Wine & Wags: Best in Show For Children's Hospital Pet Program

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Every dog has its day, and at this year’s Wine & Wags around a dozen canines, as well as their people, were honored for their great work at Children’s Hospital Colorado. There were doggie treats and pats for the puppies, and plenty of delectable wines and tasty tidbits for two-legged friends and supporters. On Monday, Sept. 11, the fourth annual friendraiser for Children’s Prescription Pet Program attracted a pack of positive people and pooches at Kuni Lexus in Greenwood Village. Hot diggety dog!

(l to r): Jeff Toussaint, Bee Bennett and Wade Bennett

At check-in, each guest received a paw-print bracelet and a pebble from Creekside Elementary School students of second-grade teacher Kathy Paulson. She and her class organized a fundraiser for the pet program after a visit from one of the PPP dogs, selling dog-themed items along with some heart-felt monetary donations that raised more than $650. One of the many lessons Paulson taught her students was about the ripple effect of giving, and she urged guests to keep their pebbles as a reminder to do good deeds in their own lives.

Event founder Lyn Schaffer (left) and veteran Prescription Pet Program team Darby Kelly and Cormac

Pet Program founder Sara Mark, DVM, and event organizer Lyn Schaffer also addressed the group, and went on to recognize reps from Chewy’s Bonetique, Biscuits and Berries Catering, and Kuni Lexus for their continued support. The program ended with giveaways that included a dog-themed travel tote and a children’s book “paw-tographed” by each volunteer PPP dog-and-owner team.

The Prescription Pet Program (first in the nation) is a dog-assisted therapy and visitation program that began in 1984 as a cooperative effort of Children’s Colorado and the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society (DAVMS). As part of the program, specially trained volunteer dog owners take their dogs on rounds at Children’s Colorado. All Prescription Pet dogs have passed a vigorous screening and have been approved by veterinarians who volunteer their time.

Mimi Kroger, with Hugs

The dogs’ visits with patients can range from a few minutes or longer, depending on the child’s response. The dogs also assist the medical staff in the psychiatric units and, as needed, in the physical rehabilitation department. Patients can request a dog visit, and prospective volunteers can apply for the program by calling the Volunteer Office at 720-777-6887. To learn more, please visit: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/community/donate-volunteer/volunteer/prescription-pet-program/.

Wines on the Waterfront Celebrates Archway Housing & Services

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Waterside property in Denver may be limited, but Archway Housing & Services utilized an ideal parkside lake for the site of Wines on the Waterfront, its annual fall fundraiser. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, event-goers gathered at the Washington Park boathouse on a beautiful night to celebrate Archway’s 21 years providing quality affordable housing and supportive services to deserving families and individuals.

Jodie and Sam Madsen at one of the dessert-bites tables.

Jodie and Sam Madsen at one of the dessert-bites tables.

With food and beverage stations dotting the boathouse and table settings readied for 120 guests, the evening was as casual as an open house, yet special with its ambiance and camaraderie. The Daryl Gott Jazz Trio entertained as folks bid on silent auction items and caught up with friends and Archway supporters. Wine-tasting guides at each place setting allowed guests to sample and savor small plates and complementary wine pairings, all at their own pace. A short program included drawings for bottles of wine, plus recognition for Archway employees and resident success stories.

Speakers included: Executive Director Joyce Alms-Ransford, board president Mary Anderies, board member Jake Joseph, board vice-president and resident rep Yvette Craddock, Manager of Family Services Somer Lundborg and Archway’s co-founder Robb Lapp.

Board presidents Mary Anderies, left, (Archway board) and Yvette Craddock (Archway Investments Corporation board)

Board presidents Mary Anderies, left, (Archway board) and Yvette Craddock (Archway Investments Corporation board)

The mission of Archway Housing & Services, Inc. is to change lives by providing housing and related supportive services that engender a safe environment and teach community skills for families with very low to moderate incomes. The goal is to build healthier communities by offering quality affordable housing with services that enhance the social and economic well-being of families in metro Denver. Archway’s inclusiveness initiative, funded through The Denver Foundation, is part of its effort to build its organizational capacity by focusing on how the organization can continue to effectively address the need for affordable housing in a diverse community.

Archway Housing & Services, Inc. pledges to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, age, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or military status in any of its activities or operations. The organization is affiliate of the Rocky Mountain Conference-United Church of Christ and a member of The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries, UCC (CHHISM). For more information, please visit: http://www.archwayhousingandservices.org/

Groovy Guests Boogie Down At Disco Daze Wine & Dine

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Whether they lived it or just watched it in a movie, guests at this year’s Disco Daze Wine & Dine were whisked back to a shiny-polyester, “Saturday Night Fever” time when people were enticed to do the Hustle en masse. Even without a designated area for dancing, classic 1970s club hits inspired spontaneous boogie-oogie moves throughout the evening at Colorado Academy Campus Center.

Tim Wachuta (left) and John Fenley. Move over, John Travolta!

Tim Wachuta (left) and John Fenley. Move over, John Travolta!

The annual, themed Wine & Dine event is the primary fundraiser for Horizons at Colorado Academy, a year-round enrichment program to help disadvantaged kids achieve academic success. On Thursday, Feb. 18, more than 300 mostly costumed supporters were able to spend the evening noshing nonstop on tasty tidbits and scrumptious spirits from Denver’s best chefs, eateries and purveyors.

Thanh Luony is dressed to the nines...and the '70s.

Thanh Luony is dressed to the nines…and the ’70s.

With a sparkling array of niceties, guests placed strategic bids on silent-auction items, and the live auction was led by emcee Tom Kimball, former president of Colorado Academy’s alumni association board. The purpose of the evening wasn’t forgotten, as Horizons student Edith Villalobos spoke to the crowd about her own 17-year journey with Horizons that began in kindergarten and continued on to her college success. She was introduced by Horizons Executive Director Jessie Skipwith.

Horizons at Colorado Academy, part of a national network in 17 states, is a non-profit program that offers student enrichment designed specifically for Denver Public School children from low-income families. The program is committed to the development of the whole child through experiences that enhance self-esteem, foster responsibility, build problem-solving skills, and encourage a life-long interest in learning. It emphasizes academic enrichment, social growth with structured group dynamics, swimming lessons and sports participation, life-skills, cultural experiences and the arts. Horizons students use Colorado Academy facilities, bus transportation, dining services and educational resources, and many student and parent volunteers from the school provide program support.

Horizons is entering its 19th year at Colorado Academy and serves more than 140 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 10. The program has a proven track record providing on average 3-4 months in academic gains over just six weeks in the summer, a time during which children would normally lose up to three months of skills. Horizons can provide two healthy meals per day for each student during the summer program. Through year-round “Super Saturday” programming, students stay connected to their Horizons teachers and peers. The year-to-year retention rate of students is 98 percent.

Colorado Academy’s program is among the first in the country to develop a Horizons high school component. Students in this age group take part in activities such as as college visits, application “boot camps” and interviewing skills. Horizons faculty and staff salaries and program operating costs are provided through generous support from the community and other foundations. For more information, please visit: http://www.coloradoacademy.org/Page/Programs (select Horizons from the drop-down menu).

Perfect Pairings: Wine with Entertainment for a Great Cause

It was hard to tell who was having the better time at the event: guests or volunteers. The 11th annual Wine Event attracted more than 40 people ready to serve, celebrate and help raise money for Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Fetal Care Center.

Event chairs Kevin and Melissa Hopkins – who met while volunteering at Children’s – beamed like proud parents when talking about the commitment and compassion the volunteers give to make the evening happen. “They are the essence of tonight,” explained Melissa. She further shared they don’t rest on a job well done for long. “We will take a few days break and the come together to start planning for 2015.”

Chair of the Volunteer Subcommittee Annie Gray had a permanent smile when she shared about her affinity for all those who stepped up to help. “From the first meeting I was amazed at how much people wanted to be a part of this. It’s my first year and I will definitely be back,” said Gray just before hugging and smiling with others from her team.

Volunteer Sandy Lehto has been helping since the event launched eleven years ago. “Oh, how it’s grown,” she reported. “And it’s so well organized. Guest credit cards get recorded right as they come in so there isn’t a wait to check out. It’s all done before they are ready to leave. It’s great.” Lehto is a member of the Boulder Chapter of Volunteers for Children’s Hospital and she confirmed she will travel year after year to help at The Wine Event.

Special Projects Philanthropy Director for the Children’s Hospital Foundation Martine Hyland echoed the sentiment of the evening. “It’s so inspiring to see how people come together and give to the hospital. They spend time with patients and give time at events. It’s incredible to witness.”

Normally working in finance, Nathanael Shue stepped away from numbers and toward regions as he helped design how the wines would be categorized. The event showcased wines from Colorado, the West Coast, South America and Europe, along with Chilled Summer Wines and, for those who prefer hops over grapes, two “Refreshing Brews” tables displayed tasty beer options.

The event itself was as beautiful as the generosity of those who made it happen. As guests entered the reception they were greeted with lovely strums by Classical Spanish guitarist René Heredia. Overhead, guests marveled at the grace and beauty of aerial artistry performed by a member of Frequent Flyers Productions. Intermittently, happy cheers from the “Ring Toss Table” punctuated the mass of good conversation. With Rockies-like precision, guests flung wide colorful rings toward the empty necks of rows and rows of wine bottles.

“We have four full pages of people who have tossed,” said smiling volunteer Cindy talking about the popularity of the table. “Many people get one ring on, but one gentleman hit four out of five throws. That was fun to cheer on.”

Along with table after table of enticing wines to bid on in the silent auction, the event offered an array of live auction items including a package for the Grammys, an America’s Cup Yacht Experience, and trips to Napa, San Francisco, Italy and Indonesia.

The Children’s Hospital Association of Volunteers puts the entire event together and can proudly report that their efforts have raised more $1 million to date. The volunteers at Children’s Hospital Colorado are part of a group called Children’s Hospital Colorado Association of Volunteers (AoV). The AoV coordinates placements for volunteers and ensures that complete orientation and training is provided to all volunteers.

Foundation for Global Scholars: Eat, Drink, Travel

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Eat, Drink, Travel is an international food and wine tasting fundraiser featuring food and wine from around the world. Held at the University of Denver Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality and Management, it provided a lovely evening of wine tasting and international food fare from Africa, Italy, France, Australia, each paired with a selection of carefully chosen world-wide wine labels.

The evening began with the VIP pre-event with Chef Paul Reilly from beast + bottle restaurant which was a hands-on cooking demonstration and wine pairing. Chef Reilly carefully prepared a gourmet meal of white fish in parchment with vegetables a la grecque paired with Casafamento Verdicchio. The Chef playfully demonstrated how to prepare the vegetables with olive oil while he adamantly recommended the use of salt. It brings out the natural flavor of everything you cook he said. His suggestion for his favorite salt was one called Maldon salt. He showed how easy it was to cut and use parchment paper for cooking. People questioned his use of salt but listened intently as he encouraged the crowd to use parchment paper for cooking and not just for holiday cookies. The paper, he said, gives everything a richer, bolder flavor.

Then guests flowed into the Tuscany Ballroom for more exotic dishes prepared by the hospitality school kitchen all partnered with a wide array of unusual wine to choose from. The silent auction kept guests busy running back and forth for a taste  of a different wine and to check on a bid. The evening ended with the Auction Diva, Shelley St. John, who helped to keep the funds and scholarships alive with support from bidders. A few lucky ones went home with travel packages to New Zealand and Australia, and one wine-lover-bidder took home a wall of wine.

The delicious event was fun for anyone who had studied, lived, or worked in another country or simply enjoyed an evening of globally infused food and wine. The event offered members of the international business community an opportunity to form connections with global peers.

Be sure to go to the website http://www.foundationforglobalscholars.org to see how you can be a part of this organization.

The Foundation for Global Scholars enables deserving college students to study abroad and gain international understanding and perspective, without regard to financial ability. All proceeds will go to scholarships for deserving college students for international education programs.

Pouring for a Purpose

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Since it’s founding in 1979, first as a partner with the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office and later in 1983 as a private, nonprofit corporation, Gateway Battered Women’s Services (Gateway) has been a leader in the field of domestic violence resources for the community, the state and the nation. Gateway provides a wide range of services including residential and nonresidential services, short-term housing, children’s services, a 24-hour crisis line, court advocacy services and community development activities. Gateway was one of the first shelters in the community to develop a comprehensive counseling program for nonresident women and children, one of the first to establish a court advocacy program, and is one of the only shelters in the nation to allow clients and service recipients to bring pets with them into the residential program. Gateway also serves as a resource for other shelters throughout the metro area due to it’s expertise and the diversity of services it provides.

On Friday August 16th, the community gathered at the Wellshire Event Center in Denver for the 9th Annual Around the World in 80 Wines; a wine tasting, dinner and live auction to support the ongoing mission of Gateway. Guests were encouraged to “pour for a purpose,” and taste a wide variety of wines from around the world, courtesy of Mayfair Liquors, while mingling in the warm atmosphere and taking advantage of the always popular photo booth.

Immediately following the wine tasting, guests enjoyed a multi-course dinner while Executive Director Linda James welcomed attendees to the event and thanked them for their ongoing support of Gateway and the services it provides in the community. Jeneen Klippel, director of development and public relations, then took to the podium to recognize the efforts of the Gateway board of directors, staff and volunteers and to introduce Sandy Plaven, a survivor who moved the audience by describing some of the services and benefits she received as a client of Gateway and whom she credits with helping to saving her life. The evening was capped off with an entertaining live auction conducted by Shelly St. John and The Auction Divas who helped Gateway raise over $20,000 by auctioning off a variety of items including fine art, vacation packages, sports memorabilia and wine generously donated by Gateway supporters.

You can find more information about Gateway Battered Women’s Services and the role they play in the community on their website: www.gatewayshelter.org