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Inside This Issue

Business Spotlight...4 Montbello In The News...6, 7 Voices In The Neighborghood...10, 11, 12 Healthy Living In The Community...13 Happenings Around Montbello...14 Youth On The Move‌15

Breaking B re a d



Y My Dinner




Dear Readers; You will notice that there is heavy emphasis on “food” this issue. From the editorial inviting you to tell your own dinner stories as part of the My Dinner in Montbello production to a snowy celebration of Montbello’s Urban Farm with Ron Finley and LiveWell Colorado to the photo essay of Montbello Alive! where 1000 residents tasted all sorts of different and culturally-specific foods. Why is there so much attention being paid to food? Why is there a food movement that is sweeping the nation? Around the early 2000s, the powers-that-be began to realize that hunger was not just a “third world” phenomenon. Metabolic (diet-related) disease and obesity in our own country was reaching epidemic proportions among adults and children and was impacting many, but, particularly, people of color. About that same time, more people began to understand that our environmental choices were seriously endangering our capacity to grow food. Science revealed that there were real dangers involved in messing around with the DNA of plants and animals and that institutional farms were destroying more than the traditional farm family. They were literally destroying the land’s capacity to grow food. Then the honeybees began dying off. These elements fostered the birth of the “food movement.” The food movement is different from other movements in that it has multiple values, including human health concerns, animal welfare, agricultural sustainability, ecological sustainability, food justice and political empowerment among others. The movement is successful because it has multiple leaders, is low budget, and is a grassroots movement. It is composed of the urban and the rural, the rich and the poor, of amateurs and experts, of home cooks and celebrity chefs, farmers and gardeners, parents and writers, the employed and the unemployed. Essentially anyone, in any walk of life, can contribute, learn or benefit. Where else can children make so much of a difference in their world? But make a difference they do. Read Katie’s Cabbage about a young girl that runs a 501c3 founded on the act of feeding 275 people with a 40- pound cabbage to understand the power of one third grader. Now 18 years old, she intends to end hunger one garden at a time. Montbello is part of the food movement as evidenced by the many efforts across our community to improve food access and end hunger. Welcome to the movement. Donna Garnett MUSE Editor

Speak Out and Take Action


priorities to be addressed in the plan. The CPD staff had identified issues based on discussions with various community stakeholders in meetings that spanned a 6-month period as well as reviewing a compilation of documents describing the community. The Steering Committee made recommendations, suggestions, and edits to these issues based on what we felt was adequately described or best suited our community demographics. After integrating our recommendations, the draft was presented to the greater community at a community meeting in September at Maxwell Elementary. These draft statements provided a platform for community discussion and input. You can trust that we, the Steering Committee, and the CPD staff heard the comments loud and clear and that modified documents will come forward at the next public meeting. As a Montbello resident and a member of a nonprofit organization, it’s exciting to be a part of this important project that includes community outreach in the planning process. Future meetings will include topics around zoning, dwelling units, crime and safety, employment, and parks and recreation. I hope that many friends and neighbors will join me in this process. Our future and that of our children depends on it. Feel free to contact me at to let me know of your concerns regarding the NPI process. You can also go to and weigh in.

Editor: I want to take this opportunity to encourage residents to speak out and take action in our community. This is a critical time in Montbello’s development and we have more opportunities to shape that development than we have had at any other time in recent history. One way to make a difference is to participate in the public meetings for the Far Northeast Neighborhood Planning Initiative (NPI). Last May, I received an email from Councilman Herndon’s Office inviting me to be a member of a Neighborhood Planning Steering Committee for a plan being developed in Far Northeast Denver. Without much knowledge of the Far Northeast Planning Initiative, I committed to attend the first meeting. The Steering Committee is a group of approximately 15 individuals which includes residents, nonprofit organizations, city officials, and local businesses who are residents of the planning areas. The Far Northeast Denver plan includes Montbello, Gateway, Green Valley Ranch, and portions of DIA. During the first meeting we were introduced to the Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) staff who gave a presentation on Steering Committee Background, Planning Background, as well an overview of the Far Northeast area as it exists today. Preliminary demographics and mapping analysis for the area was also presented. The process includes a monthly Steering Committee meeting hosted by the CPD staff. These meetings are followed by quarterly public meetings where residents can react to and give feedback to the emerging plans. Meetings are held in various places in the community. The public meetings are where Montbello residents can have input and shape our future for the next two decades An example of the Steering Committee’s role has been our work to suggest

PUBLISHER - Montbello Organizing Committee/Denver Urban Spectrum EDITOR AND LEAD WRITER - Donna Garnett

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - Shawn Chitnis, Mary Davis, Angelle C. Fouther, Kevin Krug, Niambi Nicholes, Flossie O’Leary, Chris Martinez, Erik Penn, LaToya Petty PHOTO CREDITS: Lifestyle Photography by Vanesa, Terri Baldwin, CBS4, Denise Wanzo


Terry Liggins Executive Director Montbello Organizing Committee

The Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition (MUSE) is a bi-monthly publication produced and published by the Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) and the Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC). Contents of MUSE are copyright 2016 by Denver Urban Spectrum and the Montbello Organizing Committee. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. MUSE is circulated throughout Denver’s Far Northeast community. MUSE welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment and may be submitted to the editor at For advertising information, email or call 303292-6446.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


Breaking Bread In Montbello


My Dinner In Montbello

Toward the end of 2016, a powerful

comfort with an individual or group of people while sharing a meal. The expression has come to mean something more than just eating; it is sharing a sense of unity with someone or some group of people. It is a significant event that fosters some meaningful connection and cooperation. In this setting, it connotes community. Among adversaries or opponents, it is a symbol of forgiveness and an effort to move beyond past disagreements to mutual problem solving. The editorial in this issue is not intended to report a story about something that has already happened, but rather is an invitation to create a new story this holiday season. The MUSE invites you to write or tell your own story about breaking bread in our diverse community. Colorado Black Arts Movement (CBAM), in partnership with the Montbello Organizing Committee, has received two grants - one from Arts in Society, and one from Art Tank to produce a special event for and in Montbello. This event is a stage production entitled, “My Dinner in Montbello, A Culinary Drama Starring Tomato.” The script is being written by you – families, couples, and individuals; children and adults; Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all of whom live in Montbello. The production will be enacted on stage at the Montbello Campus with the help of teachers, staff, and students at Noel Community Arts School. As part of the script development, the playwright and director want to participate in preparing a meal (featuring a tomato, of course) and breaking bread at your home. They will even pay for the groceries. After the meal, they want to facilitate a discussion about dinner at your house from the perspective of your history, cultural background, and your everyday life in Montbello. If you just don’t want to cook, but want to break bread, they can figure that out, too. If you are game, contact to plan a time for dinner. The writers aren’t looking for a clean house, a gourmet meal, or a perfect family gathering. They simply want to spend time hearing your stories and learning how Montbello residents break bread. Whether you participate in My Dinner in Montbello or not, we urge you to reach out to people around you and share a meal with them. Put down your cell phone, turn off the television, spread a table with food, and eat together. Maybe we should copy our northern neighbors and set aside a national Eat Together Day as well.Y

television commercial came out of Canada. The scene opens with a woman leaving her workplace. Though she is surrounded by people, all are engrossed in their smartphones. On the elevator, on the street, even the doorman at the front of the office building is glued to his tiny screen. Everywhere she goes, no one “sees” her. She arrives home to her apartment where her daughter is busy on two computer screens. Even her teenage daughter is oblivious to the woman returning home. In exasperation, the woman drops her work bags on the counter. The background music begins to swell. It is an old tune we all know – “What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love.” ( Pyp6I) In the next scene, the woman and her daughter open the door to the hallway of their apartment building and commence setting up two tables with tablecloths, dinnerware, and their dinner. As people begin to arrive home for the evening, they are invited to come into the hallway to join them for dinner. Soon the hallway is filled with tables, families and couples; children and adults, all sharing their dinners with their neighbors. As the commercial closes, the smallest diner (a little girl dressed in overalls) crawls under the full length of the table, runs down the hallway to the last door and knocks. An elderly man comes to the door, looks down the hallway, and then closes his door. A moment later, he opens his door and comes back out with a bottle of wine and a long loaf of dark bread. With a smile on his face, he joins the hallway feast and breaks the proverbial loaf of bread. The commercial is advertising a new national day in Canada – “Eat Together Day!” The online commercial ends with this wonderful comment: “When we eat together, good things happen. We share a bit of our lives. We talk, we laugh, and we share the foods we love. We get a little closer.” The Urban Dictionary describes Breaking Bread as “engaging in a comfortable, friendly interaction.” The original term was literal, meaning that a loaf of bread would be broken to share and eat, as a casual meal among associates. Breaking Bread has religious origins as are described in the Op-Ed piece by Pastor Vernon Jones on page 3. More recently, Breaking Bread has come to be more figurative, but refers to the same situation: a shared meal. Today, the term is used to describe a social interaction where food is shared, though not necessarily just bread. In its most contemporary meaning to Break Bread is to spend time together and affirm trust, confidence, and

By Donna Garnett

Editor’s note: Donna Garnett is the Editor of the MUSE and Program Director for Montbello FreshLo Initiative. She is also the Founder of the Urban Farm at Stapleton, the Montbello Urban Farm, and Children’s Farms of America. Her passion is teaching children where their food comes from. Watch the Eat Together commercial at ttps://

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


Let Us Break Bread Together

By Pastor Vernon Jones Jr. One of the powerful vehicles used for the formation of community is the breaking of bread. Coming together to share a meal and therefore conversation helps us to connect in a very personal way. The meal becomes our common ground, allowing us to leverage it as a point of agreement to build from and on. We all need to eat and that common need, that common hunger, illustrates our common humanity and brings us together for deeper community formation. In Christianity the breaking of bread is significant. First, in the book of Acts 2:42-46 we see that the breaking of bread is a central piece of the faith community. The meal table becomes a place where community is formed into a vibrant ongoing fellowship that included prayers, teaching, and generous sharing to ensure that all needs of the community were met. It was the consistent practice of the early church to break bread together on a regular basis. It became a leverage point to lift them up as the depth of their relationships grew. In this fellowship the breaking of bread matured their love for and responsibility to one another. They had all things in common. All needs were met. Second, the breaking of bread is powerful symbolism of Christ being broken for sin on the cross. Christians celebrate His act of love and sacrifice on a regular basis through the recognition of Communion (I Corinthians 11:23-39). Communion or the Lord’s Supper is recognized in churches on a regularly basis in remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. This is a solemn time in most Christian churches throughout our community and it should not be approached or practiced lightly. Christians embrace this time as an opportunity to reflect on the grace, mercy, and love of God and to recommit ourselves to living out love in community, locally, nationally, and globally. In the context of community building throughout the Far Northeast, across a diverse spectrum of people with equally diverse beliefs and values, breaking bread is the intentional bringing together of people, in a place, for a purpose, to reach a potential that is only possible together. Breaking bread becomes the barrier breaker. Breaking bread becomes the incentive to be at the table to delight in the bounty, but more powerfully to collectively dream big and then do big together. Breaking bread becomes the norm by which we engage and are educated about our neighbors to establish relationships and opportunities for shared service. Breaking bread becomes our place for courageous conversations, creative collaboration, and consistent celebration as we align with our shared hopes and highest aspirations. Breaking bread brings us together. Sharing a meal moves us to share more. Sharing moves us to be more concerned about people than possessions, propelling us forward together. As we enter the holiday season and move toward the end of 2017, may we commit ourselves to breaking bread with new neighbors. We will be better for it. Blessings be multiplied in your life!Y

Editor’s note: Vernon Jones Jr. (PJones) is President of Live Forward Colorado, Associate Pastor at True Light Baptist Church, a Catapult Leadership Fellow and a former leader in Denver Public Schools. He is a 17-year resident of Northeast Denver with Jaymie and their five children. Email him at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



Save-A-Lot To Open In Montbello

“If you’ve not yet shopped at a Save-a-Lot, it’s a lot like shopping at warehouse stores. We offer at least one brand of most products, but in normal sizes,” says John Leevers, president of Leevers Supermarkets, which is the franchise that owns the 14 Colorado Save-a-Lot stores. As part of a chain of more than 1,300 stores, Save-a-Lot nationwide brings the buying power of a Costco or Sam’s Club, resulting in prices that are 30-40 percent below large grocery store chains and about 10 percent less than Walmart. “This frees us up to customize the fresh produce, meats, seafood and bakery items on the outside of the store to meet the needs of each different community,” says Leevers. Staff go out of their way to get the products customers ask for. This is especially important because the Save-a-Lot stores in the Front Range tend to be in neighborhoods with a rich mix of cultures. For instance, Cindy Toso, the store manager at the 6th and Chambers location, responded to a request from an Ethiopian customer for a Teff flour that is used to make Anjero, a traditional pancake. A truck load was purchased and sold out within 90 days. Many grocers talk about the Latino market as if it’s one group. Save-a-Lot staff know customers from Central America or states in Mexico have different food preferences as do recent immigrants versus long-time residents. Therefore, Save-a-Lot sends a buyer to Mexico to find the national brands customers grew up with, then buys direct to pass the savings onto customers. For instance, Maseca and La Costeña are the most popular brands of canned jalapenos. It might cost Save-a-Lot $1.19 to buy a can from a distributor, but ordering direct allows Save-a-lot to retail that same can for $.99 cents. Two years ago, when Save-a-Lot bought the facility in Chambers Place, Montbello Organizing Committee, Montbello 20/20 and others convened residents to get feedback on the store, but then financing fell through. This year, with financing close to completion, Save-a-Lot came back to these groups and others to share the changes they have made and to see what else might be needed. These conversations resulted in the following additions to the Montbello store: • the largest produce section of any Save-a-Lot in Colorado, • an onsite butcher and one of fewer than 10 U.S. stores with a meat counter, • a community room that groups can reserve free-of-charge, • a Good Neighbor Agreement, • Montbello Save-a-Lot Community Advisory Council. Save-a-Lot will hire 32 to 38 people for the Montbello store, including stockers, cashiers, and assistant managers. Details on how to apply are included in the ad in this issues paper. “I’m really excited about entering the Montbello community,” says store manager Raul Denada. “I started to meet residents at Montbello Alive! and at the two job fairs. We even have a couple of current employees who want to transfer to this store because they live in or near Montbello.” In 2012, Save-A-Lot became an employee-owned business. Employees who’ve been with the company at least one year, work 1,000 hours or more, and are 21 or older are enrolled into the company’s Employee Stock Option Program (ESOP). Owners are awarded stock each year at no cost and the value has tripled since 2012, from $2.83 per share to more than $10 last year. For Jorge Gonzalez, being an owner is important. “When I came to Savea-Lot in 2005, I was moved by seeing how our model makes people smile because they can afford to leave with a cart full of groceries. I enjoyed being part of a family business – the Leevers believed in me as I grew from night stocker to cashier and from store manager to my role today as VP for the People. Being an owner means I get to influence business decisions!” Save-A-Lot provides quality, affordable food. “We try to go one step further by working with customers to build healthier families and communities,” says John Leevers. “We’ve leased part of our space to Planet Fitness, will never lease to marijuana and payday loan businesses, brought in DaVita to serve residents with diabetes, and hope our large assortment of fruits and vegetables plus cooking and nutrition classes in the community room will help prevent some people from getting diabetes.” Y

By Flossie O’Leary


ontbello residents, are you ready to have a grocery store back in Montbello? The Montbello Save-a-Lot will open at Chambers Place later this year. What can you expect? For those who have shopped at the Save-a-Lot at 6th Avenue and Chambers, expect the same quality of fresh-from-scratch baked goods, a butcher on site to customize the cuts of meats the way you like them, a more modern facility, and an even larger selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Editor’s note: Flossie O’Leary owns the Ripple Affect; a consulting firm that helps clients affect positive change, and teaches in Regis University’s Master of Nonprofit Management program. MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


Little Rock Nine: Inspiring the World 60 Years Later “D

By Michael B. Hancock

on’t be selfish, Melba!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. charged a tearful, 16-year-old Melba Pattillo as she hesitated to attend Little Rock’s Central High School in September 1957. “Stop complaining! You are not doing this for yourself, you are doing it for generations you have not seen, who you have not met,” he strongly admonished. Melba Pattillo was one of nine students – along with Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrance Roberts, Erie Green, Carlotta Walls, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray and Thelma Mothershed – who courageously integrated Little Rock’s Central High School 60 years ago [this week]. What would become a defining moment in the South’s resistance to civil rights began quietly with a plan by the Little Rock Board of Education to integrate the city’s schools. What happened after transformed the country. While most students were met by the smiling faces of friends the first day of school, the Little Rock Nine (LR9) were met by the Arkansas National Guard – sent there, Governor Orval Faubus proclaimed in a statewide broadcast, “for their own protection.” The Governor’s actions, and community’s reaction, would focus the eyes of the world on Little Rock and nine brave young students. America will never forget the heartbreaking image of Elizabeth Eckford walking alone through a gauntlet of threats and racial slurs. “I looked for a friendly face in the crowd, when I thought I found one, an older lady, I looked at her again and she spat on me,” she later recounted. I heard these stories and lessons firsthand during this past weekend when I had the honor to represent Denver in Little Rock at the 60th Anniversary commemoration. I was invited to attend by Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest of the LR9, a Denver resident since 1962. Like all the LR9, she inspires me and so many in our community. One thing she said stuck with me: “In spite of the constant bullying, being pushed down the stairs, sitting in spittle, being spat on, and having my heals walked on until they bled, I still made the honor roll! I couldn’t allow them to think they had won.” These students are a lesson in perseverance and purpose. I sat spellbound as Ms. LaNier and the other seven remaining LR9 shared their personal reflections about that seminal moment six decades ago, and watched as others were moved to tears and reacted to them as celebrities, much to their own surprise. What to us was a watershed moment for civil rights, was to them, simply trying to go to school. Several of their children and one of their spouses commented how many years would go by before they even knew their loved one was a member of the famed LR9. The emotional weekend was a reminder of how incredibly important it is that our youth remain connected to our history. Whether it’s our fight for independence, the Holocaust, the Little Rock Nine, slavery or the Sand Creek massacre, our young people need to understand that someone fought hard, often paying the ultimate price for rights that they would never fully enjoy themselves, so that we may enjoy them freely today. These moments should educate, inform and inspire our youth, so that they avoid repeating the mistakes of previous generations. And today, in the face of efforts to roll back the progress of our nation for racial unity, equality and opportunity, courageous men and women must step up where they see injustices. Now is the time to show courage, the same courage displayed by the LR9. As one speaker said during the 60th Anniversary dinner, “They showed courage by showing up on day one, but they came back on day two and three and so on.” We, too, must display that courage again and again. Ours is a nation where everyone does matter, and where everyone’s contribution is necessary to carry forth opportunities to the next generation – the generation we have not seen, who we have not met. Thank you, Little Rock Nine, for having the courage to make a difference for all of us! Y Editor’s note: Michael B. Hancock is Denver’s 45th and current Mayor.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



“We Are A Desert” Montbello Community Builds Urban Farm By Shawn Chitnis Photos courtesy of CBS4

The cold weather couldn’t

keep supporters and neighbors of the Montbello Urban Farm from touring their snow-covered garden Monday, October 9. The community welcomed “Gangsta Gardener” Ron Finley from Los Angeles to celebrate the progress they have made as a neighborhood. “It’s beautiful, I mean the snow, it’s beautiful,” said Finley after touring the garden, “It’s a Winter Wonderland.” Finley gained nationwide recognition for planting fruits and vegetables in a small plot outside of his home in 2010. He had to convince city leaders what he was doing was necessary and get policies changed in order to make that curb strip of dirt he turned into a garden legal. “I got tired of leaving my neighborhood to buy food,” he explained to CBS4. “There are thousands and thousands of people in my neighborhood, why I can’t we have healthy food?” The success he saw is similar to what neighbors have accomplished at the Urban Farm located on 4879 Crown Blvd. in Denver. Neighbors turned an open field covered in trash and inhabited by fire ants on the property of the United Church of Montbello into a growing garden.

he was in town. “I want to see my neighborhoods healthy just like any other neighborhood can be,” said Finley. Grocery stores are several miles away from some residents in Montbello and some do not have access to a car, this makes it difficult to get the quality ingredients they want for a healthy meal. “It is a community that is geographically sort of boxed in,” said Khadija Haynes, another member of the Montbello Organizing Committee. “And in that box, we are a desert.” Montbello is a federally-designated food desert, according to Garnett.

Finley says that term doesn’t properly reflect the challenges of living so far from fresh produce. He says “food prison” is a better term because the characteristics of these neighborhoods often confine you to that part of town with businesses and stores that do not encourage healthy diets. “A lot of people in this community don’t have access to healthy, nutritious food,” Haynes added. The Montbello Urban Farm has turned around what would have been an otherwise unused space in the past four years. The church and organizing committee have worked with other non-profits to make it both a resource and tool to feed and educate more of the community. Their focus is children in urban settings and improving their understanding of growing food. “The beginning of every society, every great society is health,” said Haynes. Finley said it’s encouraging to see what the Montbello neighborhood is doing for its community. He hopes more people can learn from his example and these farmers practicing the same type of gardening – a technique that not only feeds the body but also the mind. “All it takes is one person to start a movement and people will join you if it’s positive,” he said. “That one person can change the world.” Ron Finley also spoke on Tuesday, October 10 at the LiveWell Colorado’s Engage in the Change Luncheon. Y

“We believe that kids are the change agent,” said Donna Garnett of the Montbello Organizing Committee. “They begin to teach their parents, grandparents, and their siblings about healthier food.” The garden produces thousands of pounds of fresh food for the community but it is also a way to educate everyone around it about how to grow healthy food and create nutritious meals. “It’s a symbol of unity, it’s a symbol of creating a solution,” said Gabriel Guillaume, president & CEO of LiveWell Colorado. “It’s a symbol of we can depend on one another.” LiveWell Colorado brought Finley to Denver for one of their fundraisers in early October. The organization supports projects like the Urban Farm and leaders wanted to give neighbors the chance to spend time with Finley while

Editor’s note: Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook. This story was reprinted with permission of CBS4 News. The original story can be seen online at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



Each One, Teach One Reading Program Finds Success By Involving Parents, and Student Volunteers

Mayor Hancock, Partners Launch Citywide Conversation On Race And Social Justice


ayor Michael B. Hancock, in partnership with Lighthouse Writers Workshop and NEA Big Read, recently announced DENVER TALKS, a citywide effort to bring the community together for safe discussions around race, justice and the award-winning book Citizen: An American Lyric by MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine. “Now more than ever we need to tear down the barriers that divide us and build up the connections that unite us,” Mayor Hancock said. “Our goal is to build a more inclusive and accepting community, and to do that, we need the courage to confront the biases and behaviors that keep us apart.” Over the next six weeks, DENVER TALKS will distribute more than 1,200 free copies of Citizen: An American Lyric to metro-area residents as well as host a number of book discussions, arts events, guest talks and more. The effort will culminate in a visit from the author, who will join the Mayor in two free community conversations: •November 15, Boettcher Concert Hall, 6:30 p.m. •November 16, Metropolitan State University Tivoli Student Union/Turnhalle, 12:30 p.m. Both events are free, but registration is required for the Nov. 15 event at the Boettcher Concert Hall. “Metropolitan State University of Denver is proud to partner with Mayor Hancock, the city of Denver and the other DENVER TALKS sponsors to have these crucial conversations on race relations and better prepare our youth to engage in constructive dialogue and action,” said MSU Denver president Dr. Janine Davidson. “As our Colorado communities become more diverse it will be up to our future generations to be even more creative in harnessing the positives that come from diversity and addressing the challenges that come with differing cultures, mindsets and access to limited resources.” Thanks to partners including MSU Denver, Denver Public Schools, The Denver Foundation, Denver Public Library and Denver County McDonald’s restaurants, there are many ways to participate in DENVER TALKS. All residents of the metro area are invited to join in as well as to host their own conversations and events. The Denver Public Library has copies of Citizen: An American Lyric available, including e-books, audio books, and book club kits that include six books and a discussion guide. For more information, visit


By Kevin Krug

f you give a child a book, you have given them the world. And if you read that book to them – even better. Research has found the kids that grow into the best readers are exposed to as many as 30-million more words by the time they start school than kids who have less success at reading and writing. That research is the inspiration behind the Each One, Teach One program teacher Mary Ann Bash created and is using at Montbello’s Marie Greenwood Academy. “I said I’m not willing to stand by and let some children struggle,” Bash said, but she knew early on she was going to face a staffing challenge. “The conclusion was that our schools, as they are staffed now, could not close what came to be known as the 30-million word gap.” To overcome the staffing problem, Bash found an army of parent volunteers like Evelia Soriano and Anabel Caballero to head up the small groups that make the program so successful. “They learn and they enjoy at the same time,” Soriano said. “It teaches many techniques as to how to write words better, listening to the sound, things you never stop to think about.” EOTO students, tutors, parents, and teachers harves seeds for next year’s school garden. Photo by Terri Baldwin

“I recommend this for everyone. I wish every school had it,” said Caballero. “My little one, she’s 11, and she feels so confident approaching people and introducing herself and start talking, start a conversation.” The program is so successful and popular, many of the students who graduate from the program at the end of fifth grade come back to help the younger kids in the program. “When I was little, I always wanted to teach a book I was interested in but I didn’t know it would be this soon,” said sixth grader, Alyssandra Greene, who spends the last 45 minutes of her school day helping third graders. “This has helped me because now I have a bigger and stronger vocabulary and it’s just easier to pronounce words now.” The program isn’t just about literacy either. The garden at Marie Greenwood Academy was inspired by the Each One, Teach One program and helps the kids tie science and community service into their reading lessons. But Mary Ann says what really helps keep the program going is the parental involvement, and she hopes to see more of it. “Many of our parents drop their children off and they go back home and wait for their children to come home,” she said. “We need to bring them in, engage them, value them, and teach them.” Y

About Citizen: An American Lyric Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric looks at racism today, from everyday slights in the classroom and at the supermarket to police shootings nationwide to incidents involving public figures such as Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane. Using a blend of essay, image, and poetry, Rankine thoughtfully examines how these stresses accumulate—impacting the behavior, morale, and potential of individuals and communities. Citizen is the winner of the 2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award, the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the 2015 PEN Open Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize. It was named a best book of 2015 by the Atlantic, the Guardian, NPR. About Claudia Rankine Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, two plays, and numerous video collaborations. Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric won the PEN Open Book Award, the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Rankine is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the NEA. She teaches at Yale University.

Editor’s note: Kevin Krug is a Reporter with KMGH Channel 7 Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted by permission of the author and KMGH.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


Lifestyles Photography by Vanessa

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


It Is The Season To Be Thankful


By Chris Martinez


s we head into the holiday season a lot of people begin thinking “what am I thankful for?” Recently, folks who live, work, and play in Montbello were asked via social media to describe what they are thankful for. Not surprising the number one response was “family.” Montbello is home to many multi-generational families. For many young adult residents Montbello is the only community in which they have lived. Their parents are still here and they have remained in the community to raise their own families. Many extended families – brothers, sisters, cousins – also live in Montbello. Our social media “survey” demonstrated the importance of family in this tight-knit community. Second only to family were the responses identifying friends. So many residents have ties to neighborhood schools, churches, youth sports, and other activities that have led to lifelong friendships. On any given day, a long-time resident of Montbello might go to a restaurant or store in the neighborhood and run into someone they have known for a long time. Greetings and hugs often turn quickly to shared stories of past experiences and quick updates on what folks are doing now. This is a very common experience for those with roots in Montbello. Some of the other “thankful” words were diversity, community, and pride. Montbello has always been one of the most diverse communities in Denver. Over the years ethnic makeup has changed, but overall the community has remained diverse. This quality has encouraged many to continue calling Montbello home. Even those young people who leave the community still refer to Montbello as their home. Others noted with their one-word responses that they are thankful for their community. Despite years of fighting against the negative image perceived by

outsiders, those who lived in Montbello have a great sense of pride in their community. That pride in community was evidenced in September when hundreds of Montbello residents came out on a cool, cloudy day to celebrate Montbello Alive! and all that the community has to offer. Of course, some respondents noted things of a more personal nature – fullride scholarships, their homes, sports, their children, and so on. Some of those singular words are captured in the word cloud below. Take a few moments as the season of thanksgiving approaches to reflect on the things you are thankful for and create your own word cloud as a reminder for those times when things seem bleak and hopeless.Y

Editor’s note: Chris Martinez is the current chairperson of the Montbello Organizing Committee, a long-time resident of the community, and one of those multi-generational families referenced above.

FNE Residents Weigh In On The Far Northeast Area Plan

Denver has seen a 2.3 percent growth in population from 2010 – 2016.

By Erik Penn

With all the cranes around the City and newcomers arriving in droves it is hard to believe that, overall, Denver has seen only one percent growth in population from 1940 – 2016. Determining the impact of this information is the challenge for the Denveright Blueprint Denver team as they attempt to plan for the City’s growth over the next 15 years. On Sept. 13 the Far Northeast Area Plan team hosted a 2nd public meeting at Maxwell Elementary in Montbello. Denveright Blueprint Denver was on hand to present new information pertaining to growth, development, and community vision. The purpose of the conjoint meeting was to solicit input from residents of FNE as to the nature of those plans. As participants arrived, they proceeded through a poster walkway of information. Residents could talk with elected officials and current political candidates as well as with representatives of various city agencies. At the end of the walkway was a section where the Far Northeast Area Plan team presented their draft vision statements shaped by the FNE Steering Committee. The planning group appeared to have been listening to the community after the first meeting in the summer. The draft statements focused on the assets previously identified by residents such as recreational amenities, housing affordability, high home ownership, culture, diversity, and suburban character and lifestyle. The statements drew attention to community hopes and opportunities such as need for more community gathering spaces; more retail, services, and entertainment; need to complete and connect the trail system; more business development and job creation. Finally, the statements reflected residents’ concerns about gentrification; rising housing costs; access to healthy food; need for more youth programs; effective schools; reduction of crime and improved safety; the proliferation of liquor and marijuana stores, and fast food restaurants; traffic; and lack of transportation options. Following presentations from the Far Northeast Area Plan and Denveright, residents provided feedback and asked questions. The City heard from participants about growing concerns over housing costs, underperforming schools, and lack of access to healthy food. Questions were raised as to the City’s plans to help community execute the plans being developed rather than leaving development to outside investors and developers. While answers were sparse, presenters assured the audience that they would work to find resolutions and bring them back through the Steering Committee and the next public planning session. Participants finished out the evening by identifying how they would like the region to look based on a template of residential areas and community building blocks including retail and service centers, corridors, and districts. By the end of the meeting, the room was filled with maps littered with creative, innovative, and thoughtful ideas on how to expand, diversify, and improve various aspects of the Far Northeast. Residents look forward to seeing what the next meeting will hold and how the vision described by the community comes together under the City’s plans. Y

Editor’s note: For more information, visit MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


Caring For Others: Montbello Chaplain Travels To VOICES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Zimbabwe In Healing Mission Trip By Angelle Fouther

Denise Wanzo, 31-year resident of Montbello,

recognized herself as a minister long before she obtained her Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling and was ordained as a non-denominational chaplain in June 2015. She considered herself a healer even before she became a Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN) 46 years ago. In fact, she believes we all can minister to and heal others at some level, but many don’t reach out. Wanzo, mother to two, grandmother to four, and great grandmother to one, ministers and heals in many ways. Of her four and a half decades of nursing, she’s been a hospice nurse for the past 15. She’s helped heal the pangs of hunger by managing the Five Loaves Community Garden (a Denver Urban Garden) on the grounds of her home church, the United Church of Montbello, for the past 17 years. Ten of the 17 plots are used to grow fresh fruit and vegetables for the Montbello Food Bank Ministry. Community members rent the remaining plots to grow their own fresh produce. She also ministers through dance and sign language with the JLT Dance Ensemble. Of all the ways Wanzo practices ministry, something sparked in her after seeing Rabbi Jonathan Bernis of Jewish Voice Ministries (JVMI) on television. He talked about teams of outreach partners who volunteer their time to offer much needed free medical and dental care to poverty-stricken Jewish communities in Africa. Yes Africa! Since 2012 the ministry has worked with Lemba Tribe leaders in Zimbabwe, Africa to provide medical care and plant Jewish congregations in the region. To date, 40 congregations are in place. According to JVMI, the claims of the Lemba of Zimbabwe have long been considered the stuff of legend. That perception changed in 1999 when DNA testing, conducted by geneticists from the United Kingdom, found the Cohen modal haplotype marker, indicating the Lemba were descended from the Levitical priest of the ancient Jewish Temple and Aaron, Moses’ brother. Semitic in their physical features and traditions (practicing circumcision, abstaining from pork, not mixing milk and meat, and the use of shofar), the Lemba are genetically linked to Levi, one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Drawing on elaborate oral traditions and historical documents, it is believed that the Lemba migrated to Yemen from Judea before moving to the African continent. Mezmur ZeMichael, former Africa Director for JVMI, traveled to Zimbabwe in early 2011 to meet with the elders of the Lemba tribe, and was met with an urgent request for help from the Jewish community there, tens of thousands of whom endure relentless poverty in the remote area of Mberengwa, a district located in the Midlands province in Zimbabwe, about 296 miles south of the capitol city, Harare. Although a Christian minister, Wanzo says “The Lord talked to me last December and said I should do this. I fasted in January, and the word I

received to reflect on for the year was ‘obedience.’ I made a joke that I thought I could never sky dive, and I did that. God said now that you’ve taken that leap, you know we can do anything. He also told me ‘The road may be hard, but I will meet you there.’” With that Wanzo put a modest deposit on the trip, out of the total $3,500 cost, and raised the balance over the next eight months through selling cheesecakes and individual donations. “I departed Denver on September 6th on a flight to Washington, D.C. where I met with 41 others, including doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists from Ethiopia, dental hygienists, eye doctors, lay people and ministers—set for this journey from throughout the US and Canada. I didn’t know any of them, but now they’re family,” she says. On September 7th, the group flew 14 hours from D.C. to Ethiopia, then to Harare, Zimbabwe where they stayed overnight in a hotel. The next day they flew 40 minutes from Harare to the Bush, from which they took three buses through dirt roads into the campsite where they’d do their work. They arrived the afternoon of Saturday, September 9th. “It looked like a circus at first,” says Wanzo. “There were tents within tents. We set up our sleeping bags and cots and rested to be ready for clinic work on Sunday.” The group saw more than 9,000 people in 6 days. Two babies were delivered during that time, 2,000 pairs of reading glasses and 12,000 LifeStraw water filter systems were given out. “The dentists pulled so many teeth we could have made several sets of dentures out of them,” she shares. “We saw 600 to 700 people each day in the prayer tent,” Wanzo says. “My job was to ask people, “If they called Him Yeshua or Jesus. If they called Him Jesus I then asked if they wanted to know Yeshua. I had 150 people accept Yeshua. Robert, the interpreter assigned to me, took it from there.” Wanzo shares that they baptized 100 people from her tent alone in the Messianic Jewish faith. “The fact that God chose and trusted me to take His word and to know that the people of Zimbabwe are hungry for Christ in a way that we are not in the U.S. moved me beyond belief,” she says. “We [Americans] play with God too much. We too often only talk to God when things are bad. I saw people come to the clinic in carts and on donkeys for help. Many walked many miles and stood in line for five hours in the sun and heat. Many live in poverty that we can’t imagine and they are happy, friendly, kind, and accepting of everyone. We have no excuse.” Wanzo says she would encourage everyone to do a medical or general mission trip. “I truly believe that when God calls you, he equips you, guides you and leads you. We all need to reach out hands and touch others in kindness.”Y

Editor’s note: Angelle Fouther is Director of Communications at LiveWell Colorado and a resident of Montbello.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017




Families Forward Thanksgiving Food Drive Needs Volunteers

SOUTHERN SMOKED $50 Large (6-10) - $40 Small (4-6)

By LaToya Petty During the season of Thanksgiving, community service agencies are often tasked to be a lifeline for families needing assistance during the holiday. Families Forward Resource Center has hosted a Thanksgiving Food Drive for families in Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, and North Aurora for 10 years. The food collected often feeds up to 350 families – approximately 2000 individuals. We would like your help with collecting food items for the families. We invite schools, organizations, business, individuals, and other families to help collect food items from their community. Current partners include Young Americans Bank, Struggle of Love Foundation, Grant Farms, and Sabre Logistics. Volunteers are also needed to help with sorting, stacking, and organizing the food boxes and distributing the food boxes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Below is a list of food items we are seeking.

Fried Turkey Leg Dinner with Trimmings (Serves 2) - $24


Munch N’ Stop Kitchen and Lounge

850 S. Dayton St. in Aurora


720-272-5844 720- 808-1414

Editor’s note: For more information about how you can get involved with the Families Forward Thanksgiving Drive, visit

4848 Chambers Road Aurora Colorado 80239 303.371.8531

Services: Cuts • Shampoo • Designs • Shave/Line-up • Texturizer

Charles Sagere

Barber Chief Operating Officer 720.298.1911

Gregory E. Allen, PMP, MS

Chief Executive Officer 303-587-6567 MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



outside caregiver through an eldercare agency.” “I learned to be patient with myself even though there were times that I had to sequester myself in the bathroom to get over some of his ranting.” “Basically I learned not to take his negative words personally, that the things he said sometimes were just symptoms of his illness, and not representative of the loving person he had been during the 46 years of our marriage.” “Living 1,200 miles away from my aunt, I learned that I could do simple things that others had not thought about, but that could make a positive difference. I began sending my sister six months of personal checks at a time to use for our aunt in whatever ways she felt best.” “You don’t have to feel alone. I feel it takes more than one person to help with being a caregiver. Both the person being taken care of and the caregiver need time and space both mentally and physically.” Clearly, caregiving is a multi-faceted and uniquely individual experience. In other words, there are many ways caregiving can unfold and many aspects to showing your love as you go through the journey. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Others are there to help even if the first people you reach out to don’t respond as you expected or hoped for. In addition, an online caregiving resource such as educational and other materials found at can be helpful.Y

Caring: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Some of you are probably familiar with soul singer

By Mary McGlothin Davis, PhD, RN

Tina Turner’s sultry rendition of the song What’s Love Got to Do with It? Eventually a theme in the Academy Award nominated movie of the same name, the song states that love is a second-hand emotion. Well, when I was scrolling through some Facebook graphics recently, I found one titled Caring Is Love, which in my view is more akin to caring being a first-hand emotion. So how do we connect caring with love? Or maybe even better, how do we show loving care? Across the nation families are facing new responsibilities: caring for a loved one who can no longer care for themselves. Maybe you are starting to notice that a family member is no longer able to do things that were so special to the family. She can no longer prepare those delicious meals she used to make when you were growing up. Holidays may not seem the same because she no longer prepares the family feast at Thanksgiving. Perhaps you have noticed recently that he seems to move slower or walks as though he is out of balance and might fall. Perhaps you’ve noticed that he is no longer changing his clothes voluntarily. And that getting him to take a bath is a struggle. These occurrences may underscore a new unwritten “job description” for you – that of caregiver. A recent project at United Church of Montbello helped to illustrate ways in which loving care is provided by its members. Through a collection of firsthand caregiving experiences, 19 members shared their caregiving journeys. These heart-felt expressions are varied and so touching that many contributors came away feeling somewhat emotionally healed and relieved that others can know that when they go through a similar caregiving journey, they too can make a difference in the life of a loved one. Some of the contributors learned that the ability to build someone else up so they can carry out their daily activities helps the giver and receiver to develop deeper relationships, and calmer minds and spirits. Some learned that how they showed care became more important than the what. As the everwise late poet Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Caregivers who participated in the project shared their personal experiences. Below are some of their statements. “My “official” role as caregiver was something I grew into overtime.” “The experience gave me so much joy to be able to give back some of the love and support that both my uncle and aunt had given me.” “The regimen of providing personal care for her seven days a week and working full time became untenable. After several months, we had to hire an

Editor’s note: Dr. Mary Davis is CEO of McGlothin Davis, Inc. which includes World of Wellness Home Care program. World of Wellness Home Care provides companion and personal care services to homebound clients.

Snow Removal Safety

With Denver’s first snow of the season already recorded, more snow is certainly on the way. Denver Health has issued information regarding Snow Removal Safety. Take a few moments to review a summary of the information and tips for safer shoveling. You can see the full list at For most people, snow removal is an expected chore. But, for some the risk of a heart attack or back injury is a risk. People who are not in good physical condition or those with existing heart disease or personal history of stroke are at a higher risk for injury. Snow removal can be especially dangerous if you do not exercise regularly. The combination of colder temperatures and physical activity increases the workload on the heart. People outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow or even walking. The most common injuries associated with snow removal include sprains and strains, particularly in the back and shoulders, as well as lacerations and finger amputations. •Consult a doctor before exercising in cold weather if you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle-aged or older. •Dress appropriately in light, layered clothing; keep your head warm; wear mittens or gloves. •Clear snow early and often. •Warm up your muscles. •Pace yourself, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids. •Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength.• •Push the snow instead of lifting it; lift with your legs not your back. •Do not throw snow over your shoulder or to the side – the twisting motion stresses your back. •Avoid eating a heavy meal prior to or soon after shoveling. •Learn CPR in case you need to help someone else. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of heart attack, stop shoveling and seek emergency care by calling 911. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911! Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



Academy 360 Gets New Kaboom Playground

Early on a morning in September, nearly 200 volunteers descended on the parking lot of Academy 360 to build a playground. Approximately five hours later there was a ribbon cutting ceremony and an amazing climbing structure, a pergola, an outdoor classroom, and large raised beds to compliment the mini farm already growing on top of the asphalt. Finish Line Youth Foundation in partnership with KABOOM – national nonprofit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most – provided all the resources, equipment, and materials that made it possible for the volunteers to put the whole project together in record time. The reward for the volunteers was seeing the eyes of the students as they came outside to participate in the ribbon cutting. The new playground will bring more than 1,000 kids in Denver one step closer to having the play-filled childhood they deserve. The play space makes it easier for all kids to get balanced and active play and makes Montbello more playable. Located at 12000 East 47th Avenue, Academy 360 strives to develop students’ minds, bodies, and characters so they may lead healthy and fulfilling lives in school, college, and beyond. The school’s founder and staff endeavor to set a new precedent for how a school partners with community. Through school-linked health services, continually expanding wrap-around services, and growing to serve pre-natal through 5th grade — and eventually cradle to career — the school seeks to provide a 360-degree education.Y

A New Not-For-Profit In Town: Montbello 20/20 By Erik Penn

At a recent meeting of Montbello 20/20 on October 5th Councilpersons Stacie Gilmore, Christopher Herndon, Robin Kniech, and a representative from Debbie Ortega’s office discussed various topics ranging from the opening of the Meadows at Montbello to the potential growth projects slated for the community in the GO Denver Bond measures on Denver’s ballot this November. Bringing elected officials together to meet with neighbors has always been a guiding principle for Montbello 20/20 since their founding and these relationships and opportunities will only grow under Montbello 20/20’s new capacity. City Council President, Michael Hancock, organized Montbello 20/20 in March 2008 as a registered neighborhood organization with a great amount of community investment to tackle the difficult issues of crime, youth activities, school finances and curriculum, along with working to identify how to foster volunteer involvement and care for the aging community, among other matters. Over the last nine years, the organization has worked with City Council, community members, and collaborating organizations and agencies to disseminate information, host information workshops, and bring leaders to the table to have candid discussions with neighbors. Through these efforts we have developed lasting relationships that have helped address the needs of the

community in a meaningful way. There is still plenty of work to accomplish however. With that in mind, Montbello 20/20 has taken another step to help secure assets and resources to make their vision a reality: Montbello 20/20 has received federal non-profit status. Montbello 20/20 sought non-profit status to bring an alternate voice to various tables as well as encourage more funding enter the far northeast while working cooperatively with community partners on like-minded endeavors and to tackle varying works that are a priority of the organization including issues from the original founding documents of Montbello 20/20. Montbello 20/20 will continue to work closely with neighbors and community members to represent their interests and secure answers and resources to tackle community problems through collaboration with city council offices and state entities while leveraging their non-profit status to pursue issue specific growth opportunities and encourage collaboration with other community, city-wide, and even national partners. Through the remainder of 2017, Montbello 20/20 will be working to establish their board, shore up their guiding vision and setting goals to guide their work in 2018. We look forward to seeing you at our meetings and in working together as we continue to advocate for respectful, meaningful growth and investment in the far northeast. Y

Editor’s note: Erik Penn is Co-Chair of Montbello 20/20 and Captain of Denver Democrats House District 7B.

Families Forward Resource Center Honored By The City And Black Chamber Of Commerce

September and October were exciting months for Families Forward Resource Center (FFRC) as programs and staff were recognized for the important work they do on behalf of the families and children in the community. In September, Ron Allen, director of programs for FFRC, was recognized by Denver’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative that honors people and organizations working on behalf of boys and young men of color. Ron has a unique and special passion for enhancing the lives of fathers in Denver’s far northeast communities. Ron was chosen by the State of Colorado as one of ten men to be a Master Fatherhood Trainer. Also in September, FFRC’s Healthy Babies, Strong Families program was honored by Mayor Michael B. Hancock and members of his community commissions. FFRC was a recipient of the Mayor’s 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Awards which was awarded at an event themed “Denver’s Commitment to Welcoming and Celebrating All,” hosted by the Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission. Recognizing that African American families experience exponentially higher rates of infant mortality than any other culture, Families Forward Resource Center in Denver provides access to resources including health care, parenting education and family advocacy that help to ensure African American babies and families are healthy and thriving. October saw another tribute to the work of Families Forward as they were selected for the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), 2017 Ascension Award for Non-Profit of the Year in recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to the black community within the State of Colorado. Congratulations and thank you to Families Forward Resource Center and the hardworking, compassionate staff who give of themselves to improve the lives of Montbello families and children. Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation Honors Montbello Student At Annual Gala By Niambi Nicholes

Beyond achieving his own personal dreams of going to college and earn-

ing an MBA, Abdul Mberwa aspires to make a difference in the lives of other people in the same way the Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation® (CIHAD) has impacted his life. Abdul, a senior at Collegiate Prep Academy in Far Northeast Denver, received CIHAD’s Summit Award during the nonprofit’s annual gala on Thursday, October 26, 2017. Abdul accepted this year’s award, which is presented to students who have excelled academically, triumphed over personal obstacles, and demonstrated a commitment to the betterment of community, among hundreds of community, business, and civic leaders. “What it means to receive this award is knowing that I have people supporting me and my dreams,” said Abdul. For almost 30 years, CIHAD has been encouraging youth in Colorado to follow their passions and, more importantly, to believe in their dreams. The organization provides Denver metro youth, who are affectionately called Dreamers, with long-term support and engagement through one-on-one educational enrichment programs to bridge the educational gap and ensure that there is a level playing field. Abdul is a Dreamer in the organization’s Weill Class and one of 45 youth adopted in 2008 by Dick and Judy Weill during CIHAD’s 20th anniversary. As the oldest son in the family of nine children, Abdul strives to be a good role model for his siblings and to lead by example. “What motivates me is that I want to make my family proud and to be able to make a difference in

their lives,” explained Abdul, an outstanding player on the Northeast Warriors football team who achieves academic honors while taking on the challenges of AP classes. Though busy juggling school, sports, work, and family, Abdul understands the importance of embracing new experiences and opportunities. He is one of FAMILIES AGAINST VIOLENT ACTS CIHAD’s most active Dreamers, particY ipating in numerous community service MISSION: programs, going on college tours and Empowering families with resources to Aid in restoration with a fresh new perinterning through the organization’s spective on life Work is Success Internship Program. While the opportunities have been Y many, and all equally valuable, the ones •A Support Group •Open Forum that Abdul cherishes the most are those •Resource Referrals where he is able to give back. •Fellowship with other families “One of the things that I’ve gained Y from Colorado ‘I Have A Dream’® is For more information and support group time, call: the knowledge of what it means to give Dianne Cooks at 720-276-4611, Michael Hope back,” he explained. “I come from a or Francella Baker at (720) 767–5901 or email background of not having as much as f.a.v.a57@hotmail .com everyone else, but CIHAD has given Y me so much and provided me with the 4840 N. Chambers Road, Unit A chance to give back.” Denver, 80239 Neither of Abdul’s parents went to Y college, so he knows it’s not an oppor“Aggressively seeks to mend the tunity available to everyone. Therefore, hurting hearts of families affected by a violent he works hard and takes full advantage act” of every educational opening given to him. Next fall, Abdul will be the third family member to go to college, following the footsteps of his older sisters. After college, his goal is to be in a position where he can give back. Abdul aspires to become an athletic director and describes it as a position where he can blend his love of sports with his desire to maintain his connection with and service to the community. “Being involved with Colorado ‘I Have A Dream’® has impacted me, because I can’t say that my life would have been the same without them and there really aren’t enough words to describe it,” said Abdul. “They have done so much for me throughout the years and put me in this position by providing me with the opportunities to make my dreams a reality.” Driven by his family’s history and inspired by what the future holds, Abdul is on the path to doing great things. His advice to other students is simply “Don’t let your current situation be your permanent destination.” In addition to his personal advice he would like for young people to remember the words of motivational speaker Les Brown, “shoot for the moon, if you miss you will land among stars.” Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017


November/December 2017

Nov. 1 – Dec. 28: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Karate. Youth ages 5-18 are FREE with a My Denver Card. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580 or

Nov. 1 – Dec. 20: Youth Wrestling. Youth ages 5-18 are free with a My Denver Card. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580 or

Nov. 4 and 5: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Youth State Football Tournament Grades 1 – 8. AYS/Athletics and Beyond. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-416-0859 or email Nov. 7: Noon. Winter Activity Registration-Swim Lessons, Youth Basketball, Holiday Activities, Art & Pottery, Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580, Nov. 8: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Community Enhancement Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110. For more information contact Nov. 11: 10 a.m. to Noon. Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore. Green Valley Ranch Library. For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

Nov. 11 and 12: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Youth State Football Tournament Grades 1 – 8. AYS/Athletics and Beyond. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-416-0859 or email Nov. 13: 6 to 8 p.m. FNE Education Commission. Evie Garrett Dennis Campus. For information call Kiera Jackson at 720-423-3127 or email Nov. 14: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. For more information contact

Nov. 18 and 19: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Youth State Football Tournament Grades 1 – 8. AYS/Athletics and Beyond. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave.. For more information contact 720-416-0859 or email Nov. 20: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Transportation Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110. For more information contact

Nov. 25 and 26: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Youth State Football Tournament Grades 1 – 8. AYS/Athletics and Beyond. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-416-0859 or email Nov. 28 – Dec. 7: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Family Cooking Class The cost is $20 per adult (18+). Youth ages 8-17 are FREE with a My Denver Card. Youth and adult must register together. All cooking ingredients and supplies are provided. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580 or

Nov. 30: 10 a.m. to Noon. Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore. Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office. 4685 Peoria St. Suite 215. For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

(December 2017)

Dec. 7: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Montbello 20/20 Community Meeting. Arie P. Taylor Building. 4685 Peoria St. For more information contact

Dec. 7: 10 a.m. to Noon. Montbello and Green Valley Ranch Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore. Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office. 4685 Peoria St. Suite 21 - For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email Dec. 8: 6 to 9 p.m. Councilwoman Gilmore’s District 11 Annual Holiday Party. Crown Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center. 15500 E 40th Ave.. RSVP to Magen at Dec. 12: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. For more informationcontact Dec. 13: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Community Engagement Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste. 110. For more information contact

Dec. 15: 4 to 5 p.m. Ornament Decorating. Youth ages 5-18 are FREE with a My Denver Card. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580 or

Dec. 18: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Transportation Development Task Team. Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Avenue Ste. 110. For more information contact Dec. 29: 3 to 4 p.m. Ornament Decorating. Youth ages 5-18 are FREE with a My Denver Card. Montbello Recreation Center. 15555 E. 53rd Ave. For more information contact 720-865-0580 or

If your organization has a Save The Date activity to be listed in the 2018 January/February issue of MUSE, send details to MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - November/December 2017



th Annual

be well Awards & Community Celebration

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized?

Submit your entry form in one of two ways

Salute those who volunteer their time or go above and beyond their professional responsibility to motivate others, initiate change and/or provide key services to advance healthy lifestyles!

1.) Complete an electronic form at

56th Ave

Monaco St Pkwy

Peoria St


Quebec St

26th Ave

Greater Park Hill

All entries must be received (not postmarked) by January 13, 2018.

Northwest Aurora

East Montclair

11th Ave

Yosemite St

Colfax Ave

Moline St

Havana St

Students, nominate a peer! Teachers, nominate a student! Neighbors, nominate a neighbor! Montview Blvd

Syracuse St

Colorado Blvd

MLK Blvd

Smith Rd

Stapleton Foundation 7350 E. 29th Ave., Suite 204 Denver, CO 80238


70 I-2


N Chambers Rd

Quebec St

E 56th Ave

I-70 Northeast Park Hill

Anyone is eligible to make a nomination. Nominees must live, work, or make a significant contribution to “healthy living� in one of the be well Zone neighborhoods.

2.) Pick up a form at any one of our be well locations, complete it and mail or drop off at:

For more information, or to RSVP contact Shyretta Hudnall at 303-468-3228 or

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MUSE November/ December 2017  
MUSE November/ December 2017  

You will notice that there is heavy emphasis on “food” this issue. From the editorial inviting you to tell your own dinner stories as part o...