Page 1

muse Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition • Volume 1 Number 3 • January/February 2017

“Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempesttost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



Inside This Issue

Happenings in Montbello...4 & 5 Montbello Business Beat...7 Voices from the Neighborhood...8 & 9 Montbello in the News...10, 11 & 12 Youth On The Move…13 Nonprofits Making A Difference...14 Kudos and WooHoos!...15

Future of


O p p o r t u n i t i e s .......2

Emma Lazarus, November 2, 1883

Writing Happy Endings for Over 25 Years When the time is right for that next big move in your life, trust the team that has been serving Coloradans for over 25 years.

Do you want to know what your home is worth in today’s thriving Denver market?

Call the Huff Team right now!


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Welcome to 2017. Like most of you, I was weary of the old year and am happy to start a new chapter of our collective lives as an entire year rolls out before us. The fall issue of the MUSE focused on voicing our values through our participation in the democratic process. This winter issue is a call to action. Throughout the newspaper, you will read of many action-oriented initiatives underway in Montbello. Take a few moments to commit yourself to one or more of these efforts. Make a personal dedication to action. See page 2 if you need some ideas. For me, I am making a personal commitment to spread the word about organ donation. My eyes were opened to the critical need for people to register as an organ donor when I reviewed my daughter’s final college paper last week. Today, 2000 people in Colorado are waiting for a lifesaving organ donation. Only a fraction of that number will get that donation in time. The need for commitments from people of color is especially critical. Nationally, 10 percent of all donors are African American, yet more than 30 percent of people on the waiting list and 34 percent of patients awaiting kidney transplants are African American. Nationally, 13 percent of all donors are Latino while more than 18 percent of people on the waiting list and 16 percent of patients awaiting kidney transplants are Latino. Acceptance of organs from donor to recipient is not related to race, the chances of a successful match are increased when there is compatibility within certain ethnicities. There are many myths about organ donation that prevent folks from taking the simple step of registering, but you can learn the facts and register by going to Keep in mind that you can be an organ donor upon your death, but you might also consider being a living donor should a family member or friend be in need. If you decide to register as a donor through the state registry or when you renew your driver’s license, do take the time to discuss your decision with your family. I hope you will make 2017 your year for action. In the words of William James, “act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” Donna M. Garnett Managing Editor

Editor’s note: The MUSE welcomes your ideas, concerns, comments. Contact us at with those.


Election Reflections

Editor: The outcome of the 2016 presidential race will be remembered by many as a troubling turn of events in our nation’s history. The election of Donald Trump as our 45th President – especially in contrast to President Barack Obama’s historic tenure in the Oval Office – is a dramatic outcome full of important lessons. What is crystal clear, nationally and here in Colorado, is that the masses on both sides of the political aisle were raising their voices, expressing their dissatisfaction, and demanding change. However, unlike the divisiveness on the national stage, I’m grateful for the way in which the Colorado House District 7 race played out. There were several remarkably talented and dedicated candidates, all of them willing to put public service above personal convenience. The candidates had rigorous but respectful debates about important issues. We all worked hard to introduce ourselves all across the district – in Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Stapleton, Park Hill, Parkfield, Gateway and throughout northeast Denver. It was a competition among good people, all genuinely determined to work hard for their neighbors and fellow citizens. By a slim margin, the people of District 7 elected me to serve in the Colorado House of Representatives. It is a great privilege and an even greater responsibility. During the campaign, I listened and took notes when knocking on doors and talking with people about what is working and what is not. These notes now form my legislative agenda: excellent education, a strong economy, job opportunities, and safe neighborhoods.

PUBLISHER - Rosalind J. Harris MANAGING EDITOR - Donna Garnett

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - Rep. James Coleman, Angelle Fouther, Donna Garnett, Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, Chris Martinez, Nathifa Miller ART DIRECTOR - Bee Harris ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT - Melovy Melvin

I’m taking with me to the state capitol the constructive input I’ve received. I want to ensure our public policies are helping to make life in northeast Denver, and across the state, better for everyone. For me, this means continuing to seek input from the community, being accessible, partnering with fellow Democrats to advance sound policies, and reaching across the aisle to work with Republicans on bipartisan bills that are good for Colorado. I’m looking forward to serving on the House Local Government and Business Affairs and Labor Committees. In addition, I will proudly serve in the eight-member Black Legislative Caucus, and, no matter what issues arise, every vote I cast on the House floor will be a reflection of my values and those of my constituents. Finally, I will continue to reach out to district residents through this publication, as well as community meetings, social media, and my website, where we will keep the conversations going and support one another’s success.

James Coleman State Representative House District 7 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 - January/February 2017


Montbello – Issues And Opportunities

“A Call To Action” By Donna Garnett, M.S.

Perhaps you are wondering whether the MUSE editorial committee was confused about the calendar. Why else would the MUSE cover for this issue feature the Statue of Liberty and the poetic words of Emma Lazarus from 1883? What does the Statue of Liberty have to do with issues and opportunities in Montbello? Independence Day is not the only time that we need to focus on the foundation of our country and our community – diversity. Our values of equality, inclusion, and compassion are the baseline upon which diversity depends. Many express fear at what the soon-to-be new federal Administration will bring for those most vulnerable in our diverse community. Threats lobbed during the election season loom before us. Will those fizzle out or will they erupt in a disastrous explosion of destruction sending virtual shrapnel through communities across the nation – including ours? As residents in the City and County of Denver we can find assurance and comfort in the commitments from our elected and appointed officials. Robin Kniech, Denver City Council At-Large recently captured those sentiments in a letter to residents across the City. In her letter, she reiterated that Mayor Hancock, City Council, and the police department stand by the following: •Racism will not be tolerated. •Violence against women will not be tolerated. •Residents of all religions, or no religion, are welcome here in Denver. •The city does not enforce immigration laws (in the words of the Mayor, the city upholds the laws but will not go beyond those laws regardless of directives from the federal government or threats to pull federal funding from “sanctuary cities”). •Marriage equality is still the law of the land and we have strong laws in Denver and Colorado that will continue to be enforced and expanded where needed. As may be seen throughout this MUSE issue, Montbello is a community in which opportunities abound. Rather than making a resolution for 2017 that will be lost in a few weeks, make a resolution to heed the Call To Action to activate those opportunities to make Montbello an even better place to live, work, play, and worship. Certainly, the future is cloudy at the moment and our Montbello community waits with anticipation to see that future. Yet, despite the rhetoric of candidates and the fierce and divisive election we have all endured, we remain a democracy where every voice has the right to be heard and where the people we elected are bound to listen. Following are 9

Action Steps that citizens can take to ensure that the legacy gifted to us through the Statue of Liberty is upheld. More information regarding each of these action steps can be found in the subsequent pages of this publication. 1. Regularly communicate with your elected officials – City Council, the Mayor, your state Legislators, your RTD representative, your Congressman, your President – to let them know of your concerns and to get information. 2. Express your views and ideas by writing letters to editors of major newspapers and community newspapers (including the

MUSE and the Denver Urban Spectrum). 3. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, The Urban Farm at Montbello, Families Forward, the Montbello Food Pantry, your church, your child’s school or any other nonprofit in the community. 4. Participate in one or more of the Registered Neighborhood Organizations (RNOs) and tackle issues such as affordable housing, jobs, education, and health and wellness. 5. Join one of the Task Teams initiated by Montbello Organizing Committee that serve as a catalyst for economic development, food security, community enhancement, and reliable transportation in and out and within the community. 6. Visit a Shop Talk Live dialogue at Montbello Barbers and converse about how we can combat racism and oppression at the neighborhood level. 7. Attend upcoming meetings to give input regarding the Montbello Neighborhood Plan intended to guide the community’s future for the next several decades. 8. Patronize the small business owners who actually live in Montbello and give back to the community. 9. Eat healthier, exercise more frequently, spend time with your family, reach out to someone who is homebound, and express your love and gratefulness to those around you. The Statue of Liberty is not an enigma, she is not some mystery nor are the ideals symbolized obscure. Those ideals are simple, straightforward, and empowering. In answer to the questions posed a few paragraphs ago, “No, we weren’t confused about the calendar.” We just thought it bears being reminded that Lady Liberty lights our path to opportunity, democracy, human rights and peace. An important reminder as we embark on 2017.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017


Montbello - Problemas Y Oportunidades

“Una Llamada A La Ac ción” Por Donna Garnett, M.S.

Tal vez usted se pregunta si el comité editorial del MUSE estaba confundido sobre el calendario. ¿Por cual otra razón seria que la portada de la revista del MUSE para esta edición presenta la Estatua de Libertad y las palabras poéticas de Emma Lazarus a partir de 1883? ¿Qué tiene que ver la Estatua de Libertad con problemas y oportunidades en Montbello? El Día de la Independencia no es el único tiempo que nos tenemos que enfocar en la fundación de nuestro país y nuestra comunidad – diversidad. Nuestros valores de igualdad, inclusión y compasión son la línea de fondo de la cual la diversidad depende. Muchos expresan miedo de lo que la nueva Administración federal del futuro traerá para los más vulnerables en nuestra comunidad diversa. Las amenazas que lanzaron durante la temporada electoral del telar se ciernen ante nosotros. ¿Quedarán en nada aquellos o harán una erupción en una explosión desastrosa de la destrucción enviando una metralla virtual a través de las comunidades de toda la nación incluyendo el nuestro? Como residentes en la Ciudad y el Condado de Denver podemos encontrar el aseguramiento y la comodidad en los compromisos de nuestros funcionarios elegidos y designados. Robin Kniech, el Ayuntamiento de Denver, recientemente capturó aquellos sentimientos en una carta a residentes a través de la ciudad. En su carta, ella reiteró que el Alcalde Hancock, el Ayuntamiento, y el Departamento de Policía apoyan lo siguiente: •El racismo no será tolerado. •La violencia contra mujeres no será tolerada. •Los residentes de todas las religiones o ninguna religión, son bienvenidos aquí en Denver. •La ciudad no hace cumplir leyes de inmigración (en las palabras del Alcalde, la ciudad sostiene las leyes, pero no irá más allá de aquellas leyes sin tener en cuenta directivas del gobierno federal o amenazas de tirar fondos federales de “ciudades del santuario”). •La igualdad de matrimonio todavía es la legislación del país y tenemos leyes fuertes en Denver y Colorado que se continuarán de aplicar y ampliar donde sea necesario. Como puede ser visto a través de esta edición del MUSE, Montbello es una comunidad en la cual las oportunidades son abundantes. En lugar de hacer una resolución para 2017 que se perderán en unas pocas semanas, haga una resolución para atender la Llamada a la Acción para activar esas oportunidades que harán de Montbello un lugar aún mejor para vivir, trabajar, jugar y adorar. Seguramente, el futuro está nublado en este momento y nuestra comunidad de Montbello espera con la anticipación de ver a ese futuro. Aún, a pesar de la retórica de candidatos y la elección feroz y

divisiva que hemos durado todos, permanecemos una democracia donde cada voz tiene el derecho para ser oído y donde la gente que elegimos está obligada a escuchar. Lo siguiente son 9 Medidas de Acción que los ciudadanos pueden tomar para asegurar que la herencia dotada a nosotros a través de la Estatua de la Libertad sea sostenida. Más información sobre cada uno de estos pasos de acción puede ser encontrada en las páginas subsecuentes de esta publicación. 1. Con regularidad, comuníquese con sus funcionarios electos – Ayuntamiento, el Alcalde, sus Legisladores estatales, su representante de RTD, su Congresista, su Presidente – para dejarles saber de sus preocupaciones y conseguir la información. 2. Escriba cartas a redactores de periódicos principales y periódicos de la comunidad (incluso a el MUSE) expresando sus opiniones e ideas. 3. Sea voluntario con Hábitat para Humanidad, La Granja Urbana en Montbello, Familias Adelante, la Despensa de la Comida Montbello, su iglesia, la escuela de su hijo o cualquier otra organización sin fines de lucro en la comunidad. 4. Participe en una o varias de las Organizaciones Certificadas de Vecinos (RNOs) y aborde temas como vivienda asequible, empleo, educación, salud y bienestar. 5. Afíliese a uno de los Equipos de la Tarea iniciados por la Comité Organizadora de Montbello que sirven de un catalizador para desarrollo económico, seguridad de la comida, realce de la comunidad y transporte confiable en y dentro de la comunidad. 6. Visite un diálogo de Conversación Viva en la Tienda en los Barberos de Montbello y conversar sobre cómo podemos combatir el racismo y la opresión en el vecindario. 7. Asista a las próximas reuniones para dar información sobre el Plan de Vecindad de Montbello destinado a guiar el futuro de la comunidad para las próximas décadas. 8. Frecuente a los dueños de negocios pequeños que realmente viven en Montbello y devuelven a la comunidad. 9. Coma más saludable, haga ejercicio con más frecuencia, pase el tiempo con su familia, tienda la mano a alguien que está cerrado en su casa, exprese su amor y agradecimiento a quienes le rodean. La Estatua de Libertad no es un enigma, ella no es un misterio ni son los ideales simbolizados obscuros. Esos ideales son simples, claros y empoderados. En respuesta a las preguntas planteadas hace unos cuantos párrafos, “No, no estábamos confundidos acerca del calendario.” Simplemente pensábamos que tiene que ser recordado que la Dama Libertad ilumina nuestro camino de oportunidades, la democracia, los derechos humanos y la paz. Un recordatorio importante a medida que nos embarcamos en 2017. 

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Connecting Employers and Potential Employees

Industries, WIN, Natural Remedies, Denver Workforce Initiative, and Smith and Seed. Participants could interview with one employer or up to all five. Liggins continued saying, “in the end five people were hired and others were invited to proceed with a longer process. Our committee couldn’t be happier. We accomplished what we set out to do – help people get jobs right in the community where they live.” The Transportation Task Team plans to continue offering these opportunities for residents who are looking for work. A major impediment for many people in the community is the limited transit options and the relatively high cost of RTD. If people can actually work in the community where they live, a major barrier is mitigated. Liggins said that the Transportation Task Team has already scheduled the first event for 2017. It will be on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 12000 East 47th Avenue. Participation will be limited so it will be important to register early. For more information, contact Terry Liggins at

Students Benefit from the Book Trust Program

On Saturday morning, Nov. 12, people who were looking for employment had a meet-up with local employers eager to hire for open positions. This was not your usual job fair. The hiring event was advertised as “Come on Saturday, Work on Monday!” According to Terry Liggins, co-planner of the event and chair of the Transportation Task Team for Montbello Organizing Committee, the premise of the event was that potential employees would come ready to begin the application and interview process. Participating employers came prepared to hire people on the spot pending completion of the necessary hiring steps. “We imagined something like a speed dating format applied to speed interviewing,” explained Liggins. “To make the most of the time allocated, we limited the number of participants.” Nineteen potential employees showed up dressed for success and with resumes in hand. Five Montbello-based employers participated in the event, including Goodwill

The Foundation for Education Excellence has funded the Book Trust program in Far Northeast Denver Elementary Schools since 2013. Book Trust is a national non-profit organization focused on literacy. The program empowers students from low income families to choose and own books, increasing their literacy skills, and fostering life-long learning. Essentially, students are able to order $7 worth of books from Scholastic Books each month for 10 months of the school year. Students get to pick their own books. The books often stay in the family and/or the neighborhood. Book Trust’s research shows that when students are able to choose a book that reflects their interest, even if it’s not quite their reading level, they are more likely to engage in reading. Teachers also gain points toward acquiring books to build their own classroom libraries. The number of grade levels at each school varies.

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 - January/February 2017



ested in trying your hand at writing about the good news affecting the community, please contact Managing Editor, Donna Garnett, at

Students Answer The Call To Action in Spirited Ways

Students at McGlone Elementary School enjoy listening to a book during last year’s Read-A-Thon.

There are a few schools that participate school-wide (grades K-5th) and there are some schools where only kindergarten and/or 1st grade participate. Originally, the goal was to ensure every kindergartener in FNE received Book Trust. This goal was surpassed long ago, and now even more students are able to receive free books each month. During the 2016-2017 schoolyear, Book Trust is serving more than 5,000 students in 11 elementary schools across the Far Northeast. This means that more than 125,000 books will be placed in the hands of kids who need them most. “Book Trust has been instrumental in our literacy growth – and we were the ‘top growth’ school for all Denver Public Schools on the PARCC literacy test last year!” reports Sara Gips Goodall, Principal at McGlone Elementary School Book Trust’s partnership with the Foundation for Educational Excellence in Far Northeast Denver has served as a model for the Book Trust’s growth as the program expands to new regions across the country. For more information on the Book Trust or to donate to the program, go to For information regarding Foundation for Educational Excellence, contact Amy Schwartz at

Students from Noel Community Arts School showed their commitment to the world community in several ways at the end of 2016. On December 5, students sat in unity with the water protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota. Through peaceful demonstration, the students expressed their support of members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as they protested the laying of the 1,172 mile Dakota Access Pipeline through the Reservation. Protestors blocked the project because of the threat of contamination of the major water source and because the route threatened sacred lands. Even though the Army Corps of Engineers had just denied a permit that would have allowed the pipeline to cross under a dammed section of the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the students felt that it was important to express their commitment to all oppressed people and to advocate for preservation of the environment. In an hour-long recognition after the school day, students expressed their values and commitments through poetry, speeches, chants, and moments of silence. In a “Vocal Music and Dance Day of Service” on December 14, 2016, the Montbellas and two of the Advanced Dance students spent an entire day giving back to the community through their art form. The students dressed in their holiday finery, visited the Sunrise Senior Living at Cherry Creek. From there the students performed at the Cherry Creek Mall, Union Station and 16th Street Mall, finishing the day at Children’s Hospital.

MOC Receives Grant From Young Latino Philanthropists

Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) recently received notification of grant funding from the Young Latino Philanthropists Initiative (YLP). The purpose of the grant is to ensure that Latino residents who are Spanish-only speakers and readers will be able to access more sections of the MUSE in Spanish. Currently, only the lead article is translated into Spanish and presented side-by-side with the English version. Ultimately, the goal is to have the entire paper available in Spanish. The Young Latino Philanthropists Initiative is under the auspices of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC). YLP was started by a group of Latino millennials who wanted to make a difference in the Latino community by collectively pooling financial resources. Using the “giving circle” concept, these young visionaries are helping to grow leadership and philanthropy in Colorado. All of the money raised goes to Latino organizations that are selected by the group. Their funding is focused on innovation projects that demonstrate originality in addressing community issues through new approaches and systems of program delivery. The MUSE is one element of a multi-pronged communication platform to share information throughout the Montbello community. The print version of the newspaper is distributed bimonthly to about 3000 residents and is also available online at For those who prefer to communicate via technology MOC also utilizes social media via the Montbello Organizing Committee Facebook Page and the website at The MUSE is always looking for contributors in the form of letters to the editor or Op-Ed submissions. We are also looking for writers who may submit ideas for one-time articles and/or ongoing columns. If you are inter-

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017


The Denver 100 hosts, “Mobilizing the Village”

January February 2017

A community discussion on access to quality public education featuring Dr. Steve Perry

January 4 - 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Steve Perry The 100 Black Men of Denver, Inc. (The 100) will be hosting a community conversation on access to quality public education at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library on Monday, January 23, 2017. This event is being held as part of the 100 Black Men of America’s Project SOAR (Student Opportunities, Access and Readiness) national campaign to engage and inform the public on tuition free or otherwise low cost options that serve to enrich the education of K 12 youth. You are sure to come out of this discussion with valuable and insightful information. As a special guest, The 100 will be hosting Dr. Steve Perry, a nationally renowned educator, speaker, author, social worker and advocate for academic excellence. Dr. Perry has been featured on the Steve Harvey Show, CNN’s Black in America series and is an education contributor to various national cable news outlets. His insight on increasing student performance by adjusting the approach to education is invaluable and proven in multiple major metropolitan urban communities across the country, with 100% of the students from his Capital Prep schools going on to 4 year colleges and universities, despite often having started off at an academic deficit with regards to perceived instructional readiness. The event is open to the public. Parents, students, educators, administrators, business professionals, mentors and their mentees are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion. The format will be interactive in nature, where the community is encouraged to engage and exchange dialogue with Dr. Perry and each other. Registration will begin at 5pm and a small reception with refreshments will be held, followed by the community conversation 6 7:45 p.m. This event will be professionally filmed and included in a documentary produced by The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. All participants will be required to consent to a photo/video release. The 100 Black Men of Denver, Inc. is a registered 501(c) 3 that provides mentorship to youth in the greater Denver metropolitan area. Founded in 1994 as a local chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., The Denver 100 has operated tutoring programs, supported competitive robotics programs, provided financial literacy training classes, and served as mentors to scores of youth, ensuring that the youth of our community have positive male examples of Black Men who are vested in their individual success.

MOC Community Enhancement Task Team United Church of Montbello, 4879 Crown Blvd. For more information, email

January 9 - 6:30 to 8 p.m.

MOC Retail Development Task Team United Church of Montbello, 4879 Crown Blvd. For more information, email

January 14 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Green Valley Ranch Library For more information (720) 337-7711

January 14 - 5 to 7 p.m.

Martin Luther King Signature Event Heritage Event Center, 14401 East Exposition Ave. Aurora For more information call 303-739-5080

January 16 - 6 to 7:30 p.m.

MOC Transportation Development Task Team 12000 East 47th Avenue For more information, email

January 26 - 5 to 7 p.m.

Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office For more information (720) 337-7711

February 1 - 6 to 7:30 p.m.

MOC Community Enhancement Task Team United Church of Montbello, 4879 Crown Blvd. For more information, email

February 6 - 6:30 to 8 p.m.

MOC Retail Development Task Team United Church of Montbello, 4879 Crown Blvd. For more information, email

February 11 - 9 a.m. to Noon

Montbello Hiring Event Academy 360 12000 East 47th Ave. For more information, email

February 11 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Green Valley Ranch Library For more information (720) 337-7711

February 20 - 6 to 7:30 p.m.

MOC Transportation Development Task Team 12000 East 47th Avenue For more information, email

February 23 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office For more information (720) 337-7711

If you have a Save The Date activity to be listed in the January/February issue of MUSE, send details to

Editor’s note: For more information, email Justin Brooks at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Montbello Barbers: More Than Grooming Hair

Sagere adds, “Greg has the business mind. His business sense and a good plan is what make this place successful.” Allen goes on to explain that the shop has always been a bonding place in the community. “It is diverse like the community – all are welcome here. We are like home, like a moment in time, people can be themselves here. Little boys can observe men. Single moms find role models for their children.” Historically, black barbershops have been instigators of change. Montbello Barbers continues that legacy serving as a catalyst for change within the community through Shop Talk Live. Once a month, Shop Talk Live meets at the shop to discuss a topic relevant to people of color. Topics have ranged from the impact of guns in the community to the meaning of African versus African-American to Black Lives Matter. The talk becomes action and leads to viable initiatives like the Black Business Initiative. Two other efforts sponsored by the barbershop are the Unity Picnic and the Montbello Falcons. The picnic started as a way of thanking the community for supporting the business. Now it is an annual event held the second Saturday of every August. The Montbello Falcons has been around for 50 years and Montbello Barbers has been a platform to rebuild the nonprofit youth organization. Like the shop, the Falcons almost died out, but with the passion and persistence of Sagere, Allen and many loyal supporters it was revitalized. The membership includes 97 boys between the ages of 6 and 13 years who play football. Thousands of men around the city trace their love of football back to the Montbello Falcons. Even a few notable stars got their start with the Falcons. T.J. Ward and Drew Davis are a couple that come to mind. Sagere and Allen point out that they remain good friends. “The mission and values drive us, the business, and our work in the community,” Allen concludes. The mission: to make the world better one haircut at a time. The values: do things the right way; improve the professional and personal lives of our barbers; have a positive impact on our community; partner with other small businesses in commerce and the exchange of information. Most importantly, the customer leaves looking like they just stepped off the cover of EBONY magazine. Montbello Barbers walks the talk.

By Donna Garnett

Standing on the outside Gregory Allen and Chuck Sagere looking in, it looks like any other barber shop with guys sitting in chairs, mothers waiting with little boys, and hair all over the floor. But step inside and you have just entered the energizing atmosphere of Montbello Barbers. The shop has been an institution in the community for almost three decades and is one of the oldest black owned barbershops in the Denver Metro area. From the start, it quickly became one of the premier barbershops in town, attracting the likes of several pro athletes as well as many career professionals who wanted a quality haircut. The original owners ran the shop for over twenty years but eventually sold the business. Even under new ownership, the barbershop continued to stay alive because of its rich history, reputation of good barbers, and loyalty from devoted customers. In 2008 the business began to struggle and many thought this would be the end to a very great run. The shop changed hands a couple more times but continued to go downhill. When it seemed to be on its last leg this historic place surprisingly took another breath. Four years ago, Gregory Allen and Chuck Sagere became the new co-owners. Together they have breathed new life into this neighborhood institution and with a conservative business plan the barbershop is once again thriving. Talking to the two owners, one gets a sense of the strength of the partnership and the source of their success. Sagere began cutting Allen’s hair in 2005. “He was my ‘therapist’ and we always talked about my career and what he would like to do with the shop.” When Sagere first asked Allen if he might take ownership of the barber shop, Allen’s answered a resounding, “No.” But, as time went on and it seemed that the legend might die, that answer became, “Yes.” Each gives the other credit for what makes Montbello Barbers strong. “Chuck is the heart and soul. He has been in Montbello for many years; he really cares about the community.”

Editor’s note: For more information, visit Montbello Barbers

A Shop Talk Live Meeting

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017




What continues to make District 11 unique and strong is that we celebrate our history, culture, and community through coming together and having a great time. We ask hard questions, expect answers and deserve to have our diverse voices heard. I value your ideas, suggestions, and opinions. Let’s keep moving forward together.

Each issue of the MUSE includes voices from the Montbello neighborhood – the ideas, perspective, and opinions of people who live, work, and play in the community. This issue takes a little different approach in an effort to inspire more residents to add their voices to the many planning and activating activities underway on behalf of Montbello. The following articles describe opportunities to get involved on a wide variety of subjects ranging from health and wellness to education to transit to jobs to community enhancement. Make 2017 the year that you join in on one or more of these active ways of making Montbello even better.

District 11Reflections

By Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore

Editor’s note: For more information on anything, visit Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore at the District 11 City Council Office located at 4685 Peoria St., Suite 215 in Denver; call 720-337-7711 or email To subscribe to the Front Door to Denver Newsletter, visit Like Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore on Facebook at and follow Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore on Twitter @SGilmoreDist11

Registered Neighborhood Organizations By Chris Martinez

Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore

As the District 11 Office and I reflect on 2016, I am proud of the work we have accomplished together as a community. We celebrated some great community events in 2016 including Montbello’s 50th Anniversary in September, a Day of Beauty in May, hosted a Senior Tea in August, supported amazing farmer’s markets in Green Valley Ranch and Montbello, hosted the 2nd Annual District 11 Holiday Party, and co-hosted the 34th Hiawatha Davis Senior Luncheon to name a few. We got Peoria Street repaved from I-70 to 56th Avenue, we had traffic signals installed, and are proactively looking at intersections and infrastructure to address our growth. Since taking office, we have held 34, 2-hour long drop-in open office hour meetings in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch and have worked on 449 constituent cases. Here are some other accomplishments of 2016: •Secured District 11 Neighborhood Plan in partnership with Community Planning and Development – process kickoff in 2017. •Created 1st ever District 11 Work Plan from a year’s worth of community input/data to strategically implement improvements. •Inaugural District 11 Mile High Senior Tea event with over 50 seniors and youth attending; Co-host Hiawatha Davis Senior Luncheon and Cookies with the Councilwoman at Sable Ridge. •Parks and Trail Wins: Denver unveils 198 acres of open space at First Creek at DEN (Denver’s largest open space) and on 6-acre First Creek Park underway with connecting First Creek trail system from Dunkirk St. to Tower Rd. •Obtained a 97% close rate for constituent cases with 435 cases addressed to date. •Compiled and will update quarterly the District 11 Stakeholder List with resources, services, schools and faith-based organizations. •Sponsored and partnered with over 20 organizations and the District 11 community for Montbello’s 50th Anniversary Celebration •Partnered with Denver Parks and Rec and District 5 Police to deter reckless driving in and around the Montbello Rec Center via anti-speeding infrastructure. •Canvassed over 2,200 homes with safety information and event flyers. •Infrastructure Wins: Opened Dunkirk Street at 56th Avenue; 4-way stop installed at Maxwell Pl./Kirk St. and Maxwell Pl./Netherlands St.; Turn arrow installed at 42nd/Ensenada; Peoria St. repaved; Expansion of Tower Rd from 40th to 45th Ave; Traffic signals at Andrews Dr./Chambers Rd and 49th/Tower Rd; •Created the first-ever District 11 “311 Brochure” to help educate residents around neighborhood issues. •Creation of the District 11 Community Cabinet and Next Gen Cabinet with quarterly meetings. •First ever interactive Town Hall Visioning in February 2016 with over 200 people attending. •Coordinated and/or partnered on 6 large-scale community job fairs. •Robust community outreach with daily social media posts, monthly electronic newsletters and twice-a-year mailed hard copy newsletter.

Chris and Terry Martinez

As one of Denver’s largest neighborhoods, Montbello has three Registered Neighborhood Organizations (RNOs) that represent our community. RNOs are organizations registered with the City of Denver that are formed by residents and property owners within Montbello (or other defined set of boundaries) that meet regularly. This past year all of the RNO’s have been meeting regularly to discuss issues that involve our community. The City of Denver notifies RNOs of proposed zoning amendments, landmark designation applications, planning board and board of adjustment hearings, liquor and cabaret licenses and other activities occurring in the neighborhood as stipulated in the Revised Municipal Code. Following is information on each of the Montbello RNOs and their 2017 objectives. If you are looking to get involved and help in shaping the future of the community, consider joining one of these efforts.

Far Northeast Neighbors, Inc.

2017 Priorities •Zoning Issues •Affordable Housing •Community safety Meetings: Second Wednesday of each month, Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Contact: Isabella Allen,

Montbello 20/20

2017 Priorities •Healthy Eating & Active Living •Safety & Education •Transportation •Beautification •Government Relations Meetings: The first Thursday every other month (bi-monthly), Arie P. Taylor Building (4685 Peoria St.) at 6 p.m. Contact: Chair Ann White,; Co-chair Pinkey A. Sullivan,; or Co-Chair Erik Penn,

Northern Corridor Coalition

2017 priorities: •Educating and informing the Far Northeast about our schools. •Improving outcomes for DPS stakeholders in FNE. •Involving more community members in our educational mission. Meetings: First Tuesday of each month, Montbello Public Library, 12955 Albrook Drive at 6:30 to 8 p.m. Contact: Mary T. Sam,

Editor’s note: Chris Martinez is the Senior Advisor for the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, City and County of Denver. Chris and wife, Terry, are long-time residents of Montbello.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Far Northeast Health Alliance By Nathifa Miller, J.D.

The Colorado School of Public Health and the Lowry Family Center (now called Families Forward Resource Center) partnered to host a Far Northeast Health Convening, which was held in August 2011. The August convening was the first of three health summits aimed at creating a public platform for the community to discuss community health and wellness in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch area, with a specific focus on inequities. As a result of the convening, the Far Northeast Health Alliance (FNHA) was formally established in February 2012. The FNHA is an action oriented, community-driven, coalition comprised of community groups, residents, advocates, providers, agencies, and students partnering to align efforts to achieve positive health outcomes and equity for all who live, learn, play and pray in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods. The mission of the Alliance is to coordinate a community-driven effort to improve health and wellness in far northeast Denver Communities through resource sharing, health education, and resident mobilization. The FNHA mission is accomplished by coordinating, connecting, and promoting actionable opportunities through committees, meetings, trainings, and other events and activities whereby individuals, families, and community can: •Get connected and work with others making a difference in community; •Receive recognition, services, support, technical assistance, and training; and •Fellowship, share ideas and best practices. Past accomplishments have included: •Programs to reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) and obesity rates in Far Northeast Denver. •Assessment with youth on the feasibility of a Far Northeast Youth Health Council. •A Far Northeast Sexual Health Alliance which focused on community education and testing for STI prevention. •The Healthy Eating and Active Living Committee which works on food access and community wellness. •A research committee that worked to make local data and research accessible to community members. The FNHA is currently working in collaboration with the Montbello Organizing Committee on the food desert issue in the Montbello neighborhood. With over 34,000 residents and no full-service grocery store, lack of access to fresh produce and healthy foods can have serious and lasting health effects on neighborhood families. As such, there is a call for action to all community residents to join the Far Northeast Health Alliance for the purpose of ensuring that all residences have a voice in the decisions being made about their community.

Donate Life Colorado

Editor’s note: Nathifa M. Miller is the Collective Impact Coordinator for Families Forward Resource Center.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Denver Public School Bond Money To Go To Montbello

Denver voters said yes to a $628 million tax package four weeks ago to build new schools and improve existing ones. The first of that money – a total of $8 million – will go to the 1,800 students at five schools on the Montbello campus to improve the schools’ physical and learning environments. The NCAS students learn film production. But they’ve also learned to dress like they’re outside, with coats and hats, when inside for class. A space heater helps. But it’s just a Band-aid for a heating and air conditioning system that’s 36 years old. “Certain areas of the building will be extremely hot and others will be extremely cold, at the same time. And they’ve tried to fix it year after year after year and it’s never gotten fixed,” film production teacher Dan Clarke said.

“I remember one time the classroom was too cold. We had to cancel school, so students could head home,” senior DCIS student Miguel Garcia said. And in the summer, temperatures can climb into the midand upper 80s. “We’ve gone as far as pulling portable swamp coolers to bring the temperature down,” says Bob Archuleta, a Denver Public Schools facilities operations manager. And he says one of the rooms had a temperature reading of 58 degrees on Tuesday. But change is coming. “I am delighted to be here to kick off the very first construction project of the 2016 bond,” DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. Denver voters have not only warmed the hearts of these students, but soon their school building with an infusion of millions towards HVAC and LED lighting improvements. “By going green, we’ll be saving green,” Boasberg said. All told, the improvements will save the school $150,000 a year in energy and operating costs. But teachers and students say it will also save their focus on learning. “School has enough challenges as it is, temperatures in the classroom should not be one of them,” Clarke said. “I am grateful the bond passed and we’ll get a new heater, and new lights. It’s awesome,” Garcia said. Much of the remaining bond money will go to 76 other schools that don’t have air-conditioning. If all goes well, the work will begin at Montbello in May. Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from Fox 31 News.


The Montbello Campus in Far Northeast Denver is the thriving center of a growing community. And it’s a campus that needs investment and improvement to continue to serve our community well. Thanks to the voters of our city, it will be getting just that. We were out at the Montbello campus on Tuesday, (December 6), to celebrate an $8 million investment that was part of the bond initiative that voters approved by a 2-to-1 margin last month. (We even did a “Mannequin Challenge“ with the students and our facilities staff as part of the celebration.) The overhaul of Montbello’s heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems is our first major project under the 2016 bond, and we are determined to move quickly to utilize the voter-approved dollars to improve our students’ learning environments. Improvements to and renovations of our schools’ classrooms — especially in those buildings built in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s — are at the heart of the 2016 bond. We know how important these classroom and school building improvements are to our neighborhoods across Denver. As one student humorously stated during our Mannequin Challenge, “thank you for not standing still” and moving these improvements forward for our students. The Montbello campus project is an important kick-off to the 2016 bond work. Improving the physical building at Montbello will also give further momentum to the academic improvements we have seen there over the past six years since the closure of the Montebello High School program. During that time, we have seen a doubling of high school graduates in the area and a dramatic increase in enrollment as well, as parents see the academic improvements. An important part of our entire bond-approved construction is ensuring we’re hiring contractors and businesses that are reflective of our community. That means making it a priority to include a significant number of minority- and women-owned firms in the work of improving our schools. On Wednesday, the new head of our Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Outreach program, Murugan Palani, held a community meeting to give an update on the progress of this effort. “DPS is working diligently to provide greater opportunities to diverse construction vendors, and our community event this week was an opportunity for us to give an update on our progress and strengthen those relationships,” said Palani. We want our schools in every part of the city to be community centers — with world-class learning environments for our students and inviting, first-rate facilities for our families. Thank you again for investing that work. Best, Tom

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



then purchased the homes with affordable, no-profit mortgages. “I thank Habitat for Humanity for being a constant, reliable partner and delivering housing choices right where our people need them the most,” shared Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at the dedication ceremony. Sable Ridge is the largest affordable homeownership development Habitat has built to date. “I am deeply grateful for Habitat’s great work in my neighborhood,” said Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Board member of Habitat for Humanity and Pastor and resident within Montbello. “Sable Ridge will make a tremendous impact in our neighborhood. Fifty-one families from multiple beautiful cultures — many with children in neighborhood schools — now have permanent residences in Montbello.”

Sable Ridge Resident Profiles Biratu and Anane

Biratu and Anane have three young sons and the entire family formerly lived in a one-bedroom apartment prior to moving into their Sable Ridge home. Living in such a small space and sharing a single bedroom became unbearable for their growing family of five as bug infestation and decaying floors compounded their problems. Biratu works hard as a taxi driver to provide for his family and relished the opportunity to become a homeowner along with Anane. The couple are pleased that they are able to provide their children with a new, clean, spacious residence that they helped to build and can call their own.

Habitat for Humanity Completes Sable Ridge Townhomes

Fifty-One New Families Call Montbello Home

By Angelle Fouther

On October 29, 2016, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver dedicated the final homes of the Sable Ridge Town houses near 40th Ave and Chambers Road in Montbello. Construction on the first homes at Sable Ridge began in 2013, and it took the collective work of more than 32,400 volunteers, building over the course of 40 months to complete. Sable Ridge is now called “home” by 101 adults and 122 children who had previously been struggling to find affordable housing in Denver. “For many years, it was a struggle to afford rent, school supplies, clothes, groceries and the many other expenses included in raising three kids,” shares Sable Ridge homeowner, Heather Hamilton (see her profile). “Now I have a chance to invest in my future, and my children’s future. It’s a huge relief to be able to provide stability to my kids.” Each Sable Ridge homeowner helped build their own home by investing 200 hours of sweat equity labor. These hardworking families


Heather and her three children (10-year old twin boys, and a 12-year old daughter) are new homeowners at Sable Ridge. As a single mother, who works a fulltime job in the city’s finance department, Heather relies on her income as well as child support payments from her ex-husband, which have been inconsistent over the years. She has tried to create a stable life for her kids, over the years, but found it hard to secure suitable housing. Her prior apartment had mold and mildew, faulty appliances, pests, soggy and uneven walls, and poor insulation. Outside their apartment the young family dealt with violence within the complex and high crime rates in the neighborhood. As a resident of Sable Ridge, Heather’s costs will never exceed 30% of her income, which gives her the power to overcome her financial inconsistency and be self-reliant.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Denver Rolls Out New Approach To Accelerate Neighborhood Planning Across City First New Plan To Roll Out will be Montbello, Gateway, and Green Valley Ranch In response to community calls for area-specific planning to help guide positive change in the city’s neighborhoods, Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) has committed to a new, accelerated schedule for creating neighborhood plans. Neighborhood plans empower residents, neighborhood groups and local businesses to address the challenges and opportunities of their corner of the city according to each area’s unique character and needs. City planners presented the new “Neighborhood Planning Initiative,” which was crafted with community input, to the Denver Planning Board in early December. The Neighborhood Planning Initiative is a commitment to create area-specific plans for every Denver neighborhood in a timely, equitable way. With area plans in place across the city, neighborhoods will be on more equal footing, benefiting from comparable policy guidance on issues related to growth, development, mobility, open space, infrastructure, public health and more. “For many of us, our love for Denver is rooted in our love of its neighborhoods,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We will ensure that each area of the city has the tools it needs to fulfill the community’s vision for the future in a way that takes into account its specific needs, history and character.” CPD Executive Director Brad Buchanan added, “We have heard from residents citywide that they need neighborhood plans. We agree. This initiative will meet the need for area planning across the city more quickly and equitably than we have been able to do in the past.” First Neighborhoods Kick Off in 2017 The first new plan will kick off in 2017 for the Far Northeast area, encompassing the Montbello, Gateway and Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods. These areas have outdated plans and lack access to goods and services. Later in 2017, plans will kick off for the East Central and East areas, which encompass the East Colfax corridor from Capitol Hill to the city’s eastern city limit. The plans will benefit from a 2017 Urban Center planning grant from the Denver Regional Council of Governments and a Federal Transit Administration grant for transit-oriented development planning on Colfax.

Neighborhood Groupings – A New Approach Like the Denveright citywide planning effort, area planning will be community-driven, drawing from the input and expertise of residents, local leaders, business owners and neighborhood groups. In an effort to plan for the entire city as efficiently as possible, neighborhoods will be grouped together to create planning areas that share similar characteristics and challenges, thereby reducing the total number of plans that must be produced. Area planning will occur in phases, with planning taking place in three areas of the city at a time and each plan taking approximately 18-24 months. Area plans will be rolled out based on factors including planning need (as measured by various metrics), opportunities to draw on additional resources such as grant funding, input from elected officials and community leaders, efforts to maximize staff and other resources.

Editor’s note: To learn more about the Neighborhood Planning Initiative, including ways to get involved, visit

BUILDING COMMUNITY: Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for visionary city planning and ensuring safe, responsible, sustainable building. CPD regulates planning, zoning, development and maintenance of private property in Denver. We’re working hard to make Denver a great place to live, work and play. Visit

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Warriors Co-ed Cheer Go To State Championships and to London, England

Cheerleaders? Three members of the team have been selected to represent Montbello in the All-American performance in London, England on January 1, 2017. The students will join over 650 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who will be representing Varsity Spirit in the world-famous London New FAMILIES AGAINST VIOLENT ACTS Year’s Day Parade. Juan Luna-Barreras, Cordell  Proctor, and Brittany Reed were MISSION: invited to perform in the parade Empowering families with resources after being nominated as Allto Aid in restoration with a fresh new perspective on life Americans at a summer cheerleading camp. All-Americans are select ed to try out based on superior •A Support Group cheerleading, dancing and leader•Open Forum ship skills at camps across the coun•Resource Referrals try. Luna-Barreras and Proctor are •Fellowship with other families juniors at DCIS Montbello and Reed  is a senior at MLK. For more information and support group time, call: Cheerleaders, dancers, marching Dianne Cooks at 720-276-4611, Michael Hope or bands, acrobats and more will make Francella Baker at (720) 767–5901 or email up the 10,000 performers representf.a.v.a57@hotmail .com ing 20 countries worldwide in the  2017 parade. Established as one of 4840 N. Chambers Road, Unit A London’s biggest events, the parade Denver, 80239 is seen by nearly 300 million people around the world.  Warriors Cheerleaders are literally “Aggressively seeks to mend the hurting hearts of families affected by a on the go and making Montbello violent act” proud!

By Donna Garnett

The 2016 champions were crowned in each cheer discipline during the state spirit championships at the Denver Coliseum on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Warriors Co-ed Cheerleaders were competitors in the co-ed category. Approximately 200 Teams participated in varying levels from 2A all the way to 5A. There were pom teams, hip hop teams, cheer teams, and jazz teams. Any way you spell it there was a lot of cheering and jumping as parents, friends, and other family members showed their pride and spirit for high school teams from all over the state. “We didn’t do as well as we wanted,” explained Coach Eno Ocansey, “but we got feedback about how much our cheerleaders had improved. We made a great impression.” The annual competition is sponsored by Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). The Montbello team is comprised of students from Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS), Noel Community Arts School (NCAS), Collegiate Prep Academy (CPA), Northfield High School, and Martin Luther King Early College High School (MLK). What is next for the Warriors

“We are committed, compassionate and competent, when caring for your child.”

Diana Gadison Owner

Licensed for birth to 12 years old - specializing in preschool development.

Early Success Academy Childcare 4870 Chambers Road • Denver, CO • Hours: 7 AM to 5:30 PM • For more information, call or email us. • Phone: 303-373-1335 • Email:

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017


Nonprofits Making A Difference In Montbello The Urban Farm At Montbello By Donna Garnett

Like a busy little bee, the little redhaired girl flits through the garden from plant to plant. Rather than extracting nectar from each blossom and spreading pollen from plant to plant, she’s popping ripe cherry tomatoes and succulent strawberries into her mouth and calling to her friends to try some too. Three-yearold Khaleesi Chitwood is accomplishing exactly what The Urban Farm set out to do in this food desert/food swamp neighborhood. She is learning where her food comes from by growing and harvesting it; eating fresh, healthy vegetables; and sharing with her friends and family. Her dad, Austin Chitwood, is the manager of The Urban Farm at Montbello located at 4879 Crown Boulevard on the campus of United Church of Montbello. Chitwood tends the 10,000-square foot garden, teaches residents about growing food, supervises volunteers, and wages war with the never-ending onslaught of weeds. “The best part of the Farm is watching things grow and mature, seeing the kids as they make their own discoveries about the seeds they plant. As a teacher, it is rewarding to see the excitement that comes from learning the rules of physics simply by digging a trench to see where the water flows,” says Chitwood. The Urban Farm at Montbello is in its third year of existence and is managed by Children’s Farms of America (CFA). The work of Children’s Farms of America (a 501c3 nonprofit organization) is to help neighborhoods establish their own unique farm where their children learn about and then grow food for themselves and for their community. One of the goals of CFA is to work in communities where children and their families have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables due to lack of close proximity to a full-service grocery store and limited family income. According to Piton Foundation’s Community Facts website, one in four adults in Montbello and one in two children have low access to healthy food in one mile. That translates to many families who rely on the corner convenience store and the strip of fast food restaurants along Peoria and Chambers for their nutritional needs. Another goal of CFA is to address the health disparities that characterize many residents in the community. According to the 2014 Health of Denver Report, 22 percent of public school children (2-17 years) in District 11 neighborhoods are obese, 6 percent higher than Denver overall (16 percent). Obesity in childhood is a predictor for obesity in adulthood and obesity in adulthood is a predictor for prediabetes and diabetes. These unhealthy conditions are completely controllable through good nutrition and physical activity. CFA promotes both through The Urban Farm at Montbello.

The Urban Farm provides opportunities for youth and adult groups and individuals to volunteer throughout the six month growing season. Chitwood notes that volunteer opportunities are available that range from intense physical labor of moving soil and rocks to pulling weeds and cultivating around tender seedlings. For those whose knees don’t hold up to long periods of kneeling, chairs can be pulled up to free-standing grow boxes for weeding and pruning herbs. In 2016, 289 volunteers contributed 2,323 hours of sweat equity to making this Farm grow. The Urban Farm grows food for the community which is distributed through the United Church of Montbello’s Food Pantry located in the Arie P. Taylor Municipal Building on Peoria Street. Fresh vegetables are also distributed biweekly in the parking lot of the church through a collaborative effort with 5 Loaves Community Garden (also located at 4879 Crown Blvd.) and Food Bank of the Rockies. Several thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables are distributed throughout the growing season thanks to this partnership. CFA’s mission also includes providing educational programs for children and youth. A popular program is the intergenerational farm camp held each July. Children and grandparents attend the camp together sharing garden chores and learning about healthy eating. Once each week the kids and their grandparents cook a meal from food harvested from the garden. The children take home the same ingredients so they can prepare the recipes for the rest of the family. Grandparents continually remark that they are amazed at what the children will eat when they grew it themselves. The final goal of CFA is to promote the spread of these small urban farms throughout the Montbello community. Beginning in January, 2017 Academy 360 will become the next location of a children’s farm in the neighborhood. CFA, in conjunction with the Montbello Organizing Committee’s FreshLo Initiative funded by the Kresge Foundation, will work with the school to create a garden right on top of the asphalt parking lot. Third graders will participate in a year-long curriculum about growing food. The Urban Farm at Montbello exists through the generous dedication of land adjacent to the United Church of Montbello. At a recent meeting of the church’s leadership council, discussions revolved around continuing to expand the farm. With luck and perseverance, a year-round greenhouse and food co-op could be in the community’s future.

Editor’s note: For more information on the farm and to get involved, email or visit

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017



Montbello Organizing Committee Receives Community Spirit Award from Families Forward Resource Center

a trailblazer for African American- and women-owned businesses and has received countless awards and recognitions for her commitment, including the MLK Humanitarian Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce. Harris was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the Denver Institute of Urban Studies, and named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2015. The award was presented by David Miller, former Denver Foundation President and CEO, who had strong ties to both John Parr and Sandy Widener, for whom the award is named. The couple died tragically in a car crash in 2007 while traveling with daughters Chase and Katy. Only Katy survived. “Bee was selected to receive the Parr-Widener Award because of the work she’s done to lift up stories and shine the light on communities of color, and to mentor and train youth in journalism-related fields through the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation,” said Miller. “We especially felt awarding Bee was in the spirit of Sandy Widener, who was a gifted journalist who helped found Westword. With this award, we salute two pioneering women journalists in Metro Denver.” Ginnie Logan, founder of the Denver-based nonprofit Big Hair, Bigger Dreams, received the Hunt Emerging Leaders Award. A graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder, Logan taught high school in Memphis with Teach for America. She moved on to become a Training Resource Manager and curriculum consultant for the New Teacher Project. She ended her career in education co-leading a middle school as an assistant principal at a Denver charter school. “As an educator, Ginnie learned that significant learning experiences often happen outside of the school building,” said Lauren Casteel, Executive Director of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and former Vice President at The Denver Foundation. Casteel presented Logan’s award on behalf of Ambassador Swanee Hunt. Big Hair, Bigger Dreams is Logan’s effort to complement, enhance, and support the good work that is already happening in the fields of mentorship and education reform. The nonprofit specifically addresses the unique challenges facing girls who live on the racial and economic margins of society. Dr. Lydia Prado received the Swanee Hunt Individual Leadership Award, which recognizes those who have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of public service. Anna Jo Haynes, a former Denver Foundation Trustee and champion of education, presented the award on behalf of Ambassador Hunt. Born on Los Angeles’ East Side, Prado grew up feeling culturally enriched, speaking both English and Spanish, and thriving in a community where she was surrounded by many talented, creative, and resilient people. When she left to attend college, she was surprised to learn that the mainstream and academic view of her community was filtered through a lens of deficits rather than strengths. She earned her doctorate at the University of Denver and later served on its faculty. As Vice President of Child and Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver, Dr. Prado weaves together evidence-based best practices with respect and understanding of diverse cultural strengths to develop more effective, holistic approaches to services. She directed the development of the new Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being which opened in February 2016. “We honor Dr. Prado for the extraordinary work and community engagement she put into the development of the MHCD Dahlia Campus,” said Haynes. “It’s a beautiful, community-oriented place with something for everyone. Most important, it provides much-needed behavioral health services in a setting that reduces the stigma of mental health treatment. Thanks to Dr. Prado, what was once perceived as a deficit is now a strength.” Since 1996, The Denver Foundation has presented the Swanee Hunt Leadership Awards to community members who make major contributions to improving life for people in Metro Denver. Hunt, for whom the award is named, is a world-renowned philanthropist, author, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria. She now lives in Massachusetts but offers these awards as one of the ways she keeps ties with the Denver community, where her philanthropy began with The Hunt Alternatives Fund.

Friday evening, December 9 the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport was the site of a glittery, fun-filled night of fundraising on behalf of Families Forward Family Resource Center. The first annual gala event, tagged All In For Families, featured delicious food, music, casino-like gambling (fake money, of course), and recognition. During the program, Dr. Darlene Sampson presented the Community Spirit Award. The award is dedicated to the memory of Kathy Hill-Young, the first Executive Director of the Families Forward Resource Center. This year’s award was presented to Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) for their work in the community. “The Montbello Organizing Committee is an organization that has shown a leadership role and has delivered services that create a safe, healthy, cohesive community through individual and family support and empowerment,” announced Dr. Sampson to the crowd of 300. Accepting the award on behalf of MOC, Angelle Fouther, Chairperson of the organization, said, “We are so honored by this award and are grateful to Families Forward for the amazing work they do on behalf of families in our community.”

Editor’s note: For more information about Montbello Organizing Committee and for details about getting involved in retail development, fresh food and healthy living, transportation, can community enhancement projects, contact

The Denver Foundation Presents 2016 Community Leadership Awards

Rosalind “Bee” Harris receives Parr-Widener Civic Leader Award; Ginnie Logan and Dr. Lydia Prado win Swanee Hunt Awards By Laura Bond

The Denver Foundation is honored to announce Rosalind “Bee” Harris, Ginnie Logan and Dr. Lydia Prado as winners of the 2016 Community Leadership Awards. The awards were presented during a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at The Denver Foundation. Rosalind “Bee” Harris, publisher of Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper, received the ninth annual John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award. Founded in 1987, Denver Urban Spectrum has been “spreading the news about people of color” for nearly 30 years. Harris is

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017


Denver Preschool Program Hosts Fifth Annual Preschool Showcase

The Denver Preschool Program will host its fifth annual Preschool Showcase in January 2017 to help all Denver families with a 4-year-old access and afford a qualityrated preschool program. The free event will include Spanish translators on-site and take place on the following two dates at three locations: •Saturday, Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being, 3401 Eudora St., Denver, CO 80207 •Saturday, Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., J. Churchill Owen Boys & Girls Club, 3480 W. Kentucky Ave., Denver, CO 80219 •Thursday, Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Quigg Newton Community Center, 4440 Navajo St., Denver, CO 80211 The Preschool Showcase is an opportunity for families to learn more about the variety of preschool options and resources available in Denver, including meeting with representatives from the more than 250 participating preschools. Families can receive information on how to sign up for tuition support available through the Denver Preschool Program. The event will also feature free food and refreshments, family-friendly activities and entertainment from partners like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, free dental screenings, story time readings with the Denver Public Library, demonstrations on how to use the Denver Preschool Program’s online “Find a Preschool” tool, and photo opportunities with PBS Characters like Clifford and Curious George. “It’s never too early to start thinking about preschool,” said Jennifer Landrum, president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program. “A high quality program is the foundation for a child’s future academic, emotional and social success. As a result, classrooms fill up quickly. Thus, we strongly encourage parents to plan ahead and explore their options now.” For families who are unable to attend this year’s showcase, the Denver Preschool Program’s online “Find a Preschool” tool will allow them to search for a program at any time by location and quality rating. Once enrolled through the chosen school, families who live in the City and County of Denver with a 4-year-old can sign up for tuition support through the Denver Preschool Program. Tuition credits are awarded on a sliding scale, which takes into account a family’s income, household size and the quality rating of the chosen program.  Editor’s note: For more information about the Showcase, visit or call 303-595-4DPP (4377).

About Denver Preschool Program: The Denver Preschool Program makes quality preschool possible for all Denver families with 4-year-old children through a dedicated sales tax first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed and extended in 2014. DPP has provided more than $79 million in tuition support to help more than 41,000 Denver children attend the preschool of their families’ choice, establishing each child’s foundation for lifelong learning and success.

Can’t find your favorite community publication? We can help! Pick up your copy of MUSE at the following distribution outlets: 45th & 46th and Peoria St.

4800 Chambers Plaza

US Bank Citywide BankArie Taylor Building

Nail Shop Montbello Barbers Mailbox Express Taqueria Bakery

Peoria Plaza

P/T Nails Coin Laundry Bocaza Mexigrill

Wal-Mart Plaza Chambers

Mickey’s Barber Cleaners Laundromat

Sable Ridge Apts.

China Chef Laundromat Loco Pollo

Peoria Albrook Plaza

(40th & Chambers)

1st CHRISTIAN BAPTIST (12505 Elmendorf) Kinder Kollege (Albrook & Tulsa Court) Montbello Library (Albrook & Crown) Boys & Girls Club (Albrook & Crown) Montbello Manor (4356 Carson Street) United Church of Montbello (Crown & Andrews) True Light Baptist Church (14333 Bolling Avenue)

Gateway Liquors

(40th & Tower Road)

48th & Tower Road

Towers Liquors GVR library Crowning Glory Salon African Bar & Grill

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - January/February 2017


MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2017- 6 PM

Would you be blessed by a part-time gig that touches people’s souls?

Are you a musician who is excited to lead choirs in gospel, contemporary praise music and hymns? (the ideal candidate will play keyboard and direct)

If so, the United Church of Montbello is looking for YOU! Let’s discuss your compensation, your experience and your commitment. Contact Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr. Call: 303-373-0070 Email: Denver Urban Spectrum — – January 2010


Plan a

Cool Black Party

The Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) and the Denver community invite you to plan a Cool Black Party in honor of our first Black President - Barack Hussein Obama. The country is invited to participate in unison on January 20, 2017 to celebrate the historic journey of the country’s most loved and admired First Family. On Friday, January 20, 2017 President Obama will end his last day in office as the 44th President of the United States. Let’s make it Big for Barack!

Gather with family and friends at your favorite restaurant, nightclub, coffee shop, church, library, office or home to recognize, reflect and celebrate President Obama’s legacy. Get creative and have fun. Wear your cool black sunglasses and get your swag on at a Cool Black Party community celebration near you. Plan to take photos and post them and go live on FB. Celebrations will begin at 6 PM (MST).

The Official Cool Black Party in Denver will be held at the Kasbah, 15373 E. 6th Avenue (at Chambers) in Aurora with entertainment by Hot Lunch. For more information, call 303-367-0591 or email

America’s First Family The Obamas

Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha

MUSE January/February 2017  

The fall issue of the MUSE focused on voicing our values through our participation in the democratic process. This winter issue is a call to...

MUSE January/February 2017  

The fall issue of the MUSE focused on voicing our values through our participation in the democratic process. This winter issue is a call to...