By the end of the day, my lower back hurt, I had blisters on my hands, and I wondered how Libby, the horticulturist from whom we’d been taking our instructions, stayed so incredibly upbeat all the time. Ok…that’s too whiney because I had a lovely day serving at the Denver Botanic Gardens. But for real, I’m so glad I don’t live in the era of my Swedish farming ancestors, growing my food in order to survive; natural selection would not have been kind.
I volunteered to be in the vegetable garden group, a title that spurred visions of Beatrix Potter stories. (Note- whenever you think you’re signing up for the best/ easiest/ most charming job, you’re probably not). In fact, this group was responsible for tilling a fairly formidable patch of concrete/ dirt/ former graveyard with pickaxes. Needless to say, Lauren and I got closer to perfecting our Michelle Obama arms. Groups of children on field trips stopped to ask us
“What are you going to plant here?”
“Vegetables! What kind do you think we should plant?!”
The elementary students of Denver voted resoundingly for carrots. In keeping with my early morning hopes, Peter Rabbit would be delighted.
-Annalise Everett, CBPYT member placed at Chafee Services
Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities each day of the year through service. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth. In the 25 years of existence, over 20 million youth have participated.
GYSD is celebrated each year in over 100 countries, with young people working together–and with schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, national service programs, government agencies, and adult mentors– to address the world’s most critical issues and change their communities.
The 20 members of CBPYT celebrated GYSD throughout the months of March and April with an event to celebrate our efforts on Global Youth Service Day, April 26, 2013. Over the several sites which we serve at, there were service learning projects that ran the gamut. Various projects such as volunteering with youth in the community, movie screenings and discussions, fundraising events and interactive events such as making blankets, donating cans, and a school grounds clean up enabled Denver youth to engage in their community and see that it is very simple to make a difference.
On Global Youth Service Day, posters that youth from each host site designed showcasing their community service efforts lined the walls at the Rude Rec Center. A photo booth and jammin’ playlist encouraged the celebration and acknowledgement of service that had been done over the months. Pizza from Pasquini’s, and mini cupcakes from Happy Cakes were earned when two of the three service projects were completed, even though the enthusiastic attendees hopped from table to table interacting with each service project. Three interactive service projects were held at the event to continue motivating and connecting youth. The three projects were; filling bags of beans and lentils for refugees arriving at the African Community Center, constructing pinwheels to spread awareness for National Child Abuse Awareness Month, and writing thank you letters to military men and women through A Million Thanks. With over 60 youth and community members attending, the celebration was a hit. On GYSD, CBPYT engaged 36 brand new volunteers and served 72 hours of service! It was very moving to see the youth, from sites where CBPYT AmeriCorps members are serving, have such excitement for completing service and acknowledging others in their efforts. Over the six weeks of service projects, CBPYT AmeriCorps worked with 630 volunteers and served over 1927 hours.
-Stephanie Grover, CBPYT member placed at Chafee Services
AmeriCorps Member Recruitment for 2013-2014 has begun!
Are you looking to serve your community? CBPYT is currently accepting applications for 2013-2014 AmeriCorps Members.
CBPYT members serve youth through the development of life skills in areas such as education, employment, housing, personal finance, cooking, personal care, healthy relationships and much more. Through one on one mentoring, group facilitation, program development and service learning projects CBPYT members serve Colorado youth 15-22.
For details and benefits of service visit our Now Hiring Page
All position descriptions and applications can be found at AmeriCorps.gov by searching for Program Name: CBPYT
Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest service event in the world and the only one that celebrates the amazing work young people do to improve communities. Focusing on hunger and poverty, juniors and seniors began their participation in GYSD by hearing a speaker from Denver’s Road Home. Students were highly engaged, asking questions as well as providing great comments. After discussing hunger and poverty, students went out to better their communities.
For the first project, students decorated brown paper bags used by Project Angel Heart to deliver nutritious meals to terminally ill people in the Denver Metro area. On the bags, students used their artistic skills to draw beautiful pictures, as well as write inspiring messages. Students and even a few staff decorated a total of 50 bags front and bag! That’s 50 people who will have a smile on their face when their meal is delivered.
The second service project, juniors and seniors spent a few hours at the Food Bank of the Rockies. That morning, 37 students and staff board the bus, excited to serve. While at the food bank, the girls did wonderful work. One group put large pallets of food together, others broke down boxes for recycling, another group put together boxes, and finally one group filled boxes with food in an assembly line. As I walked around to snap pictures of the girls in action, everyone was having a great time. After being able to impact hundreds of families, one student described her experience as this, “ While packing boxes with food it made me feel happy that a child would be getting this food and that his mom wouldn’t have to worry for at least a little while about putting food on the table. I know that I have gone a few days without eating so that my son would have food, so it felt nice to do this for other families.” – Rachelle S.
–Helen Toma, CBPYT member placed at Florence Crittenton High School
This past month, as millions took their Martin Luther King Jr. Day off from work and school, CBPYT AmeriCorps members spent a “Day On!”
We were not alone in our “Day On” as the concept has become quite popular and word spread across the city of Denver to participate in a Marade on January 21st. If you are not familiar with the term “Marade,” please let me break it down for you:
Dr. King’s well-known nonviolent form of protest: March
A common form of holiday celebration in our country: Parade
Our day began early in City Park gathering with team members and hundreds of other people and organizations preparing to marade (yes, it will be used as a verb from now on within this blogpost) down the “longest continuous street in the U.S.” – Colfax Ave. With our AmeriCorps banner in hand, we walked and it was an unbelievable feeling to be a part of something so large happening at that moment in Denver. At the sound of hand drumming playing along the sides of Colfax, members moved their bodies and got some good laughs. We waved furiously at those above us – supporters on the roofs of buildings. People from all walks of life – children, families, young, and old – marched in step and in rhythm.
The second half of our day was spent in service with dozens of other Denver AmeriCorps members, sorting through and packing up boxes of donated books. Throughout December and January, numerous AmeriCorps programs in Colorado, along with sponsor, Serve Colorado, held a book drive that culminated in the MLK distribution day. Members sorted books into age groups and then packed books to the specifics of each organization they’d be donated to.
While half of the members present did the sorting, the other half stayed upstairs to participate in small group civic reflection. For CBPYT members, this was the first time we did civic reflection with people other than those on our team and our supervisors. It was a very invigorating experience to share why we serve with members from numerous other programs. The extra special piece about this civic reflection is that it occurred on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and therefore we all got to think a little bit about his service to our country and society in connection with our current service as members.
I am positive that my team members and I will continuously be reminding one another as we travel down Colfax – “Remember when we marched here….yeah that was a really great experience.” Consider spending your “Day On” next year, you won’t regret it!
-Samantha Hyde, CBPYT member placed at PlatteForum
CBPYT is currently seeking applicants to become Host Sites for the 2013-2014 program year. If you’re interested in hosting an AmeriCorps member from September, 2013 through July, 2014 please download the Request for Application (RFA) HERE! Host site applications are due March 15, 2013.
Marv’s Top 10 List
for Serving LGBTQ Youth
1. Everyone has the right to label themselves. Labels can be liberating or oppressive, and behavior is not the same as identity. So, instead of labeling someone, ask them how they identify or how they would like to be identified!
2. LGBTQ youth have a variety of experiences. Not all of their experiences are the same. Don’t assume that a youth identifying as LGBT or Q has only negative experiences surrounding their sexuality and gender.
3. LGBTQ youth who belong to additional minority groups may experience oppression and marginalization within the larger LGBTQ community.
4. Gender and sexuality might not be an issue at all for the LGBTQ youth you are working with. Don’t assume that it is.
5. Community is so important! Denver has places like Rainbow Alley (GLBT Center of Colorado) and Branching Seedz of Resistance (Colorado Anti-Violence Program). You can help youth get connected with local resources.
6. LGBTQ youth need comprehensive sexual education. LGBTQ youth are at higher risks for STIs and unintended pregnancies. LGBTQ youth need to learn how to protect themselves and their partners, too!
7. A youth’s gender identity and sexual orientation might change. It is common for youth to “try on” identities and see what best fits them. It doesn’t mean they’re confused or they were “wrong” about past identities.
8. You should honor a youth’s pronoun preferences and call them by their chosen name if they ask you to. You just might be the first person to honor this in them!
9. A LGBTQ youth’s identity is not a sickness. It is not a symptom of abuse. It is not a problem that needs to be treated or fixed.
10. You can be a strong ALLY for someone with whom you have nothing/a lot/a little/everything in common.
Marv Allen is a Human Services Advocate and the site supervisor for CBPYT AmeriCorps members at the Family Crisis Center. Marv has eight years of experience working with youth transitioning into adulthood in various settings and especially enjoys working with LGBTQ youth. For more information or resources on working with LGBTQ youth, you may contact Marv at Marvetta.email@example.com.
Each year the Salvation Army organizes an Adopt-A-Family program in which community members can purchase gifts for families that are enrolled in the program. The families are then able to pick up their gifts as well as the supplies needed to have Christmas dinner from various Salvation Army locations throughout Denver. For our December service project, AmeriCorps members helped distribute the food boxes and toys to families at two Salvation Army locations. Although the team was split into two groups, this service project was a fun way for AmeriCorps members to connect with each other and with families in Denver around the holidays!
Earlier in December, Lauren and Tori went on a weekend outing to the Salvation Army with youth from the Family Crisis Center. At the Salvation Army youth and Family Crisis Center staff members worked to pack boxes of holiday meals for various families in need throughout Denver. The youth loved this activity and enjoyed seeing a monster stack of packed boxes after a long days work. Coincidentally these boxes also happened to be the boxes that were being distributed at the team service day later in the month! This was completely unexpected by Lauren and Tori and really exciting to go back and report to the youth at the Family Crisis Center how their work had ended up getting to the hands of other children and their parents!
–Tori Barnes, CBPYT AmeriCorps member, placed at Family Crisis Center