On a bright Saturday morning kids and families ignored the scorching 95-degree heat and enjoyed several hours of pony rides, assorted toss games, and several huge bouncy castles featured at the 5th Annual HOPE Center Community Carnival in Clayton/Cole Neighborhood. This year’s event, held Saturday, July 16, brought neighbors together to chat, relax and enjoy snow cones, cotton candy and other refreshments.
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. This year the organization celebrates 54 years of service and serves some 200 students, of which 65 percent are African- American and 20 percent Hispanic.
The event attracts local families and businesses and hosts a dozen tents with representatives from local health and family non-profit groups and city government agencies. Fortunately, some tree shade was plentiful for Denver Zoo volunteer Patti Wells who showed off one of her larger lizards while around the corner Solome Morales patiently spinned some cotton candy.
Among the informational booths were the Denver County Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), The Center for African American Health, Lupus of Colorado, Mental Health Center of Denver, Connect for Health Colorado, Kids Choice Dental, Clothes to Kids of Denver, and Denver Health, to name a few.
President/CEO Gerie Grimes has led the organization for nearly 10 years, but has been with HOPE Center since 1982 rising through the ranks first as a bookkeeper and later Deputy Director before becoming Director in 2007. A Denver native, Grimes earned degrees in non-profit administration and non-profit management from Metro State College of Denver and Regis University, respectfully and currently working on her PhD
. Her grandchildren and several nieces and nephews are HOPE Center alumni and they can often be found serving as volunteers as well.
Besides the summer carnival event, the HOPE Center also hosts a highly successful Vintage Vegas Casino Night every spring. To volunteer, donate or learn more visit their web site at www.HopeCenterInc.org
Pony rides or the Denver Fire Department fire truck? It’s tough to say which was more popular with the kids at this year’s HOPE Center Community Carnival. No surprise, the biggest congregation of adult females was seen around the firefighters. There definitely was something for everyone at the third annual event held on Saturday, July 19, at the HOPE Center venue in Denver.
Guests munched on popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones and grilled hot dogs, while water and soft drinks helped folks cool off on a hot, summer day. The grounds were full of activity, with carnival games, ponies, bouncy houses and the Denver fire engine on display. Organizers also invited nonprofit organizations to talk with guests about their community services.
When asked if this was a fundraiser, CEO Gerie Grimes simply said, “It’s a friend-raiser.” She explained that while guests paid very modest fees for games and food ($2 could get you a hot dog and beverage), overall the event was a thank-you to HOPE Center’s volunteers, participants and supporters. And with no admission charge, it was also a chance for neighbors to check out the organization while enjoying the carnival games and atmosphere.
HOPE Center is a community-based agency dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, developmental delays and persons in need of specialized educational or vocational services, from ages 2-1/2 years to adulthood. These services are provided in order to develop, maintain and enhance the functioning of each enrollee. The philosophy of service is to admit individuals to programs within the agency which meet their needs and requirements as specifically as possible. For more information, please visit: www.HopeCenterInc.org.
Early morning runners and walkers for Hope Center’s 3rd Annual 1K/5K Walk-a-thon were met with crisp clear weather Saturday morning September 7th at Stapleton Central Park.
Registration began early at 7:30 a.m. with a start time around 8 a.m. President/CEO Gerie Grimes welcomed some 100 runners and walkers, including young families and children to the event benefiting HOPE Center’s Vocational and Early Childhood Education programs. Established in 1962, the community-based agency has a daily enrollment of more than 200 children and 35 adults with developmental disabilities/delays and requiring specialized educational or vocational services.
Mrs. Grimes has served for more than three decades with the organization and seven years as President/CEO. She thanked the crowd for their support and recognized many sponsors and donors including premier participants Harvest Meat Company managers Matt Ryan and John Rosasco.
Apparently 60 plus is the new 40 because runner Jim Martin seemed rather relaxed after the 5K around the park. Meanwhile, runner Ayelen Verdié and her competitive siblings, Claudia and Marvin, also participated in the event.
Chief Operations Officer Cassandra Johnson and Development Director Bruce Duran and Business Manager Vanessa Nguyen helped coordinate the event, while Grimes’ sisters Deloris, Lorraine and Joanne Butler participated and showed their support throughout the day. A dozen vendor booths were represented by the Colorado Rapids, Denver Zoo, Denver Health, Donut Angel, Menchi’s Frozen Yogurt, On the Move Studio, Sam’s Club, the Zone Healing Center, Denver Preschool Program, Kids Choice Dental, Stapleton Fire Department, and Redline. The Colorado Rapids soccer team mascot–Edson the Eagle–entertained the young and old alike with his quiet but expressive antics.
For more information about HOPE Center visit www.hopecenterinc.org