The Hope Center’s annual summer carnival attracted neighbors from throughout northeast Denver to celebrate with competitive games, plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers, soft drinks and other treats. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a carnival without hand-made cotton candy, fresh ice cones, a bouncy castle, and a duck pond game.

President/CEO Geri Grimes and extended family members traditionally oversee food preparation and the five-hour event every year at the Hope Center grounds at 3400 Elizabeth St. Meanwhile, Development Director Bruce Duran and other staff and volunteers ensure a safe and welcoming atmosphere filled with music, children galavanting and the murmur of adults catching up on neighborhood goings-on.

But the highlights were definitely the pony rides, Denver Zoo live turtle display and a tour of the Denver Fire Dept Engine Station No. 10’s firetruck, which captivated the kids and adults alike.

Vendors representing Denver city services and private entities set up their info booths in the shade. Among the informational booths were the Dahlia Campus Mental Health Center of Denver, Kids Choice Dental, Clothes to Kids of Denver, Denver Human Services, and Su Casa Group Realty, and others.

This has been a special year for Grimes, who this past Spring was honored and inducted by the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHOF) for her activism and advocacy on behalf of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.

For the past 12 years, Grimes has been President/CEO at the premiere non-profit which provides early childhood education, and vocational training for adults with disabilities.  Her leadership and guidance has made an impact on thousands of individuals. According to the CWHOF: Children are labeled “at risk” by the state of Colorado definition– a label Grimes believes should be abandoned because every individual comes with strengths first and then areas which may need improvement.

Established in the 1960s, HOPE Center is a community-based non-profit agency focusing on Early Childhood Education and Care and Vocational Training for adults with developmental disabilities. The Center also provides education for at-risk and gifted children, and kids with developmental disabilities for Denver families. The center has provided more than 50 years of community service to some 200 students, of which 65 percent are African- American and 20 percent Hispanic. For more information, please visit: www.HopeCenterInc.org.