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Inside This Issue

Montbello in the News...5, 6, & 7 Healthy Living In The Community...10 & 11 Voices In The Neighborghood...12, 13 Happenings Around Montbello...14 Youth On The Move…15




Dear Readers,

The theme of this month’s MUSE, Montbello Alive! – Activating Our Community, highlights the many ways in which the residents and leaders in the community are demonstrating the ways this community is alive. We couldn’t fit in to this issue all the exciting, powerful, and fun events and happenings that occurred during the summer. So, let me just mention a few of those. There was the F.A.V.A. Heal the Hood event where people celebrated with games, dancing, competitions (watermelon eating was especially juicy), some “spoken word” and many more activities. Then there was the National Night Out Community Event at Barney Ford Elementary sponsored, in part, by our own District 5 Police Department. Another opportunity for folks to celebrate the aliveness of Montbello. After many months of “listening and learning” about DPS schools and getting feedback from parents, students, teachers, and interested community members, the Far Northeast Education Commission was finally activated and tasked with delving into the status of four areas -- Academic Expectations, Athletics, Shared Facilities, and Wellness – and coming up with recommendations to send to the Board of Education by the end of the year. It is not too late to become actively involved in this process. See the Save The Dates page at the end of the paper for the times and dates of the monthly meetings held at the Evie Dennis Campus. How are you engaged in activating Montbello and ensuring that it is indeed an Alive community? We would like to know and to include your story in upcoming issues of the MUSE. Send me an email at so we can connect. In the meantime, join us in celebrating Montbello’s 51st anniversary on September 23 at the Montbello Campus.

Respectfully, Donna Garnett, Editor Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition

“We have the power of the pen to write the next chapter, and the privilege to author the page in whatever fashion we choose. Yet, seldom do we understand the power of the pen and the privilege of the page.” — Craig Lounsbrough


Activating The Montbello Community

ed on building a relationship with FLTI by showing up to their meetings and discussing the legislative process. Doing so helped remove fears that many of us have regarding politics and politicians and that keep us from being engaged. 1) My elected official doesn’t care for my perspective, 2) I don’t understand the legislative process, and 3) the political process is rigged and there’s nothing I can do. How do I know these fears exist? I’ve felt the same way at times in the past with various elected leaders across the country. That’s why our legislative team is committed to asking our community for their policy ideas, and encouraging our neighbors to meet with us in the community, and/or at the Capitol. We must be led by the people, and not the other way around. As elected officials, we are simply the voice of the people. Sure, we are elected because most of our neighbors vote for us due to shared values and beliefs, and we can think for ourselves. But, your opinions matter always, and not just when we’re campaigning. That said there is a school board election in November. Vote! There will be primary elections and general elections in the fall next year as well. Educate yourself on the issues; educate your neighbors, and most of all Vote! Most importantly for me, the 2018 legislative session to pass state policy for our community and the state starts January 11th, and ends May 10th. For 120 days, I will be representing you at the state level to make our communities, and Colorado a better place to live, work, and make a difference! I would love to hear policy ideas from you. I would love to support you by leveraging the influence that comes with representing you. I am grateful for this opportunity, but can’t do it without knowing your concerns, solutions, and perspective. Looking forward to hearing from you. Let’s Get Active! Y Editor’s note: Montbello residents can contact Representative Coleman at or by calling 720-297-5301.

By James Coleman, State Representative House District 7

Colorado’s House District 7 encompasses our Denver International Airport, Green Valley Ranch, Montbello, Parkfield, Gateway Park, Stapleton, and Northeast Parkhill. Our communities are beautiful. Montbello is a historic community filled with brilliance. We’ve birthed great leaders and movements that have developed a community that has pioneered businesses, recreation, schools, and much more. At times, we forget the power that lives and breathes in Montbello because of the many changes that impact us. Gentrification, school closures, and violence are just a few of those challenges. These are a few of the misconceptions that have falsely defined what Montbello and its residents are all about. Lest we forget the people, the monuments, churches, quality schools, and beautiful nature amongst other things that still makes Montbello a beautiful place to live. That’s what Montbello has always been about. The People. Each one takes care of another. At times, it seems as if that principle is not practiced as well as it should be. But, who better to help our community thrive than we the people? After having completed my first session at the legislature as your state representative, I couldn’t be prouder of how you supported me to improve our community! Organizations like the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) showed up to advocate for better schools, safer streets, and greater economic development opportunities. However, that was predicat-

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

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - James Coleman, Angelle C. Fouther, Stacie Gilmore, Chris Martinez, Neshiyqah Nash, Wivine Ngongo, Erik Penn Translations by Marta Welch ART DIRECTOR - Bee Harris ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT - Melovy Melvin

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 - September/October 2017


MOC Unveils Plan For Grocery-Anchored Cultural Hub By Donna Garnett

In July, Montbello

Strategies Across the community many efforts are in play to address the challenges residents face. MOC plays a supportive role to many of these. The Montbello FreshLo Initiative is not a duplication of other efforts underway but rather a complement. Montbello FreshLo aims to activate strategies that: •Promote cultural heritage, animate public and private spaces, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes, improve local business viability and public safety, and bring diverse people together. •Improve access to healthy, affordable food within low-income communities and build social cohesion and increase physical activity. •Create living-wage jobs, expand micro-enterprise development, promote enterprise-level training, and contribute to neighbor- hood revitalization. •Expand opportunities for everyone to participate and prosper. To these ends, three strategies are envisioned. First, the plan calls for building a cultural hub that will unify the diverse cultural perspectives of the community. The hub will be anchored by a medium-sized grocery store combined with performance and artist exhibition space. Small and large meeting/gathering places will be integrated throughout the Cultural Hub. Also included will be a community kitchen that will serve as an incubator for micro-enterprise development. Ideally, the Cultural Hub will be near the “municipal” section of the community near the Arie P. Taylor Municipal Building and down the street from the public library, the fire department, Boys and Girls Club, and Denver Health Clinic. The perfect location would be within walking distance of the Montbello Urban Farm, the new Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) facility, and other school and church-based gardens. Second, Montbello FreshLo calls for expanding the existing Montbello Urban Farm, located at the United Church of Montbello and managed by Children’s Farms of America, as a means of increasing local production and distribution of fresh and healthy food. The Montbello Urban Farm will link with other smaller school and church-based gardens and local food rescue and low cost/no cost grocery providers to create a comprehensive network of food distribution. The plan calls for construction of a commercial greenhouse to expand food production year-round. To increase physical activity among residents, Montbello FreshLo will utilize this network of community farms and gardens to create a walkable “healthy living loop” that connects community gardens, school gardens, and the Cultural Hub. Finally, Montbello FreshLo will work with Denver’s Public Works department to improve sidewalks and street crossings and create bike lanes as part of the Walkable Loop. The third strategy is centered around continuing to build a viable communication platform that will enable residents to access information about happenings in the neighborhood and the greater Denver metro area. Expansion of the reach of the MUSE is one goal – moving from a bi-monthly to a monthly publication in English and Spanish with a distribution that includes every household in the community. MOC will work with other nonprofits to create and maintain a “community calendar” that is always current. Finally, the plan calls for creating a “Montbello Alive” app that utilizes technology to inform and alert users to happenings in the community. Continued on page 4

Organizing Committee (MOC) unveiled a plan to activate the

community by creating places in

the community that promote cul-

tural heritage, artistic expression, animate public and private

spaces, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes, improve local business viability and public safety,

and bring diverse peoples together. Tagged Montbello FreshLo (for fresh and local), these places will collectively improve access to healthy, affordable

food for all residents, but especially within low-income communities,

and build social cohesion and increase physical activity within a vibrant cul-

tural context. The plan marks the conclusion of more than a year of discussions with hundreds of residents, nonprofits, businesses, and community leaders about issues impacting Montbello and ideas for improving the overall health and wellbeing of the neighborhood. Kresge Foundation and Colorado Health Foundation funded the planning phase.

Challenges Among the challenges driving the Montbello FreshLo plan is the fact that from 2000 to 2014, the poverty rate in Montbello doubled to 28 percent as compared to 18 percent for all Denver. Some 37 percent of children in the community who are under the age of 18 live in poverty. The neighborhood lacks healthy food options and infrastructure that would allow general walkability. Low-income residents without cars experience the most significant food access barriers. Limited availability of fresh food options contributes to high rates of diabetes and obesity. Larger chain grocery stores regard neighborhood demographics as a barrier to entry into the market. Further, the neighborhood lacks connectivity to schools, transit, food shopping, or even for simple exercise. Major arterials feature long blocks, minimal crossings, high-speed traffic, and inadequate sidewalks. There are few neighborhood specific destinations – grocery store, deli, coffee shop or gathering space. RTD has consolidated some bus routes, resulting in less service within parts of the neighborhood. Montbello has little community meeting or gathering space to support an active and engaging sense of community. Finally, there is widespread belief that the 2014 closing of Montbello High School left a hole in the community’s fabric. Despite the challenges, Montbello citizens remain proud of their community and optimistic about its future. Montbello’s large lots, extensive park system, and access to open space were repeatedly cited as community assets. Despite the challenges with cross-cultural integration already mentioned, many citizens reference Montbello’s diversity as one of its biggest assets. And, though many acknowledge Montbello’s reputation for crime, most report feeling safe in their community. This sense of safety is backed up by Denver’s crime statistics: Montbello’s most recent crime rate is 8.9 per 1000 residents, lower than crime rates in more affluent Denver communities such as Cherry Creek, Highlands, and Stapleton.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


MOC Desvela Plan Para Centro Cultural Anclado Por Tienda De Comestibles

Por Donna GarnettTraducido por Marta Welch

En julio, el Comité Organizador de

Estrategias A través de la comunidad muchos esfuerzos están en juego para abordar los desafíos que enfrentan los residentes. MOC desempeña un papel de apoyo a muchos de estos. La Iniciativa de Montbello FreshLo no es una duplicación de otros esfuerzos en curso, sino más bien un complemento. Montbello FreshLo tiene como objetivo activar estrategias que: •Promueven la herencia cultural, animan los espacios públicos y privados, rejuvenecen las estructuras y los paisajes urbanos, mejoran la viabilidad de negocios locales y la seguridad pública, y unen a las personas diversas. •Mejoran el acceso a alimentos saludables y asequibles dentro de las comunidades de bajos ingresos, construyen la cohesión social y aumentan la actividad física. •Crean puestos de trabajo con salarios dignos, amplían el desarrollo de las microempresas, promuevan el entrenamiento a nivel de la empresa y contribuyen a la revitalización del vecindario. •Amplían las oportunidades para que todos participen y prosperen. A estos fines, tres estrategias están previstas. En primer lugar, el plan requiere la construcción de un centro cultural que unifique las diversas perspectivas culturales de la comunidad. El centro será anclado por una tienda de comestibles de tamaño mediano, combinada con espacio para el rendimiento y una exposición de artistas. Espacios pequeños y grandes para lugares de reunión/recolección serán integrados en todas partes del centro cultural. También se incluirá una cocina comunitaria que servirá como una incubadora para el desarrollo de microempresas. Idealmente, el Centro Cultural estará cerca de la sección "municipal" de la comunidad cerca del Edificio Municipal de Arie P. Taylor y por la calle de la biblioteca pública, el departamento de bomberos, Boys and Girls Club, y Denver Health Clinic. El lugar perfecto estaría a poca distancia de la Granja Urbana de Montbello, la nueva instalación de Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), y otros jardines basados en las escuelas y las iglesias. En segundo lugar, Montbello FreshLo reclama la expansión de la Granja Urbana de Montbello actual, ubicada en United Church of Montbello y administrada por Children’s Farms of América, como un medio de aunmentar la producción local y distribución de alimentos frescos y saludables. La Granja Urbana de Montbello conectará con otros jardines basados en las escuelas y las Iglesias más pequeñas, y el rescate local de alimentos y proveedores de comestibles baratos/sin costo para crear una amplia red de distribución de alimentos. El plan prevé la construcción de un invernadero comercial para ampliar la producción de alimentos durante todo el año. Para aumentar la actividad física entre los residentes, Montbello FreshLo utilizará esta red de granjas y jardines comunitarios para crear un "bucle de vida saludable" que conecta jardines comunitarios, jardines escolares y el Centro Cultural. Por último, Montbello FreshLo trabajará con el departamento de Obras Públicas de Denver para mejorar las aceras y los cruces de calles y crear carriles de bicicletas como parte del Bucle de Caminar. La tercera estrategia se centra en seguir construyendo una plataforma de comunicación viable que permitirá a los residentes acceder a información sobre los eventos en el vecindario y el área metropolitana de Denver. La expansión del alcance de la MUSE es un objetivo - pasar de una publicación bimensual a una publicación mensual en inglés y español con una distribución que incluye a todos los hogares de la comunidad. MOC trabajará con otras organizaciones sin fines de lucro para crear y mantener un "calendario comunitario" que esté siempre al día. Por último, el plan prevé la creación de una aplicación llamada "Montbello Alive" que utiliza tecnología para informar y alertar a los usuarios sobre los eventos en la comunidad.

Montbello (MOC) desveló un plan para activar la comunidad creando lugares en la comunidad que promueve la herencia cultural, la expresión artística, animan espacios públicos y privados, rejuvenecen estructuras y paisajes urbanos, mejoran la viabilidad del negocio local y la seguridad pública, y unen a diversos pueblos. Etiquetado Montbello FreshLo (por fresco y local), estos lugares mejorarán colectivamente el acceso a alimentos saludables y asequibles para todos los residentes, pero especialmente dentro de las comunidades de bajos ingresos, y construirán cohesión social y aumentarán la actividad física dentro de un contexto cultural vibrante. El plan marca la conclusión de más de un año de discusiones con cientos de residentes, organizaciones sin fines de lucro, negocios y líderes de la comunidad sobre temas que impactan a Montbello y las ideas para mejorar la salud general y el bienestar del vecindario. Kresge Foundation y Colorado Health Foundation financiaron la fase de planificación.

Desafíos Entre los desafíos que impulsan el plan Montbello FreshLo es el hecho de que entre 2000 a 2014, la tasa de pobreza en Montbello se duplicó a 28 por ciento en comparación con 18 por ciento por todo Denver. Alrededor de un 37 por ciento de los niños de la comunidad menores de 18 años viven en la pobreza. El vecindario carece de opciones saludables de comida y de una infrastructura que permitiría la abilidad de caminar, generalmente. Los residentes de bajos ingresos sin coches experimentan las barreras más significativas de acceso a los alimentos. La disponibilidad limitada de opciones de alimentos frescos contribuye a altas tasas de diabetes y obesidad. Tiendas más grandes de cadena de comestibles consideran la demografía de la vecindad como una barrera a la entrada en el mercado. Además, el vecindario carece de conectividad con las escuelas, tránsito, compras de alimentos, o incluso para ejercicio simple. Las arterias principales presentan bloques largos, cruces mínimos, tráfico de alta velocidad y aceras inadecuadas. Hay pocos destinos específicos del vecindario – tienda de alimentos, tienda de delicatessen, café, o espacio de reunión. RTD (Distrito Regional de Transporte) ha consolidado algunas rutas de autobuses, resultando en menos servicio dentro de las zonas del vecindario. Montbello tiene poco espacio de reunión comunitaria o espacio de reunión para apoyar un sentido de comunidad activo y comprometido. Por último, existe una creencia generalizada que el cierre de 2014 de la Escuela Secundaria de Montbello dejó un hueco en el tejido social de la comunidad. A pesar de los desafíos, los ciudadanos de Montbello siguen siendo orgullosos de su comunidad y optimistas sobre su futuro. Los grandes lotes de Montbello, el extenso sistema de parques y el acceso a espacios abiertos fueron citados repetidamente como bienes de la comunidad. A pesar de los desafíos con la integración intercultural ya mencionado, muchos ciudadanos hacen referencia a la diversidad de Montbello como uno de sus mayores bienes. Y, aunque muchos reconocen la reputación de Montbello por el crimen, la mayoría informan que se sienten seguros en su comunidad. Esta sensación de seguridad está respaldada por las estadísticas criminales de Denver: la tasa de criminalidad más reciente de Montbello es de 8.9 por cada 1,000 habitantes, más baja que las tasas de criminalidad en las comunidades más ricas de Denver como Cherry Creek, Highlands y Stapleton.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


Continúa en la página 4

Grocery Anchored Cultural Hub Continued from page 2

Continúa de la página 2

Próximos Pasos Montbello FreshLo es un esfuerzo multimillonario, de gran alcance. Es integral y requerirá el compromiso y el apoyo de muchas entidades para trabajar en conjunto para dar forma a las estrategias y los resultados reales. En el clima político actual, el mayor desafío será asegurar el financiamiento para llevar el proyecto a la realidad. El presupuesto federal actual sugiere que la financiación pública puede verse comprometida por recortes en el presupuesto federal (por ejemplo, los fondos de Community Development Block Grant están en el bloque de desmonte y esos son los fondos primarios disponibles a través de la Oficina de Desarrollo Económico de Denver que pueden apoyar los ladrillos y el mortero de esta iniciativa). Un riesgo inminente es el hecho de que la gentrificación está invadiendo a un ritmo rápido y hay una presión considerable sobre los propietarios de viviendas y los propietarios para vender ahora. Los intereses externos tienen el capital para invertir en proyectos en competencia (como para competir por la tierra en consideración), pero pueden carecer del compromiso de trabajar con los residentes y asegurar que aquellos que han vivido, trabajado, jugado y orado aquí a largo plazo no son desplazados. Montbello ha sido largamente ignorado por las autoridades y líderes a través de múltiples sistemas. La comunidad tiene una gran huella geográfica, pero se ha aislado de muchos de los corredores de desarrollo económico que han contribuido a que Denver sea el mercado de la vivienda más caliente en el país y entre los lugares más deseables para vivir. Con el creciente número de personas ajenas (incluyendo desarrolladores, corporaciones, milenios) mirando con un intenso interés y la perspectiva de un alto retorno de su inversión en nuestra comunidad, la Iniciativa de Montbello FreshLo es única en que los residentes están impulsando este enfoque en lugar de esos ajenos. Para obtener más información sobre Montbello FreshLo o para unirse al esfuerzo, póngase en contacto con

Next Steps Montbello FreshLo is a far-reaching, multimillion-dollar endeavor. It is comprehensive and will require the commitment and support of many entities to work together to shape the actual strategies and outcomes. In the current political climate, the biggest challenge will be securing the financing to bring the project to reality. The current federal budget suggests that public financing may be compromised by cuts in the federal budget (e.g. Community Development Block Grant funds are on the chopping block and those are the primary funds available through Denver’s Office of Economic Development that can support the bricks and mortar of this initiative). A looming risk is the fact that gentrification is encroaching at a rapid pace and there is substantial pressure on home owners and landlords to sell now. Outside interests have the capital to invest in competing projects (as in competing for the land under consideration) but may lack the commitment to working with residents and in ensuring that those who have lived, worked, played, and prayed here for the long term are not displaced. Montbello has long been ignored by policymakers and leaders across multiple systems. The community has a large geographic footprint but has been isolated from many of the economic development corridors that have contributed to Denver being the hottest housing market in the country and among the most desirable places to live. With the growing number of outsiders (including developers, corporations, millennials) looking with intense interest and the prospect of high return on their investment in our community, the Montbello FreshLo Initiative is unique in that residents are driving this approach rather than those outsiders. For more information on Montbello FreshLo or to join the effort, contact Y

Editor’s note: Donna Garnett, M.S. es editor del MUSE (Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition). Ella considera que es un privilegio comunicarse con personas de todas las edades y circunstancias que viven, trabajan, adoran y juegan en Montbello y a transmitir esos sentimientos a los tomadores de decisiones y al público en general. Su propósito dominante es asegurar que los residentes sean los conductores de cambio en su propia comunidad.

Editor’s note: Donna Garnett, M.S. is editor of the MUSE. She considers it a privilege to communicate with people of all ages and circumstances living, working, worshipping, and playing in Montbello and to convey those sentiments to decisionmakers and the public at large. Her overarching purpose is to ensure that residents are the drivers of change in their own community.

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I-70’s Workforce Impacts on the Far Northeast

National Foundation Selects Montbello School To Build A Community Playground

By Erik Penn Construction on I-70 will not be done any time soon. Current plans are to spend $1.3 billion dollars to expand this instrumental highway with a primary focus on turning the above ground bridge that runs over Brighton Blvd, Steel St. and Vasquez Boulevard into a tunnel that will run 30 feet underground. Rebecca White of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently attended the August Montbello 20/20 meeting to discuss the impacts of this monumental project on the Far Northeast community. Rebecca shared that the project plan calls for the expansion of I-70 to four lanes out to Chambers Blvd. She was quick to note that these new lanes would be tollcharging “Express lanes.” She was also noted that whereas both projects — the I-70 expansion and the highway 36 expansion — are both public-private partnerships, the toll revenue from the I-70 lanes will go back to the state coffers rather than to a private company as has occurred with other toll road projects. The main purpose of Rebecca’s visit was not to discuss the project itself however, as many of the details regarding the project have been public for some time. Ms. White joined the meeting to discuss the prospects of bringing construction jobs to the Far Northeast. With a project slated to spend $1.5 billion dollars there is the potential for thousands of jobs over the next 4-5 years. Construction jobs are not the only jobs in the mix. There are many support roles that come with construction including catering and food services, office supplies and equipment, shelter, etc. Therefore, many programs and informational events, including one hosted by Montbello 20/20, the office of Councilperson Stacie Gilmore, and Community College of Denver, have been popping up across town to help families engage in securing high-paying construction careers. This expansion and development project has not been without its skeptics and opponents. These groups point to the state’s use of imminent domain over home owners in the Elyria-Swansea and Globeville areas along with the closure of the City Golf Course and other supporting projects in the area as reasons the project should not have moved forward. However, as the project is slated to move forward as the state has continued winning approval from federal and local agencies. And, with challenges to the project seeming be losing steam, the community must now focus on the potential opportunities that these projects will bring to Montbello and surrounding communities.Y

Academy 360 and Finish Line Youth Foundation are building a community playground on Thursday, Sept. 28. Volunteers from the school, the Montbello community and from the foundation will build a great new place for kids to play in ONE day. The project is in partnership with KaBOOM! – the national nonprofit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. A playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain-expander, friendmaker, and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. It can transform children from sedentary, bored, and solitary to physically, mentally, and socially active. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve, filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. With its partners, KaBOOM! has built, improved, and opened nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.5 million kids (#playmatters). The new playground will bring more than 1,066 kids in Denver one step closer to having the play-filled childhood they deserve. In building this play space together, we are making it easier for all kids to get balanced and active play and making Montbello more playable. The playground is the third built by Finish Line Youth Foundation and KaBOOM!. Through this partnership, more children will have the joyful childhood they deserve. Finish Line Youth Foundation supports KaBOOM! in promoting and protecting a child’s right to actively play at home, at school and in the community Located at 12000 East 47th Ave. in Denver, Academy 360 is driven by the mission 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 — A360 seeks to provide a 360degree education. A small army of community volunteers are needed to make the one-day build happen. Volunteers will be on site supporting Build Day from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No prior building experience or expertise is necessary. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.Y

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

Editor’s note: If you would like to help activate this community playground, register to volunteer for the September 28 Build Day at: or email Cait Partyka for additional registration support or questions: MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



Mayor Hancock & Council Members López and Kniech Announce New Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Ordinance

In August, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and City Council Members Paul López and Robin Kniech announced a new proposed ordinance that will protect the valuable contributions of immigrants and refugees to our community. The new Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act enjoys community and stakeholder support and is the result of months of conversations across the city. The proposed ordinance memorializes existing city policies and practices, in addition to establishing some new policies. This proposal is designed to reduce fear within the immigrant community and clarify for everyone that Denver is not engaging in immigration enforcement. For details of the ordinance, see the links below. “When immigrants fear city involvement in immigration enforcement they are less likely to trust police or fire officials, to report emergencies, or to testify or appear in court,” Councilman Lopez said. “Our entire community is safest when everyone trusts and utilizes law enforcement agencies. Today we are all standing together advocating for a path forward that will help reduce this fear.” “Currently, Denver has many policies and practices that limit city involvement in immigration enforcement,” said Councilwoman Kniech. “We are seeking to clarify and memorialize these in an ordinance so that our immigrant and refugee communities and public employees alike will know what to expect from the City of Denver.” “This ordinance complies with all applicable laws, including the only applicable federal law, 8 USC § 1373, which requires us to release immigration status, if known, when requested by the federal government. We have carefully drafted this ordinance to maintain compliance with federal and state law while at the same time providing reassurance to our immigrant community,” continued Councilwoman Kniech. “Together, we are sending a message to our entire community, especially immigrants, that it is OK to report emergencies, be active in community life and participate in the city government process,” concluded Councilman López. In addition to stating his support for the new ordinance, Mayor Hancock indicated that the administration will continue its work with City Council and stakeholders to develop a complementary Executive Order. The Executive Order is expected to be finalized as the ordinance moves through City Council consideration this month and will work to: •Create a legal defense fund •Establish a working group of subject matter experts, community stakeholders and city staff to track new developments and the impact of our policies in the changing immigration environment •Ensure city employees and law enforcement receive updated training •Help immigrants and refugees know their rights •Protect victims and witnesses regardless of their immigration status •Assist children and families who are separated “With these next steps, Denver will send a clear message that every person, no matter their immigration status, can feel safe when interacting with the city and law enforcement, and know that our No. 1 priority is the safety and health of everyone in Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “In the face of chaotic immigration policies coming out of Washington, we hope to foster the respect, trust and collaboration among community members, city officials and law enforcement that is critical to keeping Denver safe and thriving. Whether it’s reforming our sentencing laws, creating the city’s first hate crimes ordinance, or providing more resources, our community can rest assured that their Mayor and their City Council are all working toward the same goals to protect them and their contributions to our great city.”Y

Editor’s note: For more information on the New Ordinance Summary and New Ordinance Language, visit (Summary) denvergov/Portals/767/Documents/FACT%20SHEET%20Denver%20Public%20Safety %20Priorities%20FINAL.pdf and (Language) - %20Safety%20Enforcement%20Priorities%20(2017%2008-17).pdf

El alcalde Hancock y los miembros del Consejo Municipal de Denver Kniech anuncian Nueva Ordenanza de Prioridades para la Aplicación de la Seguridad Pública

Denver, CO - Hoy, el alcalde Michael B. Hancock y los miembros del Concejo Municipal de Denver Paul López y Robin Kniech anunciaron una nueva ordenanza que protegerá las valiosas contribuciones de inmigrantes y refugiados a nuestra comunidad. La nueva ley es el resultado de meses de conversaciones en toda la ciudad y tiene el apoyo de la comunidad, el Alcalde, y varios miembros del Consejo Municipal de Denver. La ordenanza conmemora las pólizas y prácticas existentes de la ciudad, además de establecer algunas nuevas pólizas. Esta propuesta está diseñada para reducir el temor dentro de la comunidad de inmigrantes y aclarar para todos que Denver no está participando en la aplicación de la ley de inmigración. Para mas detalles de la ordenanza, vea la hoja adjunta. “Cuando los inmigrantes temen la participación de la ciudad en la aplicación de la ley de inmigración, es menos probable que confíen en la policía o en los oficiales de bomberos,denuncian emergencias o testifiquen o comparezcan ante la corte. Toda nuestra comunidad es más segura cuando todos en nuestra ciudad confían y utilizan las fuerzas policiales agencias . Hoy todos estamos juntos defendiendo un camino que ayudará a reducir este miedo “, declaró el concejal Paul López. “Ya sea reformando nuestras leyes de sentencia, creando la primera ordenanza de crímenes de odio de la ciudad o proporcionando más recursos, nuestra comunidad puede estar segura de que su Alcalde y su Ayuntamiento están trabajando hacia los mismos objetivos de fomentar el respeto, la confianza y la colaboración entre la comunidad, funcionarios de la ciudad y la aplicación de la ley que es crítico para mantener las comunidades de refugiados y inmigrantesde Denver seguras y prósperas “, dijo el alcalde Hancock. “En la actualidad, Denver tiene muchas de las políticas y prácticas que limitan la participación de la ciudad en la ley de inmigración. Nuestra meta es aclarar y conmemorar esto en una ordenanza para que nuestra comunidad de inmigrantes, refugiados y empleados públicos por igual puedan contar de la Ciudad de Denver “, agregó la concejal Robin Kniech. “Esta ordenanza cumple con todas las leyes aplicables, incluyendo la única ley federal aplicable, 8 USC § 1373, que nos obliga a compartir estatus migratorio, si se conoce, solo cuando sea solicitado por el gobierno federal. Hemos redactado cuidadosamente esta ordenanza para mantener el cumplimiento con la ley federal y estatal, mientras que al mismo tiempo ofrezca un sentido de tranquilidad a nuestra comunidad inmigrante “, continuó la concejal Kniech. “Juntos, estamos enviando un mensaje a toda nuestra ciudad, especialmente a los inmigrantes, que está bien reportar emergencias, ser activos en la vida comunitaria y participar en todos los procesos del gobierno municipal”, concluyó el concejal López. Además de manifestar su apoyo a la nueva ordenanza, el alcalde Hancock

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



indicó que la administración continuará su trabajo con el Concejo Municipal y la comunidad para desarrollar una Orden Ejecutiva complementaria que aumentará la ordenanza. La orden ejecutiva que se espera sea finalizada trabajará para : •Crear un fondo de defensa legal •Establecer un comité de expertos en la materia, miembros de la comunidad y personal de la ciudad para hacer un seguimiento de los nuevos desarrollos y el impacto de nuestras políticas en el cambiante entorno migratorio •Asegurar que los empleados de la ciudad y las fuerzas del orden público reciban capacitación actualizada •Ayudar a que los inmigrantes y los refugiados conozcan sus derechos •Proteger a las víctimas y a los testigos independientemente de su estado migratorio •Ayudar a los niños y las familias que están separados “Con estos próximos pasos, Denver enviará un mensaje claro de que cada persona, sin importar su estatus migratorio, puede sentirse segura al interactuar con la ciudad y la policía, y saber que nuestra prioridad número 1 es la seguridad y la salud de todos en Denver”, dijo el alcalde Hancock. “Frente a las políticas de inmigración caóticas que salen de Washington, esperamos fomentar el respeto, la confianza y la colaboración entre los miembros de la comunidad, funcionarios de la ciudad y la aplicación de la ley que es crítico para mantener Denver segura y próspera. Ya sea reformando nuestras leyes de sentencia, creando la primera ordenanza de crímenes de odio de la ciudad o proporcionando más recursos, nuestra comunidad puede estar segura de que su Alcalde y su Concejo Municipal están trabajando hacia los mismos objetivos para protegerlos y sus contribuciones a nuestra gran ciudad.”Y


Empowering families with resources to Aid in restoration with a fresh new perspective on life


•A Support Group •Open Forum •Resource Referrals •Fellowship with other families


For more information and support group time, call:

Dianne Cooks at 720-276-4611, Michael Hope or Francella Baker at (720) 767–5901 or email f.a.v.a57@hotmail .com


4840 N. Chambers Road, Unit A Denver, 80239

New Ordinance Summary – orities%20FINAL.pdf; New Ordinance Language - %20Safety%20Enforcement%20Priorities%20(2017%2008-17).pdf


“Aggressively seeks to mend the hurting hearts of families affected by a violent act”

“Gangsta Gardener of L.A.” to Keynote LiveWell’s Annual Luncheon

environments with equitable access to the nourishing food and physical activity they need to be healthy. LiveWell will also acknowledge the Colorado Contractor’s Association (CCA) as its 2017 Wellness Champion. CCA is the leading professional association for infrastructure construction professionals across the state, proactively driving change and bringing infrastructure to life through the power of advocacy, workforce development, partnerships, training, and education. Engage in the Change is open to the public. Y

Ron Finley, Los Angeles-based artist, designer, and gardener will be the keynote speaker at LiveWell Colorado’s Engage in the Change Luncheon, to be held at the Westin Denver Downtown Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 11:30 a.m. This annual fundraiser raises awareness and funds for LiveWell’s work to increase access to healthy eating and active living by removing barriers that inequitably and disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color across the state. Ron Finley is a creative phenomenon – a renegade horticulturalist – with a strong vision for community gardening and changing culture. Nicknamed the “Gangsta Gardener,” Finley planted organic vegetables in the parkway in front of his South Los Angeles home and a revolution was started. Findley’s belief that gardens build communities has blossomed into a quest to change how we eat. Today, his mission is changing the composition of the soil in communities around the world through The Ron Finley Project. An artist, designer, and gardener, he is featured in a popular TED Talk and numerous articles and videos. When he is not speaking, you can find him in the garden. Finley’s message to LiveWell partners and supporters will emphasize the important work that remains in removing barriers to ensure that all live in

Editor’s note: For tickets and more information about LiveWell Colorado, visit Live Well Colorado is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to increasing access to healthy eating and active living by removing barriers that inequitably and disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color. LiveWell focuses on policy, environmental, and systems changes that advance opportunity for healthy behaviors. Working with partners in communities across the state, LiveWell aims to ensure that all Coloradans live in environments with equitable access to the nourishing food and physical activity they need to be healthy.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


Candidates for Denver Board of Education Speak Out on Their Views of Education

would help prepare ALL students, not just students of color, to be successful in our increasingly diverse country and global economy.

Opportunity Gap/Equity The opportunity gaps and inequities that exist in our district are complex challenges that require the shifting of mindsets and the attainment of knowledge and skills. This work requires us to assess the current status and needs of our students, educators, and leaders; reflect on root causes and historical context; and integrate this information into action. Rachele will work to ensure that the District’s work on equity includes the allocation of resources, talent, and time.

Four seats on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education are up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 7 for a 4-Year term: At Large, District 2, District 3, and District 4. Candidates must be registered voters and reside in the school board district for which they are running except for the At Large director who represents the entire city of Denver. Our Far Northeast neighborhoods are in DPS District 4. There are 3 candidates currently running to represent the Far Northeast: Dr. Rachele Espiritu, (incumbent) and challengers Auontai Anderson and Jennifer Bacon, Esq. Below are excerpts from their websites. Our schools are one of the strengths of our community. Please reach out to each candidate and VOTE!

Teacher Recruitment and Training It is critical to attract and retain teacher talent to support the success of our students. Denver has struggled historically to ensure that our teachers are representative of our communities, and Rachele agrees with the recommendations made in the Bailey report that DPS teachers must be trustworthy, competent, diverse, culturally-sensitive and hold high expectations for all children. To be effective in diverse classrooms and schools, teachers must be able to engage students of diverse backgrounds, understand different norms of behavior and communication, relate the teaching and content, and address the implicit biases that they have. This means a shift in mindset and beliefs, and obtaining new skills and practice. Student Discipline Rachele was proud to support the passing of a resolution in March that stated DPS’ intent to end suspensions and expulsions for students in Early Childhood Education (ECE) through third grades in favor of more thoughtful disciplinary practices.

Far Northeast Sports Rachele understands the importance of great sports programs that create a sense of pride in the school and community. That’s why Rachele supported dedicating funds from the 2016 Bond and Mill to build more seats, locker rooms, and stadium lights at the football field on the Evie Dennis Campus.Y Editor’s note: For more information go to

Rachele Espiritu

Auontai Anderson

Rachele is a parent of two DPS students in District 4 schools who understands the incredible responsibility of serving on the DPS Board of Education. She is the first immigrant to serve on the board and is a deeply engaged member of our community. Rachele received her B.A. in psychology from the University of California at San Diego and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she was a Patricia Robert Harris Fellow. She has also spent time as a faculty member at Georgetown University, where she co-authored a monograph on a public health approach to children’s mental health. She is a tremendous advocate for school discipline reform and for Denver’s youngest learners.

“I come from a family that has been actively involved with our public education system for as long as I can remember. I want to be a part of our great Denver School Board to work for and represent our underrepresented students. Together, we need to create more opportunities for students to step into their greatness, and to put our students first — especially our students of color, which is a top priority for me. We need to show our teachers and administrators that we appreciate their hard work, not only through words but through actions of support. I believe that my youth gives me the benefit of both a fresh vision and the firsthand perspective of the strengths and weaknesses of our school system.”

Quality Education for ALL Children Every kid deserves a world class education regardless of school model. Kids and parents should have real choices where they send their kids to ensure their individual needs are met. Rachele believes DPS and the community need to implement the clearly articulated metrics DPS has put into policy that create equal levels of accountability for charters and district run schools, a plan for improvement, and a clear path forward. All schools, charters and district run, should be held to high standards and judged by whether they are providing students with a high-quality education.

Culturally Competent Education Rachele supports curriculum that reflects the identities of all students in the district and is interested in exploring a policy that would create an ethnic studies program for DPS high schools. For too long, our courses have focused on the achievements of the predominant culture, leaving out the accomplishments and perspectives of different racial and ethnic groups. The opportunity to learn about one’s own or another culture’s history helps students understand the importance of different cultures and the intersection with power in shaping our past, present and future. Ethnic studies courses

Safeguarding our Neighborhood Schools The gap in funding education has caught the attention of private corporations and nonprofit organizations alike. Charter schools present real challenges in equity of education for our students. Charter schools are not held to the same standards as other public schools and have the option of establishing their own admission criteria. They are not accountable in teacher hir-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


political divides and work with everyone to find practical solutions to our challenges. This is all to ensure Denver Public Schools sets all our kids up to live the life they want to live. [I want] to create a Denver where every kid gets a fair shot, we must put aside politics and focus on our communities. District 4 is made up of many diverse communities. Each has their own wealth of community resources and their unique challenges in the education system. What does that mean? There’s no one size fits all answer for education across Denver. So, we must be willing to bring parents and communities to the table and respect them as the experts they are. Parents and families are experts in what they need, in their children, in their experiences, and in their culture. We must allow them to bring that to bear in district processes.

ing, public publishing of budgets and curriculum development. In other words, they are not accountable to YOU! Charter schools are able to pack up and leave at any time. We have to ask ourselves, “Why don’t corporations and nonprofits invest in neighborhood public schools and more importantly invest in our kids?” Neighborhood public schools, when robustly invested in, can be the change agents for our most marginalized students. I will work to recover and safeguard neighborhood schools and curb charter school expansion. Not one more neighborhood school closure!

Investing in Our Teachers As many as 3,000 new teachers are needed to fill existing openings in Colorado schools while the graduation rates of teachers have declined by 24.4 percent. We have a huge challenge ahead of us in hiring, recruiting, and retaining more teachers. I plan to collaborate with teachers to create a multi-faceted teaching evaluation system that is not based on test scores. The School Performance Framework, SPF accountability system was put at the forefront by the Denver School District and this reform has been a dismal failure to our teachers and to our students. I am committed to finding a different tool by which to assess our schools and teachers that do take into account the socioeconomic level of the school population.

Teachers as Professionals: •Teachers need the freedom to teach and serve students free of district overreach. •The district should pay teachers like the professionals they are. •The district needs to invest in strategies to recruit, train, and retain great teachers. •We should strengthen the teacher leadership program within Denver Public Schools – it will extend the reach of our best teachers.

Diversity is our Strength Our schools need to be a safe place to learn so that students can thrive and take advantage of all the opportunities that come with a quality education. Students cannot learn when their race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, religion, ability, citizen status, and sexual orientation are the source for divisiveness and the creation of a hostile learning environment. I will support measures to create sanctuary schools and policies that celebrate our diverse student body.

Stable and Quality Schools for all Students: •Every student deserves the opportunity to attend high quality, accountable public schools regardless of governance type or model: charter, magnet, innovation or traditional. •As a district, we need to support and invest in our schools and ensure every neighborhood has great schools for families to choose from. Families should not have to send their child across town to find a seat in a great school. •Closing schools takes a toll on students, families, teachers, and communities. No one wants our children in unsuccessful schools, however, the district should be using proactive interventions to prevent school closures and improve our schools. •Schools should work for communities and students, not the other way around. Parents are our strongest partners in the work of education and should be respected as such. •Schools should be open and welcoming community centers. Parents and neighbors should be able to convene for community needs and address their shared issues.

(Pre)School to Prison Pipelines Discriminatory practices in discipline from preschool to high school has led to black students being expelled or suspended at a rate of three to one, compared to white students. Most schools have a police officer present in their buildings, so school altercations can lead to the real-world consequences of arrests and the criminalization of our black youth. Change requires us to embrace uncomfortable truth—zero tolerance policies in schools are part of the problem.

Lunch Program We need to improve our lunch program in Denver Public Schools so that all students have the sufficient nutrients they deserve. I will continue to travel the district, listening to our students to hear and to address their concerns. As a Denver School Board member, I will bring a new lunch plan before the board to spark a discussion for placing quality student lunches as a priority.Y

Transparent and Accountable Decision Making: •We need more parents and teachers- not only District partners and policy leaders - on district task forces that make decisions for schools. •The superintendent should convene a teacher advisory board that provides advice and feedback on key district decisions. •Community forums should be a regular occurrence. Forums can be used to gather input on key ideas and policies the district is proposing before implementation. •We must invest in digital transparency and accountability systems and share them with parents and communities. Denver citizens deserve to always know how well district promises are being kept and how our tax dollars are being spent.

Editor’s note: For more information go to

College and Career Readiness, Access, and Completion: •Readiness for college and careers starts with a great foundation of early childhood learning and early literacy. Together with other providers of early childhood education, DPS must ensure we have enough space in every neighborhood so all kids start kindergarten with a solid foundation. •In the older grades, we should invest and expand programs we know work to prepare and excite our students about college and careers: concurrent enrollment courses, Career Connect programs, and vocational and apprenticeship partnerships. •Denver should uplift and invest in college enrollment and completion programs like Denver Urban Scholars, College Track, and Denver Scholarship Foundation.Y

Jennifer Bacon

I’m not a politician; I’m a former teacher, school administrator, and community organizer. As your school board member, I pledge to bridge the

Editor’s note: For more information visit

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



When Should I Worry About Memory Loss?

As we age, memories can become more elusive. We compensate. Lists

on the refrigerator. Reminders to ourselves. Sticky notes all over. But what happens when memory loss begins to disrupt our daily lives? When we have difficulty completing familiar tasks? When we have trouble retracing our steps? Where can you turn for knowledgeable and confidential counsel, and emotional support, on what lies ahead? That’s where the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado can help. The Association and its 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900) are the best source for confidential information from professional counselors trained to help with questions about memory loss and what steps individuals – or family members – can take to determine if the issue could be related to dementia or another, more routine cause. “There are a number of factors that could play a role in memory loss, ranging from nutritional deficiencies, stress and changes in medications to severe events such as a stroke,” said Danelle Hubbard, director of Family Services for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. “All memory loss isn’t necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, so we always recommend that people speak with their family doctor.” The counselors on the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline can field questions in more than 200 languages, and can direct callers to resources in their community. If, ultimately, the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, Helpline staff can provide connections to an extensive network of services and information resources available that can help families.

Alzheimer’s Association services While the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association are provided at no charge to persons with Alzheimer’s and their families, they are invaluable for those in need of support. Information and services that can be accessed through the toll-free Helpline include: •10 signs for early detection of Alzheimer’s •Getting a diagnosis and referrals to diagnostic clinicians •Understanding symptoms and progression of the different types of dementia •Information about treatment options •Referrals to clinical studies through the Association’s TrialMatch® program •Local programming for people with early stage memory loss •Setting up a confidential care consultation in our offices or by phone with trained Alzheimer’s Association staff •Referrals to local community programs and services •Guidance on how to enhance communication and respond to behavioral changes

•Referrals to support groups and message boards where other families discuss their challenges and possible solutions •Legal, financial and living-arrangement considerations •Provide research information in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement •Referrals to in-person and online education programs for caregivers about a variety of topics related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias •Help in a caller’s preferred language using our translation service that features more than 200 languages and dialects More than 69,000 Coloradoans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, a total projected to soar 33 percent to 92,000 by 2025. Those individuals are supported by nearly a quarter of a million volunteer caregivers. Of those affected by dementia, nearly two-thirds are women. AfricanAmericans are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed, and Hispanics are 50 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis than whites.Y About the Alzheimer’s Association The Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter is the premier source of information and support for the more than 69,000 Coloradans with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers. Through its statewide network of offices, the Alzheimer’s Association offers education, counseling, support groups and a 24-hour Helpline at no charge to families. In addition, contributions help fund advancements in research to prevent, treat and eventually conquer this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families on related legislative issues, and with health and long-term care providers. For information call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 bilingual Helpline at 800-272-3900, or visit

African Americans and Latinos at High Risk for Kidney Disease

In the U.S. there are 26 million people living with kidney disease, and

By Neshiyqah Nash

many more are at risk. These risks can include race, age, diabetes, hypertension, and family history. For example, according to the National Kidney Foundation website, Blacks and African Americans are three times more likely to experience kidney failure and Hispanics 1.5 times more likely than their Caucasian counterparts. The statistics behind kidney disease can be daunting as kidney failure is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Remarkably, many do not know they are at risk. Most of the time kidney disease has no symptoms until it reaches advanced stages. In too many cases, patients are at the point of kidney failure before the disease is recognized and treatment can start. Because of this, preventative

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



care is key. It is important to see a doctor regularly and ask for a blood or urine test to check your kidney functionality. Also, it is important to understand your risks. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of kidney disease in your family you should see your doctor at least yearly and ask how you can keep your kidneys healthy. If you have kidney disease your doctor might refer you to a nephrologist or kidney specialist who will monitor and manage your care. If you are not at risk for kidney disease it is still recommended to understand what your kidneys do and how you can care for them. It might be as easy as a healthy diet, drinking more water, following an exercise regimen, and avoiding chronic use of certain medications. You can learn more about your kidneys at What if you have kidney failure? Kidney Transplant is the best treatment available for most people diagnosed with kidney failure. Kidney doctors and kidney transplant specialists can help determine if transplant is a good option for patients with kidney disease. If kidney transplant is indicated, living kidney donation is hailed as the optimal option because it can eliminate much of the waiting time and yield better outcomes. For instance, kidneys transplanted from a living donor usually function quicker following transplant, and on average these kidneys function longer. Many people are willing to donate their organs in the event of their death; however, few realize they could possibly be a living kidney donor. The general public is often surprised to learn that it is possible to live a healthy life with one functioning kidney. With nearly 100,000 people on the transplant waiting list, and a third of them waiting for a kidney; the supply doesn’t meet the demand. To successfully treat more people with kidney failure; living donation is considered the ideal plan of action. As a regional leader in organ transplantation the UCHealth Transplant Department evaluates hundreds of patients to determine if they can benefit from kidney transplantation. The UCHealth Transplant Center also performs more transplants that any other hospital in the region. If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease and would like to discuss your options, please contact the UCHealth Transplant Center at 720-848-2269. If you would like to learn more about living donation please visit our website at

Editor’s note: Neshiyqah Nash has worked in the Living Donor Department at the University of Colorado Hospital for almost 10 years. A native of Colorado, she is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Denver with Majors in both French and Biology.

Saturday Pop-Up Market


By Donna Garnett

op-up events – pop-up parks, pop-up playgrounds, pop-up markets – are all the rage this year in communities across the country! Montbello is no exception. To the surprise of residents at the Albrook Apartments across from the former Montbello Park and Ride, the morning of August 26 dawned with a flurry of volunteers setting up canopies and displaying food items. In the span of an hour, an open air low cost grocery store “popped up” where residents once connected to RTD bus routes. Family Tree Market and Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) launched a pilot project to bring fresh produce and low-cost groceries to Montbello residents. Curious residents ventured into the market and began to wander through displays of fresh-picked lettuces, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, all grown locally at the Montbello Urban Farm at 4879 Crown Boulevard. Other areas of the market featured fresh fruit, nongmo bread, organic snacks and cereals, fresh mozzarella cheese, frozen fruit, and vegetables. Future market days will include meat and dairy products. All products ranged in price from $1 to $2. Shoppers were pleasantly surprised at what they could buy for $5, $10, or $20. More than one resident asked, “how can you do this?” “Why are you doing this?” The pilot is an effort to assess the level of interest among residents to have access to fresh produce and healthy food options. Ultimately, the purpose is to address the “food desert” issue in the community and to complement other local efforts to distribute food at low or no cost.

Montbello family buys groceries at the Family Tree Saturday Market.

As for the how, Family Tree Food Market is the vendor for the Summer Market. Family Tree is a public-private venture aimed at increasing healthy lifestyles for everyone. Owner and operator, Khalid Morris, points out, “Family Tree Market is a shift in the way we view grocery stores and their role in the fight against obesity, chronic disease, and premature death.” He adds, “we seek to fill the gap in food desert communities by increasing access to healthy foods in at affordable prices while providing nutritional education and physical fitness.” Family Tree Market works locally to secure high-quality local and oversupplied food from trusted food growers and manufacturers, wholesalers, and grocery distributors. In turn, these foods are donated or sold at very low cost to local nonprofits. That is where MOC comes in as the nonprofit partner in this venture. As the morning transformed into afternoon, most of the fresh produce was gone and the ninety-degree weather became a deterrent to shoppers lingering over food choices. Stragglers noted that they would show up early next week to ensure they have more choices - especially in the produce area. While groceries are the focus of the Summer Market, there are also activities for children, gardening experiences, and visitors can even sit in the game area and play a game of checkers or cards. As the word spreads and the market grows, street performers, artisans, and community nonprofits are invited to set up information tables. To participate, contact Terry at

Editor’s note: The Saturday Market will run on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September at the old RTD location near the intersection of Albrook and Peoria Streets.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



BeHeard Mile High Asks Montbello’s Help to Inform Policy, Practice, and Programming

By Wivine Ngongo, MPH Too many times, African Americans’ needs and interests have gone unheard in community-level decision-making. Montbello’s (and other elected officials) may not hear us, and that means they don’t create the healthy and equitable communities we want and deserve. That’s what BeHeard Mile High is all about. BeHeard is a new project from The Center for African American Health that is devoted to gathering the wisdom and knowledge of Metro Denver’s African American residents. Our unified voice will be used to build healthier communities and to influence social justice. We aim to get our agenda on the city’s priority list. The fact is we don’t have current and trustworthy data on a range of issues affecting our families and community. That means we don’t get the power we need. By simply responding to short surveys throughout the year, every African American resident will have an easy and important opportunity to help build a healthier and more equitable state. We need your opinion, your vision, and your thoughts! Add your voice so we can all be heard at! The BeHeard Mile High team is working with leaders in communities such as Green Valley Ranch, Montbello, and Five Points. In those neighborhoods and across the metro area, the project will gather data that reflects our collective understanding of what the communities need to be happy and healthy. BeHeard will then collaborate with key decision-makers to help inform policy, practice, and programming. Here’s how it works: Hundreds of African Americans and other Metro area residents will take voluntary, brief, and confidential surveys via phone or computer throughout the year. BeHeard will capture and analyze those responses. Please join us! You can make a difference and you can raise the volume of our voices by filing out confidential surveys with just a few questions. Go to and find out more or sign-up. You’ll be joining hundreds of others who, like you, want to make our communities even better places to raise our families. BeHeard is reaching out to the 120,000 metro area African Americans. The BeHeard Mile High Street Team — young adults of color — helps to enroll participants everywhere folks gather and get information. BeHeard is at local African American events like Juneteenth and the Black Arts Festival, on Facebook, in our faith communities, at barber/beauty shops, at concerts and more. To join BeHeard, potential panel members are asked to complete an enrollment survey, asking about basics like your age and neighborhood. Once enrolled, you will be contacted through email or text to complete “micro surveys” with fewer than 10 questions, on topics related to healthy foods, housing, access to healthcare providers/facilities, neighborhood cohesion, and mental health. BeHeard is committed to providing updated information to keep African American communities informed through We’ll report what the findings might mean and how they will be put into action. BeHeard is also collaborating with the Thriving Colorado Dashboard of the North Colorado Health Alliance, a statewide project that will share BeHeard’s results with agencies and organizations. BeHeard Mile High is funded by a generous grant from The Colorado Health Foundation and is led by a Community Advisory Board. Join BeHeard Mile High today at! Everyone in the Metro Denver area, 18 and over is eligible to join. We need your voices, opinions, and wisdom to better our community and make Metro Denver an equitable place to live and thrive.Y Editor’s note: Wivine Ngongo is Panel Manager for BeHeard Mile High. MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


Activating The Community Through Volunteerism


Tips for Volunteering

By Chris Martinez Volunteer – to offer, as one’s services or self, for some duty or purpose. A community on the move is one that has volunteers who are willing to give their time and/or talents. A study by the Denver Foundation several years ago found that nearly 74% of Denver citizens volunteered some amount of time. Montbello has many volunteers that do just that. But since we are such a huge community it is one that is always looking for more volunteers to move this community to the next level. Our community is always in need of volunteers and there are plenty of places where folks can volunteer. Many provide this service within their church, schools, civic organizations, food pantries, civic organizations or just on their own block by helping a neighbor. These activities do have one thing in common, they are helping others. Of course, we would like to make Montbello an even better place to live and play and we can do that by having more volunteers in our community. If you have been thinking about doing some volunteer work but just don’t know where to get started, here are some ideas. Churches in the community are always looking for folks to help with either the Sunday services, youth programs, food pantries and/or other activities. Schools and libraries are other wonderful public spaces to offer your services. Every one of these institutions in our neighborhood is always looking for volunteers. Some may be ongoing while other needs are for special projects. Either way it is always great to connect with the youth in our community. Civic Organizations are always in need of volunteers who want to improve our community, help on special events, get the word out on issues that affect Montbello; work on safety and/or health issues there is civic organization here to meet that need. Here are some of the civic organizations: Montbello Organizing Committee, Montbello 20/20, Northern Corridor, Far Northeast Neighbors, District 5 Police Advisory Council, Families Against Violence F.A.V.E, among others. These organizations are always in need of volunteers. Join and help get the word out to the neighbors or assist with the planning of a community event. Every group is always in need of volunteers, sometimes it is as easy asking a friend, colleague or someone at the beauty or barber shop. Especially if you have a specialty you like to share; accountants, lawyers, organizer, event planners which are always in need. Another example, if you are a writer, have you thought about sharing your skill with the MUSE. What is always needed are just folks who are willing to give of their time to Montbello, to make it a better place to live.Y

•Many people donate and volunteer within their own families. Think about what you most enjoy doing to help your family and use that as a starting point to explore other interests. •Determine your motivations and goals for volunteering. Why do you want to volunteer? Motivations and goals can include meeting new people, gaining work skills and experience, or simply giving back to the community. •Identify skills and talents that you can bring as a volunteer. Are you most interested in volunteering directly with people, in a back office, at a special event, or in another way? •Choose an issue you care about. Are you interested in arts, youth development, health, homelessness, education, etc.? If so, there are many nonprofits in the Metro Denver area that work in various areas of interest. Contact Metro Volunteers to find out how you connect with a nonprofit or support an issue that’s important to you. •Research nonprofit organizations doing good work in your areas of interest. Visit the Colorado Nonprofit Association website at, or The Denver Foundation’s website at Organizations that have received dollars from The Denver Foundation’s Community Grants Program have undergone rigorous review for quality of service and efficiency. •Consider how much time you have to volunteer. Is it a couple of hours a month or can you only help on weekends? Whatever it is, nonprofits appreciate any help you can give. Ask potential nonprofits what expectations they have of you as a volunteer. Ask how your volunteer time will help the nonprofit achieve its mission? •Make it a social outing. Volunteer with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors.

Editor’s note: Reference: The Denver

Editor’s note: Chris Martinez is the current chairperson of the Montbello Organizing Committee.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017




District 11 Hosts Second Annual Senior and Youth High Tea By Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore


ver 80 participants gathered at the Montbello Recreation Center to celebrate community on Saturday, August 5 for the second Annual Senior and Youth High Tea. Residents enjoyed a spread of pastries, fruit, tea, and coffee while visiting, telling stories, and catching up on life experiences. It was a successful event where community members could bond with folks they have known for more than 20 years or were just meeting for the first time. We continued the tradition of the “ice-breaking” game with some trivia, asking questions centered on the City of Denver and specifically District 11. We got great feedback on how this interactive game sparked conversation in a fun and relaxed way around each of the tables. Tickets from the Denver Zoo and Denver Botanic Garden were awarded to the two tables that tied for first. There was also a raffle giveaway of Southwest Airlines gift cards and family passes to Denver attractions. The District 11 office started the Senior and Youth High Tea in 2016 as part of the Mayor’s Denver Days Initiative to provide events specially catered to our community seniors and youth. I will continue to host this event annually to bring our youth and seniors together, and bridge the gap between these two groups. Our seniors are the backbone of the community, and our youth are the next generation to inherit our neighborhoods. By building an understanding for the history of where we live, we develop a deeper appreciation for those places and the people who lead the way. I am honored to be surrounded by residents who are supportive and enthusiastic about our community. I look forward to the growth of this Annual Senior and Youth High Tea, and hopefully I will see you there next year! As always, contact me at or call 720-3377711 if you need to reach me.Y

MOC Connecting Montbello Businesses to Growth Opportunities By Angelle C. Fouther

Montbello Organizing Committee’s (MOC) Retail and Economic

Development Task Team (RED Team) began a partnership with the Denver Retail Sector Initiative earlier this year. The Initiative, which is funded by Chicago-Cook Partnership and the Walmart Foundation, and administered through the Denver Office of Economic Development, works to strengthen the public workforce system’s retail sector focus and to improve the perception of careers in retail with a two-year goal of training over 350 individuals for careers in retail. The program heavily targets young professionals between the ages of 16 to 24. In July, MOC’s Red Team convened a group of Montbello business owners to learn of the benefits of the program. Program directors, Yohannes Mengistu and Shonta Trotman, shared offerings which include Work Based Learning Opportunities, such as On-the-Job Training (OJT). For businesses that hire an individual who meets the basic qualifications but who needs time on the job to develop certain skills necessary for the position, Denver Workforce Services will subsidize a portion of the employee’s wages during that training period. They also offer Incumbent Worker Training, occupation or industry-specific training for current employees designed to augment skills, and Work Experience, which allows individuals to become exposed to the workplace environment in a variety of retail related occupations and subsectors. Work Experience opportunities are fully subsidized at 100 percent. For those who need help before entering the workforce or training in a particular field, the program offers Education Based Training Opportunities such as Customized Job Readiness Training (JRT) and Training programs with a variety of industry-recognized certificates. Montbello business owners Joy and Evis Robinson, owners of Elegant Catering, were excited to gather with other small businesses in the neighborhood and learn of common needs and opportunities. “It’s so good to meet other business owners working right here in Montbello and to know there are these kind of services being offered,” said Joy Robinson. “We work with a lot young people that just need a chance. That’s what we are all about, giving them a chance and some training to grow in the hospitality and catering field.” MOC’s goal is to connect more Montbello retail businesses with the program and to connect residents with job opportunities that are created.Y

Editor’s note: For more information about the program or Montbello economic development opportunities, email Angelle Fouther, chair of Retail and Economic Development Task Team, MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017



Montbello Students and Others Gaze at Solar Eclipse

Where were you around midday on August 21, 2017? Most likely you were doing what several million other Americans were doing – watching the solar eclipse. That is what many Montbello students and adults were doing. The monumental happening could be seen in Denver as a partial eclipse and could be seen within driving distance as a total eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about every 18 months but it has been 38 years since the last total solar eclipse passed through the United States, and 99 years since the last coast-to-coast eclipse. The next total eclipse to be seen in Colorado is not until 2024. This was truly an event that most Coloradoans did not want to miss. Across the neighborhood, people were standing outside staring upward looking through some funky little paper glasses (that they no doubt stood in line to get at the local Grease Monkey). Students from ECE through high school suspended their studies for at least a few minutes to go outside to see the eclipse. Some students wore their paper glasses while others used cardboard boxes transformed into pinhole projectors to protect their eyes. Here are just a few shots of students watching the eclipse during the magical moments when the moon blocked the sun’s rays from the earth.Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - September/October 2017


September/October 2017 Sept. 6 - 6 to 8 p.m. - Identificando su red de cuidado,

AARP/Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Holiday Inn - 12140 E 45th Ave in Denver For more information, call Daniela Young at 303-398-7447 or email

Sept. 7 - 4 to 6 p.m. - Reunion Mensual, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Village at Gateway Apartments – 12175 Albrook Ave. in Denver For more information, call Aurelio Avalos at 720-439-1267 or email

Sept. 9 - 10 a.m. to Noon - Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, Green Valley Ranch Library For more information, call Magen Elenz at 720-337-7711 or email

Sept. 9 - 11 a.m. - NAACP Denver Branch, Monthly Meeting, New Hope Baptist Church, 28th and Colorado

Sept. 12 - 6:30 to 8 p.m. - MOC Retail Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee, United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. in Denver For more information, email

Sept. 13 - 6 to 7:30 p.m. - MOC Community Enhancement Task Team, Montbello Alive! Planning, Montbello Organizing Committee, Academy 360 12000 East 47th Ave. in Denver For more information, email

Sept. 13 - 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - FNE Neighborhood Planning Initiative, Public Meeting, Maxwell Elementary 14390 Bolling Dr. in Denver For more information, call Magen Elenz at 720-337-7711 or email

Sept. 13 - 9 to 10:30 a.m. - Cafecito, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Village at Gateway Apartments, 12175 Albrook Dr. in Denver For more information, call Aurelio Avalos at 720-439-1267 or email

September 18 - 1 to 3 p.m. : [English] CAREversations about caring for our loved ones 3:30-5:30 p.m. : [Spanish] Conversaciones sobre el cuidado de nuestros ser queridos de la tercera edad AARP/Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Village at Gateway Apartments – 12175 Albrook Dr. in Denver For more information, call Daniela Young at 303-398-7447 or email

Sept. 18 - 6 to 7:30 p.m. - MOC Transportation Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee, Academy 360 12000 East 47th Ave. in Denver For more information, email

Sept. 25 - 6 to 8 p.m. - FNE Education Commission, Evie Dennis Campus For information, call Kiera Jackson at 720-423-3127 or email

Sept. 28 - 10 a.m. to Noon - Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore, Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office For more information, call Magen Elenz at 720-337-7711 or email

Oct. 5 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. - Montbello 20/20 Community Meeting, Montbello Recreation Center, 4685 Peoria St. in Denver For more information, email

Oct. 5 – 4 to 7:30 p.m. - Reunion Mensual, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Village at Gateway Apartments – 12175 Albrook in Denver For more information, call Aurelio Avalos at 720-439-1267 or email

Oct. 10 – 6:30 to 8 p.m. - MOC Retail Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee, United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. in Denver For more information, email

Oct. 11 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. - MOC Community Engagement Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee, Academy 360 12000 East 47th Ave. in Denver For more information, email

Oct. 11 – 9 to 10:30 a.m. - Cafecito, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado/Conectoras de Montbello, Village at Gateway Apartments – 12175 Albrook Dr. in Denver For more information, call Aurelio Avalos at 720-439-1267 or email

Oct. 14 – 10 a.m. to Noon - Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, Green Valley Ranch Library. For more information, call Magen Elenz at 720-337-7711 or email

Oct. 14 – 11 a.m. - NAACP Denver Branch Monthly Meeting, New Hope Baptist Church, 28th and Colorado

Oct. 16 – 6 to 7:30 p.m. - MOC Transportation Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee, Academy 360 12000 East 47th Ave. in Denver For more information, email

Oct. 25 – 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Caregiver Resource Fair/ Feria de Recursos para Cuidadores, AARP, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Arvada, CO 80003 For more information, call Daniela Young at 303-398-7447 or email

Oct. 26 – 10 a.m. to Noon - Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore, Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office For more information, call Magen Elenz at 720-337-7711 or email

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


MUSE September/October 2017  

The theme of this month’s MUSE, Montbello Alive! – Activating Our Community, highlights the many ways in which the residents and leaders in...

MUSE September/October 2017  

The theme of this month’s MUSE, Montbello Alive! – Activating Our Community, highlights the many ways in which the residents and leaders in...