MUSE March/April 2018

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Inside This Issue

Voices In The Neighborhood...7, 8 Healthy Living In The Community...10, 11, 12, 13 Montbello In The News...14, 15 Happenings Around Montbello...16, 17 Non Profit Making A Difference...18 Youth On The Move…19, 20, 21



Growing Pains…

I have gotten a lot of feedback from community members regarding the MUSE in the last couple of months. My personal favorites are ones like: “I appreciate that the MUSE covers issues that are relevant in our community,” “I see this paper everywhere,” “Thank you for opening the conversation again about racism,” “I feel like I know what is going on in the community,” and so on. Other feedback is constructive and almost always leads to modifications. Suggestions range from including more of the paper in Spanish, establishing regular columns contributed by other organizations, putting a paper on every doorstep, creating a QRL code to appeal to youth since they won’t read a paper, include a youth section written by and for youth, publishing a community directory, and so on. The start-up funding that the Montbello Organizing Committee, a 501c3 organization, received to launch the paper two years ago was time-limited and resources are coming to an end. Like most community newspapers, MUSE is supported by advertising; and the small established advertising base is growing, but also as a nonprofit organization, support has been received through grant funding. As a newly born community publication, we are seeking community support. The MUSE Advisory Committee has come up with a three-pronged way of funding the bimonthly paper: 1. Grants and corporate gifts; 2. Advertisements by local businesses and service providers; and 3. Individual memberships, donations and gifts. With your help, we can ensure the residents and businesses that the MUSE will continue to report the good news about Montbello and expand its distribution to meet more diverse audiences. If you are a business owner or work in the Montbello community, you can expose your product, service or upcoming event to Montbello’s diverse community residents. Or, feel free to send a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation to help support the MUSE. No gift is too small and will be much appreciated. Our goal is to serve the community we all call home and with your help, we can continue to bring you the good news about “Beautiful Montbello.” For more information about advertising or to make a donation, email

Education In Far Northeast Denver

Donna M. Garnett, Editor Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition


It is nearly impossible to create a foundation for success when the structure of our school resembles that of a prison. Our kids are not even close to being at grade level, in regards to proficiency, when they graduate. So, they are not ready for college and career. The age gap that exists amongst the student population does not create a healthy and safe environment for all and can actually become socially and emotionally damaging. The opportunity and achievement gaps are growing as a direct result of the colocation and shared campus model. We are requesting that the Denver Public School Board pass a resolution to establish and commission a Far Northeast Community-Led Review Board to tour the shared campus locations and make recommendations to the School Board by the end of this school year. Although we have yet to reach the goals set by the Denver Plan 2020, I am excited and confident that the School Board and Superintendent Boasberg will take advantage of the opportunity to champion our collaborative efforts, not only in rhetoric, but most importantly, in practice. We are here, we are organized, and we are ready to lead. Thank you for your time.

Editor: There is growing concern and attention surrounding the current state of the schools in the Far Northeast. The concept of equality is deeply embedded in our national ethos. We, as Americans, love to be viewed as “Good Sports”, who guarantee fair and equitable opportunities for all. In practice, however, the DPS falls short of this ideal. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Montbello campus, where three different schools share one location. Being there less than an hour, one phrase came to mind: PIPELINE TO PRISON! This campus is a prison breeding ground. The students are housed like inmates, with restricted access to certain areas of the school. The library is not accessible to all because regularly scheduled classes are held there, due to overpopulation. Gym and Physical Education are an option to some, but not all, and recess his held in a gravel covered ditch in the parking lot, with a policeman sitting in a squad car overseeing the “Yard”, all while 11-year old 6th graders intermingle with 18-year old seniors in high school. These are just a few of the many unjust conditions our children face. This colocation/shared campus model is not helping our students achieve the five key goals identified in the Denver Plan 2020. There are not great schools in our neighborhood, and they do not meet community standards.

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

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS - Kwon Atlas, Jason Blevins, Lt. Ken Chavez, Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, Khadija Haynes, LaToya Petty, Roosevelt Price, Sen. Angela Williams PHOTO CREDITS: Hyoung Chang, Vanessa Martinez


Sincerely, Brandon Pryor Editor’s note: Brandon Pryor is a coach, parent, and homeowner in the Far North East.

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 - March/April 2018


Many, many years

How Are The Children? What Our Youth Are Saying By Donna Garnett

within the many schools and non-profit programs focused on youth in the community, those voices are being heard and attended to. The conversations usually started with questions about the programs in which they were engaged. All spoke with passion about their involvement in a sport or other extra-curricular activity. Answers were typically, “it is my passion.” “It (football, track, dance, music, horseback riding, etc.) gives me confidence. It lifts me up.” “We keep each other on track – we have each other’s backs.” Without exception, all believe that their involvement in their extra-curricular activities is their pathway to a productive future. The expectations and boundaries set by the program inspires/forces them to pay attention to their grades, stay out of trouble, get involved and give back to their community. Those who participate in the various Warrior affiliations express pride and attachment to their teammates, coaches, sponsors. As the conversations turned to concerns and disappointments, youth were specific in their observations and impressions. As one young woman expressed, “my academics are good in my school, I think I am getting a good education to prepare me for college.” She went on to say, “but that’s all we get. The school doesn’t care about us and what we need as teenagers. We still need other things, too.” Those sentiments were echoed regardless of school affiliation. To a person, each youth talked about how they long for what they perceive other high schools enjoy – school-wide spirit days, clubs and student-led organizations, strong support from the community as evidenced by attendance and participation at performances, games, fundraisers, and so on. Several youth talked about the rigidity of school rules that require that all students be off the campus within 15 minutes of school being dismissed. “Where are we supposed to go? There is no place for us to go after school. If we are caught on campus, we get a ticket from security.” Finally, the conversations turned to the general feelings among youth about the recent shootings in Montbello and in schools across the country. The question was asked, what are students feeling, how are they coping? For the most part, students are alternately shocked and not surprised. Some kids knew or had gone to school with the victims of the shootings. When asked what support they have around these events, the answer came back that no one (school staff) even talked about it. There was no support. One young man had asked a teacher what she thought. “She didn’t know anything about it! She doesn’t live in our community and hadn’t even seen the news.” The concluding statement on the subject, “most of our teachers don’t really care.” Added another youth, “Well, some do.” It would seem that the kids are telling us what is important to them – belonging, purpose, boundaries, adults who know about and care about what they are doing. It is time to resurrect the movement and ask our leaders, and ourselves, “And, how are the children?” All the children are not well. Y

ago – nearly 30 — child advocates in Colorado started a movement where they would ask the governor, the mayor, every legislator, city councilperson, county commissioner, every elected official the question, “And, how are the children?” The expected response was, “All the children are well.” The question and response is the traditional form of greeting from the Maasai tribe of Eastern Africa. The Maasai were among a few peoples to resist the slave trade and slave traders generally avoided the tribe and the places they populated. Their greeting and response became a sounding call as the practice was the focus of a speech given by The Rev. Patrick O’Neill, minister of the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn, New York. Following is an excerpt from that speech which has resonated across our country many times over. It is a message for our time. “Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Maasai. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Maasai warriors: ‘Kasserian Ingera,’ one would always say to another. It means, ‘And how are the children?’ It is still the traditional greeting among the Maasai, acknowledging the high value that the Maasai always place on their children’s well-being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, [‘Sapati Ingera’] ‘All the children are well.’ Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young, the powerless, are in place. That Maasai society has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper functions and responsibilities. “All the children are well” means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles for existence do not preclude proper caring for their young.” Rev. O’Neill goes on to wonder what the answers would be if “every adult among us, parent and non-parent alike, felt an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children in our community, in our town, in our state, in our country... I wonder if we could truly say without any hesitation, the children are well, yes, all the children are well.” Recent tragic events in our community and across our country beg the question again, “And, how are the children?” The children are giving us the answers – in their actions, in their music, in their isolation, grief, and anger. In preparation for this issue of the MUSE with its focus on youth and how Montbello supports their growth and development, even before the horrific assaults on the lives of our country’s children in the first few weeks of 2018, this author thought to reach out to youth in the community for their reflections on their lives and their community. Here are some of the things they had to say. Responses came from youth around the community and from several schools. Youth from ages 13 through 21 shed light on what is happening and what is not happening. Admittedly, those most isolated and, potentially, those youth most in pain and anger were not part of the conversation. Hopefully,

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


¿Cómo Están los Niños?

Lo Que Nuestros Jóvenes Están Diciendo Hace muchos, muchos

Por Donna Garnett, M.S. - Traducción por Marta Welch

años – casi 30 — los defensores de niños en Colorado empezaron un movimiento donde le preguntarían al gobernador, al alcalde, a cada legislador, al consejal de la ciudad, al comisionado del condado, a cada funcionario electo la pregunta, “Y, ¿cómo están los niños?” La respuesta esperada fue, “Todos los niños están bien”. La pregunta y la respuesta son la forma tradicional del saludo de la tribu de Maasai de África Oriental. Los Maasai estaban entre algunos de los pocos pueblos que resistieron el comercio de esclavos y los traficantes de esclavos generalmente evitaban la tribu y los lugares que poblaban. Su saludo y respuesta se convirtieron en una llamada que sonaba como la práctica era el enfoque de un discurso dado por el Reverendo Patrick O’Neill, Ministro de la Primera Sociedad Congregacional Unitaria de Brooklyn, Nueva York. Lo que sigue es un extracto de ese discurso que ha resonado a través de nuestro país muchas veces, con creces. Es un mensaje para nuestro tiempo. “Entre las más logradas y legendarias tribus de África, ninguna tribu se consideraba tener guerreros más temosos o más inteligente que el poderoso Maasai. Quizás sea sorprendente, entonces, aprender el saludo tradicional que pasaron entre los guerreros Maasai: ‘Kasserian Ingera’, uno siempre le decia al otro. Esto significa, ‘Y cómo están los niños?’. Todavía sigue siendo el saludo tradicional entre los Maasai, reconociendo el alto valor que los Maasai siempre colocan en el bienestar de sus hijos. Incluso los guerreros sin hijos propios siempre daban la respuesta tradicional, [‘Sapati Ingera’] ‘Todos los niños están bien.’ Significando, por supuesto, que la paz y la seguridad prevalecen, que las prioridades de proteger a los jóvenes, los impotentes, están en su lugar. Que la sociedad Maasai no ha olvidado su razón de ser, sus funciones y responsabilidades propias. “Todos los niños están bien” significa que la vida es buena. Significa que las luchas diarias por la existencia no impiden el cuidado apropiado de sus jóvenes.” El Reverendo O’Neill continúa a preguntarse lo que las respuestas serían si “cada adulto entre nosotros, padre y no padre igualmente, sentiría un peso igual para el cuidado diario y la protección de todos los niños en nuestra comunidad, en nuestra ciudad, en nuestro estado, en nuestro país... Me pregunto si podríamos decir realmente sin vacilación, “los niños están bien, sí, todos los niños están bien”. Los eventos trágicos recientes en nuestra comunidad y a través de nuestro país suplica la pregunta de nuevo, “¿Y, cómo están los niños?”. Los niños nos están dando las respuestas – en sus acciones, en su música, en su aislamiento, tristeza y enojo. En preparación de esta publicación del MUSE con su enfoque en la juventud y cómo Montbello apoya su crecimiento y desarrollo, incluso antes de los terribles asaltos en las vidas de los niños de nuestro país en las primeras semanas de 2018, este autor pensó alcanzar a la juventud en la comunidad para sus reflexiones sobre sus vidas y su comunidad. Aquí están algunas de las cosas que tuvieron que decir. Las respuestas vinieron de la juventud alrededor de la comunidad y de varias escuelas. La juventud de años 13 a 21 aclararon lo que esta pasando y lo que no esta pasando. Es cierto que los más aislados y, potencialmente, aquellos jóvenes con más

dolor y enojo no fueron parte de la conversación. Con suerte, dentro de las muchas escuelas y programas sin fines de lucro enfocados en la juventud de la comunidad, esas voces están siendo escuchadas y atendidas. Las conversaciones usualmente comenzaron con preguntas sobre los programas en los que estaban comprometidos. Todos hablaron con pasión sobre su participación en un deporte u otra actividad extracurricular. Las respuestas eran típicamente, “es mi pasión.” “El (fútbol, atletismo, baile, la música, equitación, etc.) me da confianza. Me levanta.” “Nos mantenemos unos a otros en el camino – mantenemos las espaldas de cada uno.” Sin excepción, todos creen que su participación en sus actividades extracurriculares es su camino hacia un futuro productivo. Las expectativas y los límites establecidos por el programa inspiran/les obligan a prestar atención a sus calificaciones, mantenerse fuera de problemas, involucrarse y devolver a su comunidad. Aquellos que participan en las diversas afiliaciones de Warrior expresan orgullo y apego a sus compañeros de equipo, entrenadores y patrocinadores. A medida que las conversaciones se giraron a preocupaciones y decepciones, los jóvenes fueron específicos en sus observaciones e impresiones. Como una mujer joven expresó: “mis académicos son buenos en mi escuela, creo que estoy obteniendo una buena educación para prepararme para la Universidad”. Ella continuó diciendo, “pero eso es todo lo que conseguimos. La escuela no se preocupa por nosotros y lo que necesitamos como adolescentes. Todavía necesitamos otras cosas, también.” Esos sentimientos fueron repetidos sin tener en cuenta la afiliación escolar. A una persona, cada joven habló de cómo anhelan lo que perciben que otras escuelas secundarias disfrutan – días de espíritu escolar, clubes y organizaciones dirigidas por estudiantes, un fuerte apoyo de la comunidad, demostrado por la asistencia y participación en espectáculos, juegos y recaudaciones de fondos, y así. Varios jóvenes hablaron sobre la rigidez de las reglas escolares que requieren que todos los estudiantes salgan del campus dentro de los 15 minutos de haber salido de la escuela. “¿A dónde se supone que debemos ir? No hay lugar para ir después de la escuela. Si nos atrapan en el camps, recibimos un boleto de seguridad “. Finalmente, las conversaciones giraron a los sentimientos generales entre los jóvenes sobre los recientes tiroteos en Montbello y en escuelas a través del país. La pregunta fue hecha, ¿qué sienten los estudiantes, cómo se adaptan? En su mayor parte, los estudiantes están alternativamente sorprendidos y no sorprendidos. Algunos de los jóvenes habían conocido o ido a la escuela con las víctimas de los tiroteos. Cuando se le preguntó qué apoyo tenían en torno a estos eventos, la respuesta regresó que nadie (personal de la escuela) incluso habló de ello. No había apoyo. Un hombre joven le había preguntado a una maestra lo que ella pensaba. “Ella no sabía nada al respecto! Ella no vive en nuestra comunidad y ni siquiera había visto las noticias”. La declaración final sobre el tema, “la mayoría de nuestros maestros realmente no se preocupan.” Agregó otro joven, “Bueno, algunos si lo hacen.” Parecería que los niños nos están diciendo lo que es importante para ellos – pertenencia, propósito, límites, adultos que conocen y se preocupan por lo que están haciendo. Es hora de resucitar el movimiento y preguntarles a nuestros líderes, y a nosotros mismos, “Y, ¿cómo están los niños?” Todos los niños no están bien. Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


Precinct Caucuses Set To Select Delegates By Khadija Haynes

The Republican and Democratic precinct caucuses to select delegates who will represent candidates at each party’s various county and state assemblies for the 2018 election in Colorado will be held Tuesday March 6. While these precinct caucuses are open to the public, only people who are already registered with one of the parties are eligible to participate. Precinct (or district) caucuses (meetings) are the first step in the nominating process to select party candidates for office in Colorado. During the caucus, delegates (representatives) are elected from among the participants to represent specific gubernatorial candidates at the next level – the county caucus. At the county caucuses, delegates are selected to represent the county at the state caucus, which then selects the candidates for the primary elections on June 26. Colorado does allow unaffiliated voters to vote in the June 26 primary elections, but only those who registered with one of the parties 60 days in advance can become a delegate to the next level. The following 45 individuals are registered candidates for offices representing Montbello at the time this article was published. It is imperative that Montbello residents become active in these mid-term elections.

Candidate Name James Rashad Coleman Saria Rao Dianna DeGette Renee Evette Blanchard Adam Garrity Noel Ginsburg Moses Carmen Humes Michael Johnston Cary Kennedy Donna Lynne Jared Polis Michael Erwin Schroeder Erik Monroe Underwood Stephen Barlock Erich Daniel Braun Cynthia Coffman Lew Gaiter Teri Kear Greg Lopez Victor Mitchell Doug Robinson Jim Lennart Rundberg Walker Stapleton Jena Griswold Gabriel McArthur Phillip Villard Wayne W. Williams Bernard Knudson Douthit Steve Lebsock Charles Quin Scheibe David Young Brett Barkey Justin Everett Brita Horn Polly Lawrence Kevin Lundberg Brian Watson Michael Dougherty Brad Levin Amy L. Padden Joseph Anthony Salazar Phil Weiser George Brauchler Lesley Karen Smith



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MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


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Our Pillar: Community Supporting House Representative James Youth and Families Coleman’s Agenda for 2018 By Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Legislative Session Recently, we experienced hardship By Kwon Atlas, Chief of Staff for Rep. Coleman As State Representative James Coleman moves onto the 2nd session of his first term, he recognizes that there is a lot of work to be done, but he is ready for the challenge of the 2018 session. Following is a discussion of his legislative agenda as it particularly impacts families, children and youth.

and violence in our neighborhood among one of our most vulnerable populations - youth. As a mother who has raised my three children in Montbello, a community member of 25 years and Councilperson, I am heartbroken and express my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the young lives lost. I understand that feeling of loss, as I too lost a family member early in his life to violence. There is a certain reputation Montbello has when it comes to crime, but it is not an accurate representation of our community or us. It is an identity imposed on us by the media. Well, I do not accept it and neither does the Montbello community. We are a strong, vibrant and caring community. This is evident in the support and coordination of resources that immediately created a healing and safe space for people to express their grief and begin the healing process. I invite the media to join us in our community throughout the year for the various events, celebrations, and positive activities that we have going on in our neighborhoods. The community march created a way for us to come together and show that we will not tolerate violence in our neighborhoods. We have worked hard as a community to improve our quality of life and safety is a top priority. The march was one tool to show that we support and love our families, children and babies, and will be here for them. Every day in Montbello, and throughout Far Northeast Denver, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, schools and community groups work together for our community to ensure we are supporting our youth, families, and seniors. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the organizations and partners for your tireless work in our neighborhoods. In addition, I met with Mayor Hancock recently and asked for more resources in District 11 for youth programming, re-entry programs, and workforce opportunities. Our work together is making a difference and we must explore additional ways to provide more support. We know how valuable our youth voice and engagement in the community is, in District 11. Currently, my office has a youth leadership program called Next Gen Cabinet made up of about 65 active young people in the community. They participate in civic engagement by identifying and addressing issues of community concerns. Their concerns are just as important as our Community Cabinet and Montbello Leadership group, and their perspectives help guide my decisions and policy direction on Council. If you would like to participate in our Next Gen Cabinet please contact our program coordinator Dondre Smallwood at Before I was the Councilperson for District 11, I co-founded the nonprofit, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK). I know the true potential of our youth and our community and I dedicated my life to ensuring young people were supported to excel in school, graduate and look to that next step to have a sustainable career. Every organization that is serving our community becomes a thread in weaving together a strong network of support to ensure our families have the tools to succeed. My office has created a District 11 Stakeholders guide so that if you or a loved one needs access to resources the information is available at under the “Resources” tab on the right side of the page. You can always reach out to my council office at 720-337-7711 or

The Childcare Contribution Tax Credit Part of fulfilling the responsibilities of caring for and supporting the needs of our families means having to leave our children in someone else’s care while we head to work. Rep. Coleman supports continuing the Childcare Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC). The CCTC extends a current tax credit that is equal to 50% of the total value of a monetary contribution that a taxpayer makes to a child care facility or youth program. The goal of this bill is to promote child care by extending the tax credit for 5 more years. With this bill, we can give our child care facilities and youth programs the tools to create and facilitate enriching experiences for our children. Letting the credit expire will diminish philanthropic support of vital programs for children. With a bipartisan majority vote, the Childcare Contribution Tax Credit bill passed out of the Finance Committee and is heading to the Appropriations Committee.

The Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act Transparency is key in the community’s relationship with law enforcement. To that end, Rep. Coleman is working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC) on a bill to create that transparency. The Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA) makes it possible for the public to request investigation records of enforcement officials after an investigation has been executed and completed. The release of this information will be done in a manner that protects the sensitive personal information of those involved but will help remove feelings of uneasiness towards law enforcement and help increase trust with law enforcement and the communities they serve. This bill has been filed and is supported by Senator Marble. 16 & 17-years-old Voting in School Board Elections Rep. Coleman wants to encourage our youth to play an active role in their communities’ civic life. This is why he’s working on a bill concerning the minimum age at which a person is eligible to vote in an election relating to the school district in which the person resides. This bill will allow 16 and 17year-olds to be able to vote in public school board elections. The personal information of these voters will remain restricted from release or sell. Currently, this bill is still being drafted.

The Employment Support Services Fund Pilot Hardships in life are inevitable, despite how much we try to prepare for them. Rep. Coleman wants to help Coloradans who are experiencing economic hardships and wants to create an employment support services fund pilot targeted towards helping individuals who are underemployed or seeking employment. A managed fund would be established to reimburse employment-support organizations who cover employment-inhabiting expenses up to $400 for unemployed persons seeking employment or underemployed persons

Editor’s note: Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore represents District 11 which includes Montbello on Denver City Council. She is a longtime resident of Montbello and a passionate advocate for youth.

Continued on page 8

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


Continued from page 7


Renters Have a Right to a Level Playing Field

seeking better employment. Services that can be reimbursed will be limited to transportation, childcare, training, work tools and equipment, food and nutrition, utility bills, licenses and certifications, and legal services.

Safe Haven Law More than 100 newborn children are murdered or abandoned and left to die in the United States every year. Experts believe that for all the abandoned babies that are found, at least twice as many are not found. The Safe Haven law provides an affirmative defense against prosecution if a parent relinquishes the baby, unharmed, at a hospital or fire station within 72 hours after birth. The new bill expands Colorado’s laws to include staff members of free-standing emergency facilities as persons allowed to take temporary physical custody of infants 72 hours old or younger when the infant is voluntarily surrendered by its parent. By making free-standing emergency facilities part of this law, babies can be placed in safe environments, parents can be free from a lifetime of guilt or incarceration, and the community can be free from emotional and financial expense of infant mortality. This bill has passed in the Senate and is currently waiting for committee assignment in the House.

By State Sen. Angela Williams

Eviction rates in Denver are an economic and moral crisis. More than 8,000 eviction notices were filed in 2016. More than 8,000 of our friends and neighbors had to endure the wrenching process of falling upon hard times and losing the roof over their heads. The majority of eviction filings over the last three years alleged overdue rent. But “overdue rent” doesn’t mean falling thousands of dollars behind as some might imagine — the median amount alleged in public housing filings was about $250. The Denver Housing Authority, which operates some 12,000 public housing units, filed one eviction claiming just $4 in unpaid rent. Can you imagine losing your family’s home over $4? This spike in evictions is just one symptom of the ever-increasing cost of housing across Colorado. A recent study by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition found that a minimum-wage worker in Colorado would have to put in a mind-boggling 95 hours per week to afford a 2-bedroom rental. Many tenants are encountering new barriers that impede access to stable housing, causing rates of homelessness to rise considerably in many parts of state. Reversing these disturbing trends must be a top priority for state lawmakers. One of the first steps we can take is to establish basic consumer protections for renters. These are the kinds of rules that many Coloradans are shocked to find aren’t already written into law. For example, current law does not require landlords to provide renters with either a copy of their lease or a receipt for rent paid, which can create huge problems for low-income renters who often pay rent with cash or money order. Presently, there is no record of the transaction unless a landlord takes the optional step of providing a receipt of payment. Many renters have experienced hardships because they were not able to prove that they had, in fact, already paid rent. This can create greater instability in the lives of people who are already experiencing financial insecurity and must change. That’s why I’m introducing a bill which requires residential landlords to provide each tenant with a copy of a written rental agreement, as well as contemporaneous receipts for any payment made in person with cash or a money order. There is no reason landlords shouldn’t provide a receipt of payments received like any other business. I am also introducing a bill to significantly extend the amount of time renters have to resolve unpaid rent issues. Currently, landlords can serve renters with an eviction notice within just 3 days of an unpaid rent violation. This is a particular hardship for low-income families, many of whom have heads of households who work multiple jobs and have vanishingly little free time from work responsibilities. My “right to cure” bill extends this period to 14 days. Most evictions over unpaid rent involve relatively low dollar amounts. By giving working families more breathing room to resolve these issues amicably, we can make sure that horrible cases such as the $4 eviction never happen again. Housing is a core building block of a good life, and we must do everything in our power to make sure that all Coloradans can afford to keep a roof over their heads. We can start by taking these two small but important steps along the path to true housing justice. Y

The Young Americans Financial Education Fund Rep. Coleman believes in supporting organizations that educate our youth across all types of student and school demographics, which is why he is helping the Young Americans Financial Education Fund. He is pushing for Youth Americans Center for Financial Education Fund is added to the list of nonprofits that receive donations from the Voluntary Contributors Fund, allowing more attention to youth serving programs to be featured under this plan. This bill is currently being drafted. Y

For more information about these bills and or call 303-866-2909.



Editor’s note: Angela Williams is the current Colorado State Senator representing Senate District 33 which includes Montbello. She is proud to serve such a dynamic and diverse community. MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Changes to the tax code and what they mean for Colorado On December 22, President Trump signed into law the biggest overhaul of the federal tax code since 1986. With an estimated price tag of $1.46 trillion added to our federal deficit, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides large tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations and provides few true benefits to working communities. Although the TCJA may provide short term tax cuts to many Coloradans, every state resident will be hurt by the drastic changes in federal support for public investments.

This change benefits capital-intensive companies (think: real estate investment)

We tried this in 2004. 91ŕľ” of each dollarr brought back went to r workers

These tax cuts for businesses are permanent. Under the TCJA, Individual income tax cuts expire after 2025.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Montbello Organizing Committee Receives Grant From The Denver Foundation For A Grocery-StoreAnchored Cultural Hub

Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) is pleased to announce it has received a $41,000 grant from The Denver Foundation. These funds, awarded under the Economic Opportunity area of focus of the Foundation’s Community Grants Program, will support the development of a grocery store-anchored-cultural hub in Montbello, a component of MOC’s FRESHLO Initiative. The overall purpose of the FRESHLO Initiative is to create places in the community that promote cultural heritage, artistic expression, animate public and private spaces, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes, improved local business viability and public safety, and bring diverse peoples together. Collectively, these places will improve access to healthy, affordable food for all residents, building social cohesion and increasing physical activity within a vibrant culture. FRESHLO is made possible through the financial support of the Kresge Foundation. Denver’s Montbello community is one of only 23 sites nationwide to receive FRESHLO funding. Additional support and partnership to MOC is provided by the Colorado Health Foundation, Children’s Farms of America, Colorado Black Arts Movement, United Church of Montbello, Family Tree Market Grocers, LiveWell Colorado, Office of Economic Development, Burgess Services, Arts in Society, Art Tank, and residents, schools, and community groups of Montbello.

“The Denver Foundation salutes MOC for its tireless and effective efforts to take action on all of the priorities identified in its extensive community engagement process,” said Patrick Horvath, Deputy VP of Programs and Director of Economic Opportunity for The Denver Foundation. “Especially impressive has been MOC’s work to secure planning and implementation funds for this project, which have led to the development of a comprehensive community-driven plan for the redevelopment and revitalization of Montbello.” Terry Liggins, Executive Director of MOC said, “We are extremely excited about this project. MOC has worked to include the visions and desires of the community in the development of the Hub and will continue to integrate different perspectives of residents while engaging the guidance and support of experts as we turn this vision into reality in Montbello. The Denver Foundation was MOC’s first funder ever, and we are very grateful for the continued support they have rendered our community.” Y About Montbello Organizing Committee

The mission of the Montbello Organizing Committee is to help engage Montbello community members and provide them with tools to develop grassroots leadership skills to address issues that affect their quality of life and access to necessary resources. MOC envisions a community that is healthy, vibrant, strong, and economically viable, where the cultural heritage and diversity of the community are highlighted. For more information visit Montbello Organizing Committee on Facebook.

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Chief Executive Officer 303-587-6567 MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


Montbello in the Blueprint To End Hunger


The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger was released in Denver January 17, 2018 at a breakfast attended by a couple hundred advocates including food activists and educators, foundations, government agencies, and businesses. The Blueprint is the result of months of hard work by a dedicated group of experts and other stakeholders. In June 2017, the Colorado Health Foundation convened nearly 100 key stakeholders to more closely examine the challenges of hunger in Colorado and to develop solutions. Representatives from various sectors attended this meeting and agreed that Colorado needed a road map to achieve the goal of a hunger-free state, and the idea for the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger was born. A steering committee of more than 35 stakeholders — including outspoken Montbello food advocate, Khadija Haynes — provided leadership to create and advance the Blueprint, enhance public and political will to end hunger, and leverage their influence to sustain the momentum toward finding solutions. At the highest level, the Blueprint envisions linking systems and solutions to create real and meaningful progress and calls on communities to take action. Speaking on a panel aimed at characterizing the importance of ending hunger in all communities across Colorado, Ms. Haynes pointed out that “You can’t tell someone on Wednesday that they will eat on Sunday. They are hungry now.” Her comment underscored the urgency of addressing hunger in every neighborhood across the state. Montbello has long been addressing the question of hunger and many efforts are underway to expand the existing sustainable food access system to ensure that those who lack food security can get healthy, nutritious food for themselves and their families at low or no cost. Organizations in Montbello’s system include Families Forward Resource Center, Denver Food Rescue, Children’s Farms of America at Montbello Urban Farm, United Church of Montbello, Family Tree Market, Abarrotes Bondadosa, Academy 360, Marie Greenwood Elementary, McGlone Academy, John Amesse Elementary, City Council Districts 8 and 11, and Montbello FreshLo Initiative.Y

ing 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. Chitwood tends the 10,000-squarefoot garden, teaches residents about growing food, supervises volunteers and wages war with the neverending onslaught of weeds. “The best part of the Farm is watching things grow and mature and 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,” Chitwood said. The Urban Farm at Montbello in its fourth year is managed by Children’s Farms of America, which helps neighborhoods establish their own unique farm where their children learn about and then grow food for themselves and for their community. One of the organization’s goals 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. In this Denver neighborhood of 35,000 residents, one in four adults and one in two children live farther than one mile from a store with healthy, nutritious food. That translates to many families relying on a corner convenience store or a strip of fast food restaurants to meet their nutritional needs. Another goal of the effort is to address the health disparities that affect many residents in the community. According to the 2014 Health of Denver Report, 22 percent of public school children in Montbello neighborhoods are obese, higher than Denver overall. 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, food security, and physical activity. The Montbello Urban Farm provides opportunities for youth and adult groups and individuals to volunteer throughout the growing season. Chitwood noted that volunteer opportunities 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. The Montbello Urban Farm grows food for the community and distributes it biweekly through collaboration with United Church of Montbello and Food Bank of the Rockies. Several thousand pounds of fresh vegetables are distributed throughout the growing season. The final goal of the effort is to promote the spread of these small urban farms throughout the Montbello community in partnership with several neighborhood schools and churches. 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 expanding the farm. With luck and perseverance, a year-round greenhouse and food co-op could be in the community’s future.Y

Editor’s note: As a result of ongoing efforts in the community, Montbello was recognized as one of a handful of current efforts around the state that is addressing food insecurity. The Montbello story that was featured follows. For more information about the Blueprint and to read all the stories, go to

Montbello Neighborhood Builds Its Own Food Future

(excerpted from Colorado Blueprint To End Hunger, 2018) Like a busy little bee, the little red-haired 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. Four-year-old Khaleesi is accomplishing exactly what the Montbello Urban Farm set out to do in this neighborhood where access to fresh, healthy food is limited. She is learning where her food comes from by grow-

Editor’s note: To read more Colorado stories, visit Reprinted with permission.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Blueprint To End Hunger In Colorado

Alexis Weightman, senior policy officer at the Colorado Health Foundation, which funded the blueprint, said hunger is a key social determinant to health. She pointed to studies showing that people who have reliable access to nutritious food have lower rates of chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, high blood pressure, and heart disease. “Those who are experiencing hunger have significantly higher health care costs, and also disproportionately experience chronic illnesses,” Weightman said. “Having food security also reduces stress and cortisol levels throughout the lifespan.” Bob O’Connor, president of the group Feeding Colorado, said hunger can be a silent disability. He said with one in 10 Coloradans facing food insecurity, it’s likely that someone you know is struggling. He said for the blueprint to work, it’s important for individuals to get involved at the community level and connect with the people behind the statistics. “It’s about those children that go home in the evening and don’t have enough food in the house, come back to school and have to try and learn the next day,” O’Connor said. “It’s about seniors that have to make that choice between food and medicine, or food and heat. Those are the real people.” Y

Denver, Co – A new coalition - including nonprofits, health care providers, state agencies, schools and more - has launched a new campaign aimed at ending hunger in Colorado. Ki’i Powell, director of the Office of Economic Security at the Colorado Department of Human Services, said currently, one in six children and one-tenth of Colorado’s seniors don’t know where their next meal will come from. Powell said the coalition’s new report, The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, is just the first step in addressing what she sees as a solvable problem. “We feel that Colorado is up to the challenge of ending hunger in our state,” Powell said; “and through the efforts of collaboration - and a plan can effectively do this.” Powell said the blueprint’s recommendations include streamlining coordination efforts so that more eligible Coloradans can connect with existing programs including WIC - the Woman, Infants and Children Food and Nutrition Service - as well as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The plan also calls for a boost in the number of people who access food through community-based services.

Enrolling K-3rd grades for 2018-19 School Year

Enrolling Infants, Toddlers & Preschool

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La Ronda 1 de la Escojo Mi Escuela de las DPS acaba de finalizar, pero aún hay tiempo para aprender cómo su hijo puede sobresalir en nuestra Escuela Primaria Montessori GRATIS a tiempo para la Ronda 2.

Presentamos nuestra nueva clase de preescolar bilingüe. Comience el camino de su hijo para ser bilingüe en inglés y español.

Editor’s note: Eric Galatas, Public News Service – CO. Public News Service (PNS) is a member-supported news service that advocates journalism in the public interest. PNS’s network of state-based news services distributes high quality public interest news and information to both mainstream and alternative media on a daily basis.

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4895 Peoria St MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



What Are Denver’s Youth Saying About Their Health and Meaning of Success In Their Community?

• Less than half of youth said they would talk to an adult if they felt sad (even less among youth who identify as LBGT). • 18 percent of high school females have considered attempting suicide (45 percent among youth who identify as LBGT).

Threat 2 – Substance Use - Youth respondents identified use of drugs and alcohol as a key issue affecting youth health, primarily alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco as well as prescription drugs and heroin. • 28 percent reported having used alcohol in the past 30 days. • 25 percent reported having used marijuana in the past 30 days. • 10 percent reported having used prescription drugs without a prescription. • Youth visits to an emergency room for alcohol related issues (1,237) were on average twice as many as visits for marijuana use (612).

What is the most important issue impacting your health and the health of the young people you know? Why? What does success look like for you in your community? These were the questions posed in a 2017 survey of Denver’s youth. Every three to five years Denver Public Health (DPH) and Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) collaboratively produce a health assessment. In 2017, that assessment focused on the health of Denver’s youth. Young people 13–25 years of age comprise about 15 percent of Denver’s population. For purposes of conducting the assessment, DPH and DDPHE hired nine youth as research consultants and subject matter experts. For months these young people worked with a core team of researchers from the departments to review youth health data from 2011 – 2015, design and implement a survey, conduct focus groups, and analyze the data. The report states that, “by engaging young people directly, this YHA ensured that identified issues and opportunities aligned with youth-defined needs and desires for improvement and change. The YHA highlights ways in which young people described thriving, while illuminating some key challenges facing Denver’s youth that differ from Denver’s adult experience. This assessment lays a foundation for youth-focused, preventive efforts for equitable opportunities to achieve optimal health and quality of life.”

Threat 3 – Challenges Related to living a Healthy Life - Youth respondents expressed hope for their future and are interested in setting long-term goals for themselves. They want to graduate from high school and college and they want to be able to care for themselves and their family. At the same time, they are concerned about the obstacles they face to living a healthy everyday life. They defined a healthy lifestyle as the ability to eat healthy, stay physically active, and get adequate sleep. • 43 percent of Denver’s youth are at an unhealthy weight (22 percent obese, 17 percent overweight and 4 percent underweight • 1 in 3 high school students report getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night on school nights • More than 50 percent of high school students report they do get the recommended one hour per day of physical activity five or more days per week • 1 in 4 high school students have had multiple sex partners in the previous 3 months • 36 out of 1000 Denver youth were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2016.

Vital Statistics Data is available that characterizes how youth are dying and becoming injured. Basic youth health information collected through vital statistics registries paints a broad stroke portrait of youth experience in Denver, but doesn’t give the depth of youth experiences about how they are living nor does it give insight as to what is required to ensure that youth thrive. Nevertheless, the stats are a starting place. According to the Registries & Vital Statistics Branch, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2011-2015, the top three causes of death among youth ages 13 – 25 were identified as: • Unintentional injuries such as car crashes, poisoning, drowning were the most common cause of death. • Suicide was the second leading cause of death. • Assault/homicide was the third leading cause of death. In that same span of years more than 3400 youth were transported by paramedics to a hospital emergency room each year as a result of a trauma incident. During those five years transports grew by 17 percent. Denver Health Paramedic Division reported that car accidents, assaults and fights, and falls were the top three leading causes of emergency trauma transports among youth.

Threat 4 – Safety and Exposure to Violence - Youth reported they do not feel safe and that violence negatively affects their health and wellbeing. Many report feeling constantly on edge due to feeling unsafe at home, in their neighborhoods, and at school. On the other hand, the pervasiveness of violence in schools and communities has led youth to feel desensitized to such a degree that violence and gang activity feels normal. • More than 6,000 violent crimes against youth were reported between 2015 and 2016. • More than 17,000 young people were arrested in Denver in 2015 and 2016. • Denver County Probation estimates about 25 percent of their youth affiliate with gangs. • Rate of firearm homicide was highest in Denver among the 15-24-year age group as compared to all other age groups. • 11 percent of high school students report they regularly carried a weapon in the past 30 days. • 11 percent of high school youth were threatened or injured because of gang activity in the past 12 months. • 1 in 12 high school students reported experiencing rape.

Threats to Youth Health and Wellbeing Below are some of the threats identified through the youth-led data collection and listening session. Also included are data from Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 2015. Every adult, policymaker, youth advocate, elected official, etc. should take heed.

Threat 5 – Loss of Community Identity in the Face of Changing Neighborhoods - Youth respondents placed a high value on community connectedness and knowing their neighbors. They wanted to improve their neighborhoods and they craved a connection to their neighbors. They expressed a desire for decision makers, the police and other city officials to hear their voices. Youth were concerned about the impact of rapid changes in population on their neighborhood’s longstanding identity. They expressed deep concerns about whether they would even be able to keep living in their own homes and communities. The youth have spoken loud and clear. Will we as a community step up to the challenge? Will we create a better, safer, more caring environment for our children and youth? We must, Montbello! Y

Threat 1 – Mental Health Challenges - Youth spoke specifically about depression and how the pressure to perform well in school and life contributes to their mental health. More than 10% of the respondents identified stress as a key issue affecting youth health. • Six out of 10 females and 4 out of 10 males reported poor mental health. • 30 percent of high school students reported feeling sad for at least two weeks in a row which led to stopping their normal activities.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



New Montbello Open Space Park Gets Climbing Wall From The North Face

discussion out there right now surrounding public lands, and … urban public lands can be overlooked in those conversations.” The confluence of all the effort between The North Face, the Trust for Public Lands, Great Outdoors Colorado and the nonprofit Environmental Learning for Kids arrives in the form of a climbing wall in a blossoming By Jason Blevins, Denver Post; community park adjacent to a low-income community that’s a short stroll Photo Credit: Hyong Chang, Denver Post Editor’s note: This article was published in the Denver Post online on January 24, from Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the chemical manufacturing plant-turnedwildlife refuge. 2018 and is reprinted here with permission. Montbello, a community of 35,000, is A climbing wall coming to a new park in about 60 percent Latino. The Piton Denver’s Montbello neighborhood is the first Foundation estimates about 23 percent of the in The North Face’s million-dollar “Walls Are community’s families live in poverty and 40 Meant for Climbing” campaign, which the percent of Montbello kids live in single-parapparel maker hopes will skew the national ent homes. And there aren’t many parks. dialogue around walls away from politics The Trust for Public Lands bought the 5.5toward rocky cliffs that inspire, challenge and acre vacant lot, which sits across from a 7unite. Eleven at Albrook Drive and East 46th The wall, part of the soon-to-open Avenue, as part of its goal to seed parks Montbello Open Space Park, is part of a within 10 minutes of every urban American. statewide master plan to get more kids outThe trust gave the parcel to the City of side. It also reflects the intent of Colorado’s Denver in December 2014, and the city inked efforts to land the influential Outdoor Retailer a long-term lease with Environmental trade shows in Denver and jibes with the outLearning for Kids, which envisioned the door industry’s work to attract more diverse Tom Brusca, superintendent of Sky Blue Builder points to the spot for a community’s first open-space park, offering customers and leaders. “There’s sort of no downside here,” said Tom climbing wall on the map of the Environmental Learning for Kids and gardens, kiosks, trails and an educational cenHerbst, the marketing boss at The North Face, Montbello Open Space Project during a visit to the site Jan. 23, 2018 in ter providing science and outdoor programs Denver. The North Face is contributing $1 million toward Montbello’s to kids who might not be looking at careers in which last summer launched its “Walls Are Meant for Climbing” with free climbing days at Environmental Learning for Kids and Open Space Project, with plans to science. Construction of the open-space portions of 50 gyms across the world. The climbing wall in build a massive climbing wall. the $6 million park began in May 2016. A Montbello, which should be open by summer, is the first of at least four public climbing wall and the park’s natural play areas feed into ELK’s underlying facilities The North Face hopes to build in underserved urban communities mission to push local kids into the outdoors to spark leadership that could across the country. “If we can do 30 more, I’ll do 30 more,” Herbst said. “There’s just a ton of lead to jobs in science, technology, engineering and natural resources. “What a great metaphor that this is about climbing, just getting kids out climbing and learning what that means, with team-building and relying on other people and challenging themselves,” said Loretta Pineda, the executive director of the 20-year-old Environmental Learning for Kids group. “I want them to climb into the boardroom and climb into these other fields of natural resources where they can be in the place where the decisions are being made on public lands and these kinds of public places.” Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2016 announced what he called an “intoxicating vision” where, within a generation, every resident of Colorado will live within a 10-minute walk of green space and trails. Great Outdoors Colorado launched a sort of GOCO 2.0 to direct lottery funds beyond land preservation and toward inspiring Coloradans to enjoy those open spaces. Later that year, GOCO tapped six pilot communities for the first round of funding under the Inspire Initiative, delivering $2.7 million to a coalition of northeast metro groups pushing to expand access to Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge and develop outdoor recreation programs through the Bluff Lake Nature Center and Environmental Learning for Kids. The North Face was initially drawn to Denver through its work with the Trust for Public Lands. It’s coincidental that the company was able to announce the first public climbing wall in its “Walls Are Meant for Climbing” campaign during Denver’s first hosting of the combined Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show event. “We in Colorado are blessed with great access to the outdoors, but that access is not available to everybody, and that means we all need to pull together to make sure every kid in the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs, Aurora, everywhere has the opportunity to get outdoors and, most importantly, get physically active,” Petterson said. “One thing I think is cool is the route we are trying to get up when bouldering is called a problem. This is about coupling teamwork with problem solving and enhancing access to the outdoors. It’s such a perfect match.” Y MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs Brings on Community Integration Coordinator

La oficina es parte de la Agencia de Derechos Humanos y Relaciones Comunitarias. En 2015, se le dio su nombre actual y desde entonces es la oficina a cargo de las estrategias de integración de inmigrantes en la ciudad, una tarea que ya se realizaba desde 2005 junto con la comunidad, las empresas y las organizaciones no lucrativas. María Corral nació y se crió en Denver, Colorado, y es la orgullosa hija de inmigrantes del norte de México. Le ha dedicado su vida profesional a la comunidad de Denver como voluntaria en varias organizaciones no lucrativas, educativas y laborales. María se especializa en promoción comunitaria, desarrollo de relaciones de colaboración, alcance comunitario, relaciones públicas y comunicaciones. Estudió Leyes, Sociedad y Comunicaciones en la Universidad de Denver y participó del Instituto de Liderazgo Latino. Es la copresidente de la Asociación de Exalumnos Latinos de la Universidad de Denver. “Inmigración es el tema que más compasión merece en nuestra época”, dijo María. “Es un tema que requiere ayuda, humanidad y respeto, a la vez que se incorpora el deseo de respetar la ley. Como comunidad, necesitamos equilibrar los argumentos lógicos y emocionales con soluciones compasivas, sensibles y justas. Me entusiasma sumarme fuerzas con Jamie para trabajar en esa dirección en nombre de los inmigrantes y refugiados de la ciudad”. Hasta recientemente María fue la coordinadora de comunicaciones del Sindicato Internacional de Empleados de Servicio (SEIU), Local 2015, donde estuvo a cargo de estrategias de comunicación de los trabajadores, incluyendo la campaña “Justicia para Limpiadores”, que exigía buenos trabajos, condiciones laborales seguras y salarios dignos. María es miembro fundadora de la Organización de Colorado de Oportunidades y Derechos Reproductivos de Latinas (COLOR por sus siglas en inglés), que desde hace 18 años se enfoca en construir un movimiento de latinas, sus familias y sus aliados por medio del desarrollo de líderes, organización y promoción comunitaria. Y

María Corral will work to expand partnerships, serve need. The Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs brings on this month its first Community Integration Coordinator. María Corral is coming on board to expand community partnerships and develop new ways to meet the needs of Denver’s immigrant and refugee communities. “I’m thrilled to welcome María. She has unparalleled enthusiasm for this work and concrete experience building relationships and prioritizing community needs,” said Jamie Torres, director of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs. “I’ve been waiting many years to share this important work with someone, and I couldn’t be happier that we have found a force multiplier to carry out Denver’s strong and growing immigrant integration work.” The office, which is part of the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships and was renamed and refocused in 2015, has been leading the city’s immigrant integration strategies in partnership with community, business and nonprofit providers since 2005. María Corral is a first-generation Coloradan and Denver native and the proud daughter of immigrants from northern México. She has served the Denver community in her professional life and as a volunteer at various nonprofits, education and labor organizations. María specializes in advocacy, building collaborative relationships, outreach, public relations and communications. She studied Law and Society and Communications at the University of Denver and was a fellow of the Latino Leadership Institute. She co-chairs the University of Denver Latino Alumni Association. “Immigration is the issue most deserving of compassion in our time,” María said. “It’s an issue that requires help, humanity and respect while also taking into account a desire to uphold the law. As a community, we need to balance the logical and emotional arguments with solutions that are compassionate, sensible and just. I am so excited to join forces with Jamie to work in that direction on behalf of the city’s immigrants and refugees.” Most recently, María served as the Communications Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union, Local 105, where she managed communications strategy for workers, including the Justice for Janitors’ campaign for good jobs, safe working conditions and fair wages. María is a founding board member of the Colorado Organization of Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, which has focused on building a movement of Latinas, their families, and allies through leadership development, organizing and advocacy for 18 years. Y

Para más información, contactar a o 720-913-8451.

María can be reached at or 720-913-8451.

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes y Refugiados incorpora a la Coordinadora de Integración Comunitaria

María Corral se enfocará en expandir las oportunidades de cooperación. La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes y Refugiados incorporó este mes a la primera Coordinadora de Integración Comunitaria, María Corral. Corral se enfocará en expandir las oportunidades de colaboración comunitaria y en desarrollar nuevas maneras de satisfacer las necesidades de las comunidades de inmigrantes y refugiados de Denver. “Me alegra darle la bienvenida a María. Ella tiene un entusiasmo incomparable para este trabaja y sólida experiencia en desarrollar relaciones y priorizar las necesidades de la comunidad”, dijo Jamie Torres, directora de la Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes y Refugiados. “He esperado muchos años para compartir este importante trabajo con alguien más. Me alegra mucho que he encontrado a una fuerza multiplicadora para llevar adelante la fuerte y creciente tarea de integrar a los inmigrantes de Denver”.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Report From DPD District 5 By Lt. Ken Chavez

Update on Recent Shootings in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch


n an effort to be transparent, informative, and to dispel inaccurate rumors and social media postings, our investigations into the double homicide on Saturday night, Feb 3rd, in Montbello at Andrews & Elgin Pl and the shooting at the King Soopers in Green Valley Ranch on Sunday morning, Feb 4th, revealed that the two shootings are in no way connected, are not gang-motivated, and that there is no reason to fear retaliatory follow-on actions in the community. The lone male suspect in the King Soopers shooting was arrested shortly after the incident as a result of invaluable witness information and prompt police response. Two suspects have been identified and arrested on the Montbello shooting. Anyone with additional information on this shooting is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 720 913-STOP (7867). Denver Police presence has been increased in these two areas to ensure public safety.

Preventable “Puffer” Auto Thefts in Northeast Denver

Since the beginning of November, more than 60 “Puffer” (unattended running vehicles) Auto Thefts have occurred in Northeast Denver. They predominantly occur on cold mornings when people leave their cars running on the street in front of their homes. There have even been several cases where a “Puffer” was taken from a driveway and even from inside an open garage. Leaving a car running unattended exposes car owners to an unnecessary crime risk and an unwanted loss of one of their most valuable life tools; their car. Try to imagine the effect upon you and your family if you should suddenly lose your car. Often times, the stolen car is recovered damaged and with personal property missing. In an effort to educate citizens on the dangers of unattended running cars, Denver Police District 5 Officers have been driving through Northeast neighborhoods in the morning hours and warning owners when Puffers are sighted. By refraining from “Puffing,” auto theft incidents are greatly reduced. Neighborhood Watch in Your Neighborhood is a useful tool in reducing crime is the Neighborhood Watch Program. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch on your block, please call Community Resource Officer Putnam at 720-913-1405 or Officer Dominguez at 720-913-1417. Y

Editor’s note: Lt. Ken Chavez is a 39-year veteran of the Denver Police Dept and currently serves as the District 5 Day Shift Commander.

Dr. Phil Hart Named 2018 Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professor

Metropolitan State University of Denver selected Denver native and veteran urban planner, real estate developer, university professor, author, and filmmaker, Dr. Phil Hart as the 2018 Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professor. On Sunday, March 11, Dr. Hart will lead a free community event from 3-4:30 p.m. at Shorter Community AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Court, in Denver. Dr. Hart will deliver a community Keynote addressing the theme, Race Today: A Century of Noel. Rachel B. Noel, born in 1918, would be 100 today. Dr. Hart will provide a black urban planner’s perspective on gentrification, economic development and social injustices and their effect on African Americans during the past 100 years. Following his address, a panel discussion featuring Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, the Reverend Quincy Shannon, and Mr. Tay Anderson will provide perspectives from the community. This event is free and open to the public. On Monday and Tuesday March 12 and 13, Dr. Hart will address students at MSU Denver as well as students from Denver Public Schools’ Noel Community Arts School, on this topic from the perspective of his specialties; Sociology, Urban Planning/Land Use, and Aviation. The Noel professorship develops multiculturalism, diversity and academic excellence at MSU Denver and continues to reflect historic achievements and inspire future generations of leaders. It brings renowned scholars and artists of distinction to the University to conduct classes, seminars, performances and lectures for students, faculty and the larger Denver community. For more information visit MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Reduction, Intervention, Support, And Educate (R.I.S.E. Network)

1. Assess the Situation • Once R.I.S.E Network is contacted or there is a public incident in the community we then implement a Call to Action. We want to assess the situation, but how do we know is there is a problem if we are not contacted. You are welcome to contact the network if: -You are dealing with OR you are an active gang member. -You need intervention support for your family, school or organization -You have a youth showing violent behavior -There was an incident that you feel R.I.S.E Network can help with

By LaToya Petty

Editor’s note: R.I.S.E Network organized a March Against Violence and a vigil in support of grieving families in response to the February shootings in Far Northeast Denver. A Safe Haven to provide support to community members experiencing trauma was activated at New Life Christian Center at 12875 Andrews Drive)

2. Call to Action • R.I.S.E. network will implement a Call to Action. We meet as a network, discuss the situation and find the best solution for the situation. • R.I.S.E. network will assign a partner that best fits your unique request. • Depending on the situation, we will create a Plan of Action. Social Activism- If the situation warrants public attention, R.I.S.E. network will spearhead a public, community supported campaign.

About R.I.S.E. Network The R.I.S.E network was created to provide intervention services in the community specifically in response to gang, gun and senseless acts of violence. The R.I.S.E Network exists because the community has responsibility in the health of families, youth and the prevention of violent acts. The network is a collaborative effort between the Gang Reduction Initiatives of Denver, the Denver District 5 Police Department, and multiple community partners including Families Forward Resource Center, Struggle of Love Foundation, Families Against Violent Acts, and Denver Public Schools. As a collaborative network we are able to provide direct services to individuals, schools and organizations that can benefit from violence intervention programs. There is a place for everyone around the table. According to the Comprehensive Gang Model, the following entitles have a direct impact in the health of the community: Law Enforcement, Community Outreach Organizations, Business Leaders, Schools, Health and Social Service Agencies, Employment Services, Courts/Probation/Parole, City/County Leadership, Faith-Based Organizations and Community Leaders. The network meets once a month to discuss gang dynamics and to find solutions for those needing assistance from the network. We also focus on Social Activism which consists of community events, anti-gang marketing campaigns, community mobilization against gang activity, and senseless acts of violence including gun violence and bullying.

3. Outcomes •Your R.I.S.E Network will utilize the network to provide programming, support and resources for the individuals involved in hopes to:

Goal of R.I.S.E. — REDUCE GANG VIOLENCE, REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE, and SUPPORT AT-RISK YOUTH There is strength in numbers. A collaboration of many entities working together to combat violence is a powerful force. Together we are able to offer support in the following areas: Systems Navigation, Re-Entry Programs, Drug & Alcohol Counseling, Employment Opportunities, Education Opportunities, Mental Health, Mentoring, Youth Sports & Healthy Activities, Youth Development, Parenting Classes, Fatherhood Support, Pregnancy Support, Family Planning / Counseling and Domestic Violence Support.

Montbello R.I.S.E. Network Partners •Prevention: Steps to Success, Boys & Girls Clubs, Denver Parks and Recreation Intervention: Gang Reduction Initiatives of Denver, Denver Police Department, Denver Juvenile Probation, Families Against Violent Acts, Struggle of Love Foundation. •Education: Denver Public Schools, Project P.E.A.C.E, Spin Enterprises, Project Proud Fatherhood, out Inheritance LLC. •Resource Support: Families Forward Resource Center, District 11 City Council: Stacie Gilmore, District 8 City Council: Christopher Herndon. •Faith/Spirituality: My Brother’s Keeper, Now Faith Christian Center Church, Safe Haven Network. By providing communitybased intervention support for youth and young adults affiliated with or at-risk of being involved in gang violence, we will reduce the amount of youth that get caught in the system and give them a fighting chance at life. Utilize the network; we are here for the community.Y

Effectiveness One of the problems R.I.S.E network hopes to eliminate is duplication of services in the community. There is always someone coming up with a bright idea, and ideas are good, but not if someone else has already developed a solution and is executing the task in an efficient manner. We don’t need fifty more nonprofits competing to provide services to the same target audience. Funds are scarce in the nonprofit world, and it’s difficult to find funding for much needed community support that may not be a “hot topic” for grantors. R.I.S.E. Network invites individuals to join established entities that already have infrastructures that create measurable outcomes. You can merge your program, or idea with a network partner or, you can operate independently within the network. Our goal is to communicate efficiently with each other so we can utilize our strengths as a community to combat violence.

How the Network Works There are 3 steps the network follows to produce healthy outcomes:

Editor’s note: For more information, contact La Toya Petty at Families Forward Resource Center 303-307-0718. Ms. Petty is Director of Development of Families Forward Resource Center.

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


Athletics and Beyond



By Donna Garnett, MS

ince 2005, Athletics and Beyond has been a powerful influence in the lives of Montbello youth, literally thousands of them. Athletics & Beyond (A&B) was created by brothers Ali and Narcy Jackson to address the needs of students in 8th – 12th grades who are at risk of dropping out of school. They were responding to the fact that around half of all DPS 9th grade students failed to graduate by 12th grade. Coach Narcy explains that “we started out with Youth Athletic Clinics at Montbello High School exposing boys and girls to football, basketball, baseball. But as we grew as a program we realized that the kids weren’t collegeready. The had strong sports skills but were not prepared for college or a career. Capable of college athletics, too many didn’t meet NCAA eligibility requirements because of their grades and that meant no college.” With that realization, A&B reached out to Teresa Pena, then Denver Public School Board member and Andrea Merida Cuellar who helped them approach DPS. As a result, they were able to provide an NCAA workshop for all DPS athletic staff and school counselors. Jackson goes on to say, “The programs shifted from just athletics to mentoring around four components — Educational Success, Life Skills Building, Career Options, and Athletic Development. Denver Scholarship Fund (DSF) stepped up and helped guide DPS to address the needs of the students to be ready to go forward. From that we began our focused effort in Montbello where we were provided venues through many community partnerships.” Athletics and Beyond’s mission is to create opportunity through exposure. As a resident-led nonprofit organization, staff and volunteers work tirelessly





DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby

to increase and expand the educational trajectories of students who might otherwise be at-risk for high school failures. The program utilizes a whole child approach. In other words, a focus on all aspects of a child’s development – physical, social, intellectual, and emotional. Some of the Athletic programs include 7v7 football, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, strength and conditioning training, and baseball. The Beyond category includes academic support, resources, and intensive mentoring. A&B also hosts National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center workshops, requires academic tutoring and provides ACT and SAT preparation and testing, and monitoring of students’ academic progress. They offer Girls Empowerment workshops, Boys Life Beyond Sports workshops, and SWAG - Strong Women and Gentlemen (strong in mind body and soul) workshops. Working with Black Student Alliance (BSA), A&B accompany a group of up to 15 students each year as they tour Historically Black Colleges and Universities. “These tours expose kids to experiences that they have never had. Many of them have never been outside of Denver, Colorado. We visit the institutions of higher education but we also expose them to the culture of the area we are visiting. They learn about different customs, foods, and about financial literacy as they have to budget their $200 stipend to ensure that they cover all their needs on the trip,” Coach Narcy says. A follow-up interview included visiting with student, Anthony King, 17 and a student at Dr. Martin Luther King Early College in Green Valley Ranch. Anthony talked about his involvement with A&B while he participated in weight training on the Montbello Campus. “I love that they (Athletics and Beyond) don’t just value athletics. One day I won’t be an athlete anymore, but I will always have my education. No one can take that away from me.” Anthony’s dream is to attend the University of Washington and to major in Civil Engineering. This story would not be complete without recognizing the passion and commitment evidenced in Coach Narcy. With his brother and an army of supporters he has built something that impacts the lives of so many kids in ways that launch them into a productive and positive future. His work doesn’t stop at the door of the gym, the classroom, or the playing field. He is relentless in his advocacy for education and equity for youth. One of his important contributions was to serve on DPS’ African American Education Commission. The recommendations that were put forth by the Commission are strong and with great merit. Coach is quick to point out that DPS is not living up to those yet. His work is not done and that is a good thing for Montbello’s youth. Y

Editor’s note: To learn more about Athletics and Beyond and to sign up for athletic clubs, workshops, SAT preparation, etc. visit them at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018



Montbello Students Challenged by Lack of Adequate Transportation By Donna Garnett

A few months ago, I happened to catch the early evening news just as a

staff member was talking to a reporter about the challenges faced by

Montbello students who are pursuing their high school education downtown at Emily Griffith High School (EGHS). I was surprised to learn that 39 stu-

dents or approximately 11 percent of the school’s population is comprised of

youth between the ages of 17 and 20 years from Montbello. I was not surprised to hear that these students are challenged significantly by their limited transportation options. The story is one we hear repeatedly from our high school students who have “choiced” into schools that are not within the neighborhood. The difference is that for the EGHS students this is most likely their last chance at finishing high school. Recently, I spoke with Stacy MacDonald, a counselor at the school, who is shepherding efforts to address the transportation issue. “Students tell us their commute is up to two hours each way to get to and from school. Many take one or more buses and the train to get downtown. They still have to catch the mall shuttle and walk some distance to get to school. It can take longer if the train or bus is late – weather is a huge factor, she says.” This means that at those times students are late for their first class. “Amazingly, they still keep coming.” When asked why the students are so motivated to get there, Ms. MacDonald posits that for a number of reasons the students have not succeeded in other high schools and that at EGHS, “they have found a supportive community that is equipped to meet their needs so that they experience personal success, they find their place.” Emily Griffith High School has been an alternative high school since 1985. The school provides pathways for students who choose to pursue their high school diploma or GED and post-secondary goals. The program makes it possible for students to demonstrate competency in courses while having the opportunity to simultaneously engage in college, career, and technical education programs. EGHS is focused on retrieving students who left high school before earning a diploma and ultimately graduate. EGHS offers courses toward a high

school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. The core classes meet Colorado State Standards just like in any other Colorado high school. The Denver Public Schools certifies the diplomas and the Colorado Department of Education accredits the school. In addition, EGHS offers a GED program – which includes dual enrollment that often leads to kids getting enrolled in college or technical college. In the past two years, staff has launched several pilots to help get students to school, including piloting a LYFT program and purchasing parking spaces in near-by pay lots to help out students who drive to school. Stacy and others are working with the DPS Transportation Department to get a school bus route that would pick up students at a central location in Montbello and transport them to EGHS. This would mean a 35-minute commute as opposed to one or two hours. The hangup – there is not a drop-off location near the school as required by the district. Solutions are being discussed but are costly. In the end those costs may be the deal breaker.Y Editor’s note: For more information about enrolling in EGHS call Stacy MacDonald at 720-423-4941 or email her at or Rob Dilworth, Dean of Culture at 720-423-4924 or at

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


Programs That Support Montbello Youth


Editor’s Note: Many nonprofit programs work with youth in the community to keep them safe and support their educational, physical, and mental health needs. The ones described below are just the tip of the iceberg of what is working in Montbello. More organizations will be highlighted in this section in the June/July issue of the MUSE.

Montbello Warriors Rugby Club

It is a warm late winter day at Montbello Central Park, and a group of gangly, overly active young men are warming up and practicing maneuvers that will prepare them for their experiences on the rugby field. Coach Corey Carter, a second year Chemistry and Physics teacher and a Ritchie Administration Intern at Noel Community Arts High School (NCAS) helps this rowdy band stay focused on the tasks at hand. When he first came to NCAS two years ago some of the fellas found out that he had coached rugby in South Florida and implored him to start a club. Initially, there were not quite enough boys to start a club so they joined in with Aurora’s Saracens Club. The boys were warmly received, but still wanted their own Montbello club. Word spread and the young men set about their own campaign to recruit members for 2017-2018 and now have a club of 24-25 players on the team. Like all Warriors teams, the Rugby Club is made up of students from DCIS, NCAS, VISTA, Collegiate Preparatory Academy, and other local schools. The team is looking forward to their first official season as a Division 2 start-up team. The season begins March 9 for them with the first game in Castle Rock against the Pirates and continues through April 29. When asked why rugby – isn’t it a rough sport with lots of injuries, the coach and the guys are quick to point out that that is a mis-perception. “Rugby came before football, think of it as football’s father.” Because the kids play without pads, the rules or laws of rugby are stringent and closely adhered to. The goal of the sport is for the players to be safe and to incorporate respect for themselves, their teammate, and their opponents at all costs. Like all teachers, Coach Carter is up to his ears with all his responsibilities at the school 9not to mention his personal life), but he chooses to volunteer his time to work with these boys because of what rugby meant to him as a youth. “Rugby taught be to believe in myself and to lift others up. These young men are developing trust, commitment and a passion about training.” What is the evidence that these values are being incorporated into the lives of the team members? Mr. Carter relayed a story about a recent incidence outside the school in which two male students were engaged in an altercation – a fight. “The rugby team members raced outside and broke up the fight and

talked the boys down from their anger. The two who were fighting are now members of the rugby club. Our kids are some of the most compassionate of any kids that I have ever met. They lift each other up, they help bring each other’s grades up. When it came time to pay their dues to Rugby Colorado, the ones who could, paid the dues for those who couldn’t.” Find out more about the Rugby Club on their Facebook Page at Montbello Warriors Rugby. Rugby isn’t just for boys. There is already a growing list of girls who want to get involved in the sport as well. Y


Sometimes we aren’t necessarily aware of the organizations that help our neighborhood youth. One of those organizations is TeamWorks. TeamWorks is a collaborative program between Lincoln Hills Cares and TEENS, Inc., both are educational nonprofits located in the Front Range. Since 2000, the TeamWorks program has engaged diverse groups of youth from Denver and rural areas in an eight-week, education-based conservation program during summer break. Quite a few Montbello youth ranging in age from 16 – 22 years have participated in this program where they learn the value of hard work undertaken as a team. The youth get paid for their work and their work contributes mightily to the very community in which they live. For the last four years, TeamWorks has contribute literally hundreds of hours of work at the Montbello Children’s Urban Farm located onsite at the United Church of Montbello. Because of the hard work these youths contribute, literally thousands of pounds of fresh food are distributed to the Montbello Food Pantry, the FreshLo Pop-up Farmer’s Market, and no-cost grocery distribution centers such as those conducted in conjunction with Denver Food Rescue, Food Bank of the Rockies, and others. Farm manager, Austin Chitwood says, “we literally couldn’t do this every year without the help of these young people.” TeamWorks’ mission is to connect young people with nature and community. Each summer the program integrates 30 rural and 30 urban youth into five mixed crews, and through community-based environmental activities they develop collaboration skills and foster environmental stewardship. TeamWorks incorporates paid work with education in the natural sciences, life skills and career preparation. Participants learn about, work on and lead projects related to environmental conservation alongside public land and nonprofit partners. Examples of projects include trail building, noxious weed removal, urban gardening, watershed restoration and fire mitigation. One teen crewmember stated, “TeamWorks has been a blessing to me. It has taught me to love nature and be engaged in my environment.” Through hard and usually dirty work outside, and building relationships with land managers and community organizers, the kids discover an appreciation for the outdoors and grow as stewards of the land. Y

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


CLLARO - Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, And Research Organization Capitol Fellowship Program


in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and other stakeholders. Our last recognition event took place during Montbello’s 50th anniversary celebration in September 2016 and we are hoping to host another in the fall of 2018. • Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) - This is a socialemotional learning program designed to be implemented in elementary schools. If you have children attending elementary school in Montbello, maybe one of them has participated in our (PATHs) program over the last few years. • Strengthening Families Program 10-14 (SFP) - Currently our most active series, SFP, is a 7-session youth skills-building and family engagement program for young people ages 10-14 and their parents. But that’s not all! In 2016, we established a non-profit under the name of Steps To Success to help create sustainability to our work and continue the flagship programming that was received so well. The Steps to Success Nonprofit also received a small operating grant in 2017 and has been recently informed of a new programming grant award for 2018. Steps to Success is currently developing a media-campaign to engage community members around community issues they are most passionate about, expanding community garden opportunities, and exploring means by which youth can be sponsored to participate in extra-curricular school and after-school activities.

She stands in front of a crowd of people attending a community town hall sponsored by Rep. James Coleman introducing herself and describing the work that she is doing as a fellow in his office at the State Capitol. A few minutes later she is translating from English to Spanish for members in the audience who may benefit from being able to participate better in the dialogue in their first language. Ashly Villa-Ortega carries out her various roles with such aplomb seldom seen in 21-year-olds speaking to a room of fairly rabid activists. Ashly is a student at University of Colorado Boulder studying International Affairs and Ethnic Studies and with a minor in Arabic and is one of a select group of college students chosen by CLLARO for the Capitol Fellowship Program. The CLLARO Capitol Fellowship Program (CFP) is a paid opportunity that seeks to expand the potential of emerging diverse leaders, strengthen their professional skills, and ultimately help mold the future public policy leaders in Colorado. CLLARO’s unique CFP curriculum develops the Fellow’s leadership abilities, understanding of the public policy process, and facilitates access to Colorado’s public policy leaders. She feels fortunate that she was actually assigned to work with her own community’s state representative. A past resident of Montbello and currently living with her parents in Green Valley Ranch, Ashly works 20 hours per week at the capitol during the legislative session from January through early May. In her fellowship she is charged with helping to bridge the gap between the Latino community and the legislative process. She prepares bill summaries and even helps write speeches for the Representative. She helps guide his involvement in community events and activities. All of this while still commuting to Boulder for her regular classes. Ashly is already looking toward the future with thoughts about how she can continue to expand her career options. OF one thing she is certain, “I want to continue to help my community have a better understanding of government and how to how a voice. These days many people think government is working against them and not for them.” Y

Most importantly, the work of Steps To Success is guided, in part, by a socially conscientious group of teens who meet as a Youth Advisory Board. Two members of that board, Carrea McNeal, 17, and Jamar Holmes-Moore, 17, and Alana Curtis, 17, an intern with Steps To Success met with the MUSE editor recently to give feedback on the local paper and to recommend ways in which to increase readership among the community’s youth and to talk about what youth are saying about their community. The reflections on what youth are saying are captured in the cover story. Their suggestions about the MUSE ranged from utilizing a QRL code to make the paper more accessible and youth-friendly to setting aside a section of the paper to be solely dedicated to youth – written by and for youth. A plan was put in place to engage the YAB in helping to improve the MUSE. Look for changes by the next issue. If you would like to be involved in the Steps To Success planning process or be connected to the Strengthening Families Program or to the Youth Board, please visit the website at or attend the monthly Community Board member meetings every fourth Tuesday of the month, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Avenue, 80239. For more information reach out to Roosevelt “RJ” Price, II, PhD, who authored this article and facilitates the work of the Steps to Success Youth Initiative at

Editor’s note: For more information about the Capitol Fellowship program contact

Steps To Success

Do you know that the Steps to Success Youth Initiative help Montbello be a vibrant and thriving community for youth and families? We are often behind the scenes and our work is not always evident. But we continue to work with community members, organizations, and agencies to address a number of needs in the community to prevent youth from following a path that leads towards violence. Steps to Success began its work in 2011 under a 5-year grant award through a partnership with the Montbello community, the University of Colorado Boulder, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Below are some of our more visible activities: • Positive Recognition Campaign - This involves recognizing youth and adult community members in biannual recognition events held in Montbello

MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018


March/April 2018

Mar. 6: 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. 2018 Caucus Night Colorado, Democratic Party Caucus for Montbello Montbello Campus 5000 Crown Blvd. Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact Miguel Ceballos Ruiz 720-666-1706 Mar. 7: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Blueprint Denver Workshop Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St. Denver, CO 80249 For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

Mar. 10: 10 a.m. to Noon. Office Hours with Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore Green Valley Ranch Library. 4856 Andes Ct. Denver, CO 80249 For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

Mar. 13: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact

Mar. 14: 5 to 6:30 p.m. MOC Community Engagement Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110 Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact Mar. 19: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Transportation Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste 110 Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact Mar. 27: 10 a.m. to Noon Steps To Success Community Board Meeting Montbello Recreation Center 15555 E. 53rd Ave Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact R.J. at

Mar. 29: 10 a.m. to Noon Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore Arie P. Taylor Building Council District 11 Office. 4685 Peoria St. Suite 215, Denver, CO 80239 For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

(April 2018)

Apr. 5: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Montbello 20/20 Community Meeting Montbello Recreation Center 15555 E 53rd Ave., Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact

Apr. 10: 6:30 to 8 p.m. MOC Retail Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee United Church of Montbello 4879 Crown Blvd. Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact

Apr. 11: 10 a.m. to Noon Green Valley Ranch Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore Green Valley Ranch Library 4856 Andes Ct, Denver, CO 80249 For more information call 720-337-7711 or email

Apr. 14: 6 to 7:30 p.m. MOC Community Engagement Task Team Montbello Organizing Committee. 12000 East 47th Ave. Ste. 110 Denver, CO 80216 For more information email

Apr. 16: 6 to 7: 30 p.m. MOC Transportation Development Task Team, Montbello Organizing Committee 12000 East 47th Avenue Ste. 110 Denver, CO 80239 For more information contact Apr. 24: 10 a.m. to Noon Steps To Success Community Board Meeting Montbello Recreation Center 15555 E. 53rd Ave For more information contact R.J. at

Apr. 26: 10 a.m. to Noon Montbello Office Hours with Councilwoman Gilmore Arie P. Taylor Building 4685 Peoria St. Suite 215, Denver, CO 80239 For more information call (720) 337-7711 or email

Apr. 28: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Forward Food Summit: Food & Gentrification and Un-conference, Denver Food Rescue Columbine Elementary 2540 29th Ave., Denver, CO 80209 For more information call 720-675-7337 or email

If your organization has a Save The Date activity to be listed in the 2018 May/June issue of MUSE, send details to MUSE - Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition - March/April 2018