isaac Slade, of the popular local band, The Fray, capped off the evening.
Globeville has not been a well-known neighborhood in the city of Denver. All that most people know of it is that they can see St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church from I-70.
Part of the reason Globeville is not well known is that it is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the city because of rail lines, industrial areas, the National Western Stock Show complex, and the South Platte River. The neighborhood is home to about 4000 people, and has a poverty rate of about 28%.
The area was originally settled by eastern Europeans. Now, the neighborhood is majority hispanic. Many are native--54% of the residents were born in Colorado, as opposed to 42% in the rest of the city. Many are also immigrants. About 25% are foreign born, mostly in Mexico (16% is the average for the city). Over 50% have less than a high school education.
Habitat Metro Denver has been involved in Globeville the past few years, and made the neighborhood the spotlight of this year's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project (JRCWP). The work project has placed Globeville centerstage in our city, and has served as a catalyst to inspire a number of community organizations to work toward redevelopment of the neighborhood. The Carter Work Project is building 11 new homes in Globeville this week, and rehabilitating 15 others.
Metro Denver Habitat is one of the top affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International. This past summer, Metro Denver Habitat celebrated the construction of its 500th home.
The affiliate is the 4th oldest Habitat affiliate--San Antonio was the first--and the first to be organized west of the MIssissippi River. Metro Denver Habitat is about 15th of all US affiliates in house production, and typically in the top ten in best practices.
Top image: Neighborhood landmark St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church.
Bottom image: Students at Laradon Elementary School thank Mrs. Carter.
The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project kicked off today in Denver. Metro Denver Habitat will be building 11 townhouses and doing 15 rehabs this week.
This is the 30th Carter Work Project. To celebrate this milestone, three affiliates are featured this year. President and Mrs. Carter opened the week in Oakland and San Jose. They, along with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, will be in Denver Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, they travel to New York City where the Carter Work Project first began.
Globeville is a long-neglected neighborhood that was, at one time, its own city. It was annexed by Denver in 1902 and became north central Denver.
Settled originally by people who were, generally, eastern European--one of the primary neighborhood landmarks is St. Joseph Polish Catholic Church--the neighborhood is now about 90% hispanic. The poverty rate is a rather high 23%.
Globeville is bisected by both Interstate 70 and Interstate 25, in effect splitting it into quadrants. (The infamous "mouse trap" was in Globeville.) Globeville has always had some physical barriers--rail lines, stock show complex, etc.--that kept it somewhat isolated from the rest of the city. The two interstates are an additional complicating factor.
Several hundred staff, supporters, board members, and volunteers celebrated today's occasion by gathering at Argo Park in the Globeville neighborhood, site of Denver's project. Several local community development organizations were represented among the vendors at the afternoon event. The Globeville project has been instrumental in galvanizing community support for neighboorhood development.
Here, Metro Denver Habitat executive director, Heather Lafferty, thanks the young boys and girls from El Sistema Colorado who opened the celebration. El Sistema Colorado is a community organization that encourages music education for young people.