See 10 Best of 2018

Essential Kids Guide to Denver

Terrence GordonMar 12, 2018

From RiNo to Stapleton, Sloans Lake to Hampden, the greater Denver area has an abundance of recreation centers, museums, festivals, and of course, loads of sunshine. Whether indoors or out, the Mile-High City continues to find new ways to impress even the most opinionated of critics - our children. It’s no wonder the rest of the country wants to call Denver home!

As a parent or youth organizer, finding an engrossing, guaranteed-to-entertain activity that keeps you within a budget is a little like a daily treasure hunt. Even with the myriad of different options found in our city, discovering the experience that our kids will want to tell their friends about in school hallways can leave any adult more than a little stressed out. Fortunately, ConsumersAdvocate.org has you covered.

Below are this week’s top varying areas of interest for youth-oriented associations and activities in Denver. They'll pique interests, help with healthy living concerns, and maybe even provoke excited conversations for the ride home.

Health

Invest In Kids (source)

For over 20 years, Invest In Kids has been dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families in Colorado, by bringing research-based, proven programs into communities across the state. Every day they prove that the smartest investment is in our children. However, what really sets Invest In Kids apart from other organizations is their specialized approach to finding, delivering, and measuring the effectiveness of their programs. The first program they adopted was Nurse-Family Partnership®, which improves pregnancy and delivery outcomes, positive early childhood development, and promotes the long-term self-sufficiency of the family. The other program Invest In Kids has selected to support in achieving its goals for Colorado kids and families is The Incredible Years®’. They provide a series of interlocking, evidence-based programs for parents, children, and teachers, supported by over 30 years of research aimed at the prevention and treatment of young children's behavior problems while promoting their social, emotional, and academic competence. For more information on Invest In Kids simply visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 839-1808.

The Gathering Place (source)

For almost 35 years, The Gathering Place has served as the only daytime drop-in center in metropolitan Denver that serves women, their children, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty, many of whom are also experiencing homelessness. Although staff refers to those whom they serve as “members”, no fees are ever charged for any of their programs or services. At TGP, their mission is to provide a community of safety and hope in which positive relationships, choice, and essential resources transform lives. For those in need of services, no fees are ever charged for participation in any of their programs, no identification is required, and no intake appointment is necessary. They provide a wide array of services that cover such basic needs as meals, showers, and laundry, to programs meant to foster personal growth such as job readiness and high school equivalency classes. TGP even provide avenues to build up one’s own enterprise through their Art Restart program where women can create and sell the artwork that they create with the hopes of using that money to better their lives. For more information on their events, opportunities to volunteer and/or donate, or if you would simply like to subscribe to the newsletter just visit their homepage.

Playworks Colorado (source)

Playworks Colorado is one of the 16 states where Playworks, the Oakland-based national nonprofit, operates. Although they have been around for over 20 years, their presence in Colorado dates to 2010. Playworks’ goal is to support learning and physical health by providing safe and inclusive play to low-income students in urban schools. To this end, the organization works with schools to design curriculum and activities that offer play opportunities during recess, lunch, and after school programs. Trained coaches work in schools to run a variety of games and sports, as well as teach techniques in group management, violence prevention, and conflict resolution. Just in Colorado, they have some form of a partnership with over two dozen individual schools and nearly half a dozen school districts. Playworks operates from the idea that all kids deserve the social, emotional, and physical benefits of play. They work in concert with schools and youth programs to create healthy play environments where every child can join in. To learn more information about Playworks Colorado please visit their homepage or give them a call at (720) 259-1029. 

Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (source)

The Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center is a place where everyone is welcome and offers a variety of activities for adults, kids and families, alike. The Fitness & Wellness Center provides a 10,000 square-foot-facility that offers over 80 group exercise classes a week, a Pilates studio, heated indoor and outdoor pools, and has recently been renovated with brand new locker rooms. The JCC Denver hosts a variety of family programming for kids and adults, providing enriching opportunities for children of all ages to play, discover, and grow. Programs include the Early Learning School, family engagement programs, after-school activities, summer day and residential camps, older adult & intergenerational programming, and arts focused programs through the Mizel Arts and Culture Center like Denver Children’s Theatre. The Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center is located at 350 S. Dahlia St. in Denver, CO. For more information, visit their website or call (303) 399-2660.

Children's Diabetes Foundation (source)

The Children’s Diabetes Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to the support of research in diabetes and has been doing so for over 40 years! In addition, they aim to provide the best possible clinical and educational programs for people with the disease. The Foundation’s mission is to raise funds to support the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, where thousands of patients of all ages from all over the world receive the finest diabetes care available. CDF's volunteer group, The Guild, is dedicated to raising funds for research, promoting diabetes awareness and education, assisting families in need, providing continuing education scholarships, and sponsoring social activities for children and their families. The Foundation has dozens of events scheduled throughout the year to support their mission of providing kids with the resources they need to battle the disease and live happy and healthy lives, and actually in just a couple months the CDF will host their 4th annual Run For The Ring 5K and Kids Fun Run! Competitive runners to those walking with the family are welcome, plus kids will have their own track, splash zone, games, and more. All proceeds from this event will support The Guild of Children’s Diabetes Foundation in their efforts to find the cure. Whether it’s one of their several golf tournaments, fun runs, jewelry or merchandise sales, there are numerous ways to support the Foundation and their mission. For more information, please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 863-1200.

Green Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry (source)

As you can tell from the photo, Green Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry aims at making dentist visits fun and hassle-free for both parents and kids. It is their policy that no child will ever leave empty-handed, as each young patient gets to choose their favorite item from a big toy box every visit! Parents enjoy this happy-ending aspect to their child’s visit, as well as the accommodating and flexible payment options. GVKPD also has Spanish speakers at their office to accommodate many more families. Contrary to most dentist visits, children are actually excited to visit Green Valley Kids, often running to get to the in-office playground, or looking through the big toy box. For more information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 371-4485.

Colorado Children's Campaign (source)

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado for over thirty years. This is achieved by advocating for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education, and early childhood. They strive to provide Coloradans with trusted data and research on child well-being while organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. A great opportunity to support such a worthy cause is taking place soon with Strolling Thunder, a community play date, rally, and march scheduled for Tuesday, May 8th. If you would like to donate, advocate, or simply learn more about the campaign and the many services they provide please visit their homepage or call them at (303) 839-1580. 

Image: Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition (source)

The Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition (CCIC) is a statewide nonprofit that strategically mobilizes diverse partners and families to advance children’s health through immunizations. The coalition is also a dependable resource on international disease information to protect our youth (and families) from harmful illnesses prior to infection.  One of the best aspects of this organization is that they achieve their goals without accepting funding from vaccine manufacturers and distributors. They are dedicated to to keeping Colorado kids healthy by building awareness for vaccines, educating health care providers, and advocating for policies that protect children with the goal of increasing childhood vaccination rates. To learn more about upcoming educational events, donations, or volunteer opportunities please visit their website or call (720) 777-5340.

                                                                 Image: Great Play of Cherry Creek (source)

Great Play of Cherry Creek is more than just an interactive gym for kids, as its patented design is built to develop their motor skills, fitness, and coordination, as well as sports skills. Their mission is to develop a love of physical activity so they can lead active, healthy, and confident lives, whether they choose to eventually pursue competitive athletics, or simply play and move for fun. Data from the CDC (2015-2016) indicates that nearly one in five school age children and young people in the United States suffers from obesity, a number that has more than tripled over the past forty years. Physical activity and development not only influences health and counteracts this negative trend, it also improves self-esteem, increases concentration power, and leads to greater academic success. But the most important factor in all of this is...that it’s FUN!! With that being said summer is right around the corner so now is the perfect time to register for classes, but please hurry because the schedule kicks off June 11th and spots are filling up fast! If you would like information about birthday parties, summer camps, private lessons, classes, or any of the other services they offer, make sure to visit their homepage or call at (303) 955-0287.

Image: Kids in Need of Dentistry (source)

Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND)’s mission is to increase the health and happiness of Colorado’s children in need, by eliminating dental disease through treatment and education. The organization operates out of four full-service oral healthcare centers in Denver and Colorado Springs, providing dental and orthodontic care to uninsured children at a 75% discount, as well as to children with Medicaid and CHP. They also serve children through a mobile hygiene/sealant program that goes into schools with 50% or more free and reduced lunch programs. Through their programs, staff, faithful volunteers and supporters, they continue to provide quality, comprehensive dental care and education to Colorado’s children in need. In addition, all of their facilities are staffed with Spanish bilingual personnel to assist patients in need of translation services. For more info just click here or you can call the administrative office at (303) 733-3710.

Image: Monkey Bizness (source)

Monkey Bizness: Centennial It may seem like a no-brainer, but play and physical activity are an essential part of every child’s proper growth and development, yet a worrying 74% of kids between 5-10 don’t get enough exercise. Finding safe, fun places to take your kids can be a challenge, however. Enter Monkey Bizness and its indoor setting, complete with jungle gyms, slides, toddler and infant play areas, play structures, and more, helping every kid be an active child. The center also offers food items, and can host birthday parties, group/special events, or camps. For more info, please visit their homepage, or call (303) 790-8885.

Image: Schlessman Family YMCA (source)

Though they have programming for the entire community, including adults and seniors, the Schlessman Family YMCA really shines when they serve Denver’s children. Through the Y, thousands of Denver area youth are cultivating the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health, and educational achievement. Every single day, the organization works to help children set and meet personal and educational goals, enabling them to build skills and confidence as they explore new interests. For the kids, the Y is a go-to spot for quality childcare, preschool, swim lessons, and year-round sports. More than just a gym or a place to workout, since 1844, it’s been a bulwark of community feeling. They always need donations and volunteers so please, don’t be shy, and for more information visit their website or call (720) 524-2750.

Lifestyle and Culture

Environmental Learning for Kids (source)

Environmental Learning for Kids or ELK is a Denver-based 501(c)3 organization established more than 20 years ago with the purpose of educating Colorado's urban youth about science, math, leadership skills, and career-building. ELK was founded on the premise that all young people deserve strong educational support, good role models, and opportunities for positive community action in order to become engaged, productive, and successful members of society. They serve more than 5,000 underserved, urban youth (ages 5-25) each year through year-round intensive programs as well as in-school/after-school programs in the Denver, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties. ELK reaches these communities by working directly with local schools, teachers, and community groups, providing a wide variety of outreach activities. They also assist young people in developing internal values from which they and their community will benefit. Via leadership development, meaningful mentorship, and long-term relationships, ELK helps students to become educated, active participants in their communities. For more information on enrollment, programming, events, and how to get involved just visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 291-7553.

Bicycle Colorado (source)

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit advocacy organization based in Denver that champions the interests of all bicycle riders statewide by encouraging and promoting bicycling, increasing safety, improving conditions, and providing a voice for bicyclists in Colorado. For over 25 years, Bicycle Colorado has combined advocacy, education, and a passion for cycling, making Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. Through the support of its members, as well as numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, Bicycle Colorado has significantly improved bicycling conditions across the state. The organization also hosts a number of different events, projects, celebrations, and initiatives designed for the entire family. Now that summer is here, Bicycle Colorado is kicking off their Learn to Ride lessons, which teaches both children and adults the ability to ride a bike using the gliding technique. To learn more information on these lessons, or for more details on this wonderful organization simply visit their homepage or give them a call (303) 417-1544. 

The GrowHaus (source)

The GrowHaus in northern Denver is a nonprofit indoor farm focused on fostering food production, education, and distribution. Within this model they also provide an indoor marketplace and educational center serving the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. GrowHaus envisions a world where all communities have the means to nourish themselves, and this goal is pursued through the creation of a community-driven, neighborhood-based food system that serves as a hub for economic opportunity. They offer a number of youth programs including after-school programming, school field trips, and summer programs as well. Also, as a way to extend their reach beyond their own community, GrowHaus offers FREE public tours every Friday and Saturday at 10:00 am. Through their core values of security, teamwork, accountability, stewardship, wellness, and innovation, GrowHaus is striving to create a world where no child ever has to worry about where their next meal is going to come from. To learn more information on GrowHaus simply visit their homepage or give them a call at (720) 515-4751.

Community Shares of Colorado (source)

Community Shares of Colorado is a one-of-a-kind non-profit located right in the heart of Denver. Although not a direct service provider, Community Shares connects Coloradans to the charities and causes they care about most. Community Shares has been a leader in community-based philanthropy for over 30 years. Originally composed of just 12 Colorado non-profits, the organization now partners with dozens of local and national charities, including some of the ones in this guide, like BookTrust, Colorado Children’s Chorale, and Inside the Orchestra. One of the best aspects of Community Shares is that their commitment to inclusiveness and equality extends to their qualifications for nonprofit membership in their community giving fund. Over their 30-plus years of community service, Community Shares has expanded greatly, from their first campaign in which they raised about $3,500, to 2017 where they were managing more than $3.6 million in philanthropic funds. In March, the Better Business Bureau serving the Denver/Boulder area was excited to name Community Shares of Colorado as BBB Charity of the Month! To learn more about this great organization and the impactful work that they do, please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 861-7507.

Clothes to Kids of Denver (source)

Clothes To Kids of Denver proudly provides new and quality used clothing to students from low-income or in-crisis families in the Denver Metro Area, completely free of charge. They envision a community where all students have the clothing they need to feel comfortable, confident, and prepared to thrive. Central to the Clothes To Kids mission is their 3,000-sq.-ft.boutique where students ages 3-21 are invited to browse a wide selection of clothing for a basic school wardrobe, (five outfits, one pair of shoes, one coat, and five pairs each of new socks and underwear). In 2018, CTKD will celebrate its 10th year of service by giving away its 1,000,000th piece of clothing and its 50,000th wardrobe. They give away hundreds of free school wardrobes each month and have formed partnerships and built up a strong reputation among schools, human service agencies, shelters, hospitals, clinics, and faith communities across the Denver Metro Area. For information on volunteering, referring a student, donating clothes, or simply getting involved, please visit their homepage or call them at (720) 379-4630.

Source: Allliance Française (source)

Bienvenue, mes enfants! The Alliance Française provides a cultural experience that simply cannot be duplicated. The official center for all things French in Denver, this non-profit organization is a worldwide cultural and education center with over 800 chapters in 132 countries. Apart from their language classes taught by native speakers, the Alliance hosts and organizes a large variety of events to encourage friendly, enriching cultural exchange.They are the only wholly French language, culture, and resource center in Colorado and are very proud to promote the integration of diverse cultures within the Denver community, supporting all local French-speaking communities. To learn more about what's going on soon, visit their homepage or call them at (303) 831-0304.

Image: Little Colorado (source)

Little Colorado provides a unique service you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, by sustainably and responsibly bringing to life creative, heirloom-quality furniture your toddler is sure to love. For over thirty years, all of their products have been American-made, 100% wood, never plastic or laminate, created with the firm, daily commitment to making choices that are good for the future. With the Rocky Mountains as an inspirational background, the company manufactures bookcases, toy boxes, chairs, and tables, to name just a few. To learn more, and check out all of their cool creations, visit their homepage, or give them a call at (303) 964-3212.

Image: Denver Zoo (source)

Home to more than 3,700 animals, representing 600 species, the Denver Zoo is committed to species conservation by bringing science education to life and providing extraordinary experiences that foster human and animal connections. It is the most visited cultural destination in Colorado, serving more than 2 million people per year. Located in Denver’s City Park, the Zoo is a nonprofit organization accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care. With the mission to secure a better world for animals through human understanding, Denver Zoo commits more than $2 million annually to field conservation programs around the world. They offer a variety of services your kids are sure to love including camps, classes, and even private parties. For more information, check out their homepage or give them a call at (720) 337-1400.

Image: The Urban Farm (source)

Families unafraid of grass and mud stains, as winter’s icy grip slowly thaws in preparation for spring, will find exactly what they need at The Urban Farm at Stapleton. Founded in 1993 as part of an outreach program for inner city youth, they’ve since expanded to offer a multitude of one-of-a kind learning experiences you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Aiming to inspire excitement and enthusiasm for learning through practical work experience in a farm setting, they also focus on fostering respect, responsibility, curiosity, caring, and grit. Just in time for the warm weather they have their “Plant, Eat, and Get Local” event coming up on May 19th, a completely free activity that features vendors of local food products, specialty and gourmet foods (organic,vegan), small family farm products, CSA’s, and local meats. There will be educational opportunities, sustainable practices orientations, backyard poultry care workshops, healthy living tips, handcrafted items, and more! For more information on all of the great happenings at the farm, feel free to visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 307-9332.

Image: Young Americans Center for Financial Education (source)

More than just a financial institution, Young Americans Center for Financial Education is a an innovator in youth financial education. Research has shown that a considerable percentage of the population (across all ages, incomes, and education levels) lack knowledge of even the basics of financial literacy. Young Americans works to help remedy this via a two-pronged approach, via their banking branch and their non-profit programs. Twenty years before the term financial literacy was defined on a national level, Young Americans was pioneering their signature “hands-on” approach to teaching personal finance, economics, and business was embraced by parents and teachers, and they remain at the forefront of this growing field. The overlying vision is that Colorado youth should grow up knowing how to earn, make, and manage their money wisely, regardless of background. To learn more about the programs offered and for general information visit their website or call their Denver location at (303) 321-2265.

Image: Dumb Friends League (source)

Dumb Friends League focuses on working with the compassionate Denver community to end pet homelessness and animal suffering, via youth camps which provide learning programs focused on lessons of compassion, respect, and proper animal care. Though mainly directed towards children and teens, these programs can also be beneficial to adults, since emphasizing importance of treating animals in a humane way is truly a lesson that can benefit all of society for a lifetime. Lastly, they also provide volunteer opportunities for Denver’s youth, so they can learn the value of giving back and building community through good works. For registration and all other info please visit their website or give them a call at (303) 751-5772.

                                               
Image: Kids at Yoga (source)

At Radiant Beginnings Yoga, trainers are committed to changing lives through their exclusive yoga and mindfulness programs, teacher training, and video brain breaks. The courses and the curriculum are data-driven and can be successfully used in schools, homes, and therapeutic environments. The team at Radiant Beginnings aims to create a world in which people have the right tools to manage stress and develop healthy coping strategies that can be used throughout their lives. Ultimately, the work done by trainers is designed to achieve this goal. For more information visit their homepage.

Image: Osage Café (source)

The Osage Café serves up a delicious and classic diner menu served up by some of Denver’s most promising youth. The café fills an underserved market niche, providing a quarterly rotating menu with weekly specials at affordable price points, as well as healthy culinary choices. Diners can choose to enjoy their warm and friendly dining room experience, or the convenience of a take-out option. Even better than the food and atmosphere are the programs provided for the youth who live in this area. The kitchen is staffed by local youth between the ages of 16-21 directly from the Youth Culinary Academy. In addition, the café is very active on social media so for the most up to date happenings and special occasions please check out their Facebook page. For information on their menu, events, programs, and catering just visit their homepage or give them a call at (720) 956-3800. 


4-H Denver CSU Co-op Extension (source)

Located near Harvard Gulch, the 4-H Denver CSU Co-op Extension is part of the nation’s largest youth development organization. With a mission of empowering youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults, 4-H helps young people and their families gain the skills needed to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy. They envision a world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together, serving as catalysts for positive change. 4-H offers a multitude of programs for youth and their families, ranging from agriculture and horticulture, to family and consumer science. Children not only gain valuable foundational skills which ultimately help prepare them for success in life, they inherit over 100 years of an alumni network that continually provides support whenever needed. For information on all of their programming please visit the homepage or call them at 720-913-5270.

Hands-on Arts & Music

Color Me Mine | Aurora is a part of a national franchised do-it-yourself studio dedicated to pottery and painting. They offer a wide array of events ranging from birthday parties, group functions, weekly promotions, and special events, for both kids and adults. All materials are provided to customers, so they can concentrate on their creativity! Color Me Mine feels it is essential for children to learn about and experience the arts. To that end, they are committed to providing a forum for kids to express their creativity, relax, have some fun, and learn in a creative and pressure-free environment. Color Me Mine is also a proud supporter of the communities in which they inhabit, generally through silent auction donations. For more information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 792-0672.

Colorado Children's Chorale (source)

For nearly 45 years, the Colorado Children’s Chorale has brought its artistry and charm to audiences around the world. Both independently and in collaboration with other performing arts institutions, the Chorale produces professional choral concerts and educational programs that entertain, inspire, and bring joy. Through music performance, children have fun while they gain valuable attributes including positive identity, youth empowerment, a commitment to learning, and the development of valuable social skills. Our young performers create unforgettable experiences that transform their lives while having an enduring impact on families, audiences, schools, and communities across Colorado, the nation, and the world. To find out more about the concert season, auditions, and all other information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 892-5600.

Image: artSPARK (source)

artSPARK offers a creative outlet for Denver kids to express themselves...or just get messy! Their community-based studio and art space has an encouraging atmosphere, so people of all ages and abilities can engage with materials and practice authentic creativity with a variety of different media. Whether it’s a summer camp, classes for the kids, a creative birthday party event, teen activities, or even sewing, artSPARK has something that’s sure to appeal to everybody, including parents! Their homepage has all the details, or you can also call them, at (303) 795-7897.

Image: Colorado Ballet (source)

Colorado Ballet is a non-profit organization celebrating nearly 60 years of world-class classical ballet and innovative dance in Denver. As the premier ballet training institution in the state, the academy provides training to students ages 1 ½ through adults, with every level of expertise, from beginner through pre-professional. The goal is to present exceptional classical ballet and contemporary dance through performances, training, education, and community engagement, while inspiring and growing an increasingly diverse audience base. Their outstanding education and community engagement programs enable thousands to experience the magic of dance. The variety of programming serves in-need students, teachers, families, people with disabilities, and lifelong learners in Colorado. These programs make more than 35,000 contacts each year in 300 schools and organizations. Lastly, the mission they strive to achieve is very simple, Every. Body. Dance! For more information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 837-8888.

School of Rock|Denver (source)

Since 2011, School of Rock - Denver has been offering music instruction with a performance-based approach, inspiring students to learn, innovate, and gain in confidence. Their experienced teachers emphasize music fundamentals and foster important, real-life skills through teamwork and jam sessions. Students learn, absorb, and perform musical hits from some of the heaviest hitters in the industry, refining not only their overall music proficiency, but also learning the fundamentals of music composition. All students in the programs can expect weekly private lessons and band practices, performances at real-world venues, advanced instruction in music fundamentals such as stage performance, harmonies, and musicianship. To find out how to enroll your kid, visit their website or call them at (720) 221-6991.

Image: Craftsman & Apprentice (source)

If you’re looking for a fun and educational family activity, consider getting back to the basics, working with your hands and performing simple yet fulfilling tasks. The Craftsman & Apprentice is a family owned and operated workshop guided by these basic notions. In essence, they want all children to know the satisfaction of a job well done, of making something from nothing, and above all living a life of creativity. Whether you’re a teen or a child, looking for a weekend class or interested in summer camp; all of these and more are available, from a convenient location in Stapleton. They honor the workshop as a space to connect, to share, and to discover the good life, at any age. For more information please visit their website or call (720) 515-8611.

Image: Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta (source)

Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta started with a saying from Katherine Dines’ grandmother, which she used to call all her grandchildren. From there, Ms. Dines has since grown Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta into a one-of-a-kind musical experience, featuring both original and classic songs where children can join in, engage, and express themselves. She creates specialized shows for parties, school programs and community centers, library events, and in-home performances, as well as award-winning musical cds. For all the info on how to book her or buy a cd, visit her homepage or give her a call at (303) 298-7122.

Image: Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids (source)

It seems like someone is always telling kids “don’t act like that”, or “that’s not how you’re supposed to act”. But at the Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, no matter how your child decides to “act”, that energy will be captured, honed, and aimed into the world of theater. Their mission is to inspire youth in their creative process, while raising their performance standards to achieve theatrical excellence. Private lessons, acting classes, and summer camps are just a few of the programs in place to ensure that your child will be able to tap into their innate creativity, and have it nurtured by experts. The Theatre provides students with the opportunity to really own their work by encouraging them to think critically, make their own creative choices, and use each other as resources for guidance and inspiration. To find out about upcoming shows and other information just visit their website or call (303) 245-8150.

Image: Arts Street @ YEA (source)

Arts Street @ YEA (Youth Employment Academy) uses the power of creative arts to empower youth so they can pursue future education and employment opportunities, helping break the cycle of institutional and generational poverty in Denver communities. Their mission is broken up into three separate categories: studio membership, internships, and creative academics. The goal is for children to gain personal and economic stability through arts and technology, education, and creative employment training. This is an awesome organization becoming more and more visible as they move forward, recently awarded “Denver’s Best Youth Art Program 2017” by Westword! For more info visit their homepage or call them at (303) 825-1334.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (source)

The simple mention of her name automatically evokes thoughts and feelings of tradition, pride, heritage, and for many, brings to mind treasured memories of either past participation or of witnessing a captivating performance. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD) is a cultural ambassador, encouraging innovation and education in every community they touch—both around the corner and around the globe. For over four decades, CPRD has ensured that every project they undertake is done with the double intent of transforming themselves and others; to give a voice to the voiceless; to leave a lasting legacy of excellence and understanding. Cleo has always been a huge proponent of arts in education, whether through the CPRD Academy or the International Summer Dance Institution (ISDI)’s summer camp, which is now open for registration. Dance is a powerful medium that contributes to healthy minds and bodies. Whether your wish is to learn, participate, support, or simply watch, there is always something for everyone no matter the gender, race, age, ethnicity, or skill level. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 295-1759.

Youth on Record (source)

With the help of Colorado's most talented and willing musicians, Youth on Record inspires at-risk youth to see the potential for a better life. Their focus on education and skills training works to ensure that the youth they serve graduate from high school and are ready to enter the workforce, transition to college, or go on to advanced technical training and careers. Through programs like Open Lab and FEMpowered, Youth on Record has empowered 1,000 teens in some of Denver’s most vulnerable communities, helping them make life choices that positively impact their future. Through teaching coping tools, community-building, teens in the program develop the wherewithal to both succeed in today’s world and eventually become the leaders of tomorrow. They even have events like The 3rd Annual Block Party coming up on May 26th which is free and intended for all members of the community no matter their age. For information on their music, membership, volunteer opportunities, or any other services offered, visit their homepage or call them at (303) 993-5226.

Education and Learning

Reach Out and Read Colorado (source)

Reach Out and Read Colorado is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. It may sound simple but there is extensive research to back up the importance of early childhood literacy. By prescribing a book you can profoundly change a child’s life for the better, and this is the mission towards which Reach Out and Read works tirelessly. They focus on training health care providers to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud, prescribing books to children at health check-ups from 6 months to 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty. Reach Out and Read Colorado also provides a wealth of resources for parents, providers, and coordinators, with the hopes that this multifaceted relationship will help families and communities encourage early literacy skills so children enter school prepared for success. The idea of prescribing books may be new for many, but Reach Out and Read has been around for nearly 30 years and is utilized in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you are interesting in getting involved, donating, or even starting your own program, just visit their homepage or call Reach Out and Read Colorado at (303) 623-3800.

Learning Ally (source)

Learning Ally is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping students with print disabilities, including blindness, visual impairment, and dyslexia. Their mission is to promote personal achievement when access and reading are barriers to learning. by advancing the use of accessible and effective educational solutions. They are the world’s largest provider of human-narrated, digitally-recorded textbooks and literature titles. Through funding provided by private philanthropy, Denver Public School students with print disabilities now have access to the services of Learning Ally. Their Proven Ed-Tech Solution is not just a quick fix, but a cost-effective solution that helps students who read below grade level boost their vocabulary, comprehension, and test scores. They provide educators with an extensive library of human-read audiobooks including core content, which is simple to set up, and easily fits into a teacher’s existing curriculum. If you would like more information about Learning Ally and the amazing work they do please visit their homepage, or contact the program manager for Denver, Natasha Fortis, at (720) 338-3174.

Bright by Three (source)

Bright by Three is a Colorado-based organization dedicated to equipping families with tools to promote their child's healthy development through the most pivotal stages of growth during the earliest years of life. They partner with pediatricians, researchers, and other child development experts to design program materials in both English and Spanish. Their mission is to help all families give kids a bright beginning so they can grow into healthy, happy, and successful adults. Bright by Three ensures that every child they encounter will be healthy, valued, and ready to learn. One of their initiatives is the Colorado Visitation Program, which hosts group visits at fun venues all across the city. Families with kids 0-3 get a free parenting kit, and a volunteer demonstrates the activities and concepts included in the kit. Then families get to stay and play at the museums for free! Or families can request a home visit and a volunteer will bring the kit to their home. Bright by Three also has Bright by Text which sends the same great resources right to parents and caregivers' cell phone. Messages are targeted to the child’s age and include information on child development, language and early literacy, health and safety, behavioral tips and more. For more information on the great organization please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 433-6200.

Anchor Center for Blind Children (source)

Anchor Center for Blind Children is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing early intervention and education to blind or visually impaired children from birth to five years of age. Their mission is to teach visually impaired infants, young children and their families, providing hope and a nurturing environment in which children can reach their highest potential. Anchor Center‘s programs allow their highly skilled multidisciplinary team to fully support each child’s needs, by putting children and their families first, teaching life skills for lifelong success. Anchor Center’s multifaceted programming covers a wide array of services, with special focuses on infants, toddlers, preschool, family support, community outreach, plus their own eye clinic and assessment protocol. Now that the weather is getting better, it’s almost time for the 2018 Foresight Golf Classic at Sanctuary. The event takes place on May 31st so you have to hurry for registration and sponsorship, and your time and money will directly benefit Anchor Center for Blind Children. For more information on this and other upcoming summer fun including Sunset in the Country, or if you would like more general information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 377-9732.

City Year Denver (source)

City Year Denver is an educational nonprofit organization founded in nearly 30 years ago, to help students and schools succeed. The organization partners with public schools in 28 high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and Johannesburg, South Africa. City Year teams are made up of 18 to 24 year olds, who provide student, classroom, and whole school support, intended to help students stay in school and on track to graduate high school. In addition, City Year is a member of the AmeriCorps national service network, and is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. The culture and values that City Year instills in their team members is more than just a few words or phrases to repeat once the school day starts--it is the air they breathe, and the set of values, structures, and practices that create an environment in which idealism can be successfully practiced. Their unique, intentional culture and values powers their impact in schools by providing an immersive context for developing leaders. For the 2017-2018 academic school, City Year Denver has partnered with 8 Denver Public Schools, working with over 4,000 students. For information on careers, their impact in Denver, events, and supporting City Year please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 226-4875.

Tattered Cover (source)

A Colorado-born independent bookstore and cafe, Tattered Cover Book Store is a Denver mainstay as a community gathering place offering experiences you can’t download. For over 40 years, Tattered Cover has provided the cozy feel and comfort of smaller bookshops in a large indie bookstore and cafe, with comfortable sofas and overstuffed chairs, plus a world-class newsstand. They also go to great lengths to ensure that kids are afforded every opportunity to learn and grow, through the world of books. Of particular note, they're launching the Colorado Children's Book Festival on Saturday, May 19 at Tattered Cover Colfax from 1pm - 3pm. This completely free event is fully open to the public, with multiple different authors simultaneously leading activities related to their book all around the store --like a circus or funfair-- as a way to engage young readers. This first-ever event will focus on middle school books, but subsequent years will feature picture books as well. Although registration isn't ready yet, heads up: They’ll be hosting their annual Harry Potter Party this summer, as well. Since it's the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, they’ve rented out a gothic church in Denver and are turning it into Hogwarts! For more information on events, services, shopping, or to find the location nearest to you visit their homepage.

Bluff Lake Nature Center (source)

Bluff Lake Nature Center is a unique place for families and children (and the kid in all of us!) to enjoy nature. Located on the border of Aurora and Stapleton, this 123-acre wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom is located mere minutes from tens of thousands of local residents. It is open year round from sun-up to sundown and is always free to the public. Plug 3400 Havana Way, Denver into your GPS and go join them for an adventure! They have a one mile trail around their 14-acre lake that is accessible for strollers, joggers, walkers, youth groups and solace-seekers. In addition, their refuge has one of the best views of the Denver Skyline and the Front Range from their Pergola overlooking the Bluff! And if you think you know all there is to know about the intersection between nature and urban development, think again! Even their experts learn a little more every day. To learn more information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (720) 708-4147.

OMG Book Fest (source)

OMG BookFest CO is a celebration of books aimed at elementary to middle school readers (ages 7-12), bringing together commercial and award-winning authors with underserved local communities for an exciting experience of books, games, and activities. From May 17-19, 2018 the OMG traveling circus of books descends on the exciting destination city of Denver for a weekend of books and fun. First stop is a day of breakout rooms and high-energy activities at Castro Elementary, in which each of the 1,000 participating students goes home with a signed book. OMG is also delighted to be working in partnership with Denver's own beloved Tattered Cover Book Store, where they will be hosting a public event that includes their entire author lineup for games and signings. All the while, they'll be doing what a traveling fest does best—learning about Colorado's capital, from a planned historical city tour to author dinners on Larimer Square. A good time for all! For information on sponsorship, events, and donations, please visit their website.

Image: Sewall Child Development Center (source)

All learners are welcome at Sewall Child Development Center’s high-quality programs. A leader of inclusionary education for children of all abilities, the center strives to provide an environment of understanding and diversity, in order to instill a sense of belonging and ownership for every member of the learning community, from the children, to the faculty, the parents, and other members of staff. The programs at Sewall are designed so that children of all abilities and learning styles, including those with special needs, can come together to learn and grow, with a 1:5 teacher to student ratio. More than just an educational strategy, inclusion is a belief system, founded on the principles of equality and justice. Sewall has been serving the Denver community since 1944, now from nine locations across the city. For more information on how to enroll or participate, visit their homepage or call at (303) 399-1800.

Image: Sun Valley Youth Center (source)

Sun Valley Youth Center is truly committed to giving the children of Sun Valley, Denver’s lowest income neighborhood, opportunities and hope for the future. Over the course of fourteen years, the organization has focused on transforming the lives of at-risk youth, via their daycare, mentoring, after-school care, youth development, and life essential programs. Aside from their traditional after-school program which helps kids complete homework and increase their literacy skills, Sun Valley also offers Free Karate, Flag Football, Cycling, Mindfulness, Yoga, Aqua Fitness, Healthy Living, Life skills, Cooking, Baking, and Overcoming Obstacles lessons. To learn more, visit their homepage, or show your support by donating with every Amazon purchase, by choosing them as your charity when shopping through smile.amazon.com.

Image: Butterfly Pavilion (source)

At over 22 years old, the Butterfly Pavilion is the first stand-alone nonprofit invertebrate zoo in the nation. You can experience their indoor tropical rainforest and over 1,600 free-flying butterflies while making your way through their 30,00 square feet, settled on an 11-acre campus. In addition, they have incredible adaptations to sea stars, bees, beetles, spiders, and you can even hold their famous tarantula Rosie! Their mission is to foster an appreciation of invertebrates by educating the public about the need to protect and care for threatened habitats globally, while conducting research for solutions in invertebrate conservation. There are several ways to experience all of the wonders they provide, such as through a school or youth group, special event, volunteering, birthday parties, and even internships. To find out more information please visit their homepage or give them a call at (303) 469-5441.

Image: History Colorado (source)

“Inspiring generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado”, this is the mission that History Colorado has set forth and aims to achieve. As a charitable organization, the group strives to engage and educate, bringing history to life through all forms of media in various hands-on settings. They offer access to cultural and heritage resources, a vast collection of archives, artifacts, and historical photography, programs for families and teachers, and finally, resources for students and teachers. All programs and services they provide are related to historic preservation and archaeology. For info related to their partner museums, relationship with the Smithsonian Institute, donations/volunteer opportunities, and general inquiries please visit their homepage or call them at (303) HISTORY [(303) 447-8679].

Image: Book Trust (source)

There is a short and simple quote that sums up what Book Trust is all about: “today a reader tomorrow a leader”. The idea that even just one book can positively change the course of one young person’s future, and spark a love affair with reading that will last a lifetime, is exactly what they envision for all children. This awesome organization can be accessed through participating Title I schools...in the 2016-2017 school year some 1.2 million books were delivered to over 51,000 kids! Children with consistent reading habits develop higher levels of self esteem, stronger interpersonal and social skills, as well as higher test scores, across all subjects. Most folks can recall their favorite bedtime story or book from childhood, and these are the very memories that every child should have the opportunity to create. If you are a parent, educator, or would like to donate please visit their website or call (720) 458-9889.

Image: Grade Power Learning Aurora (source)

Grade Power Learning Aurora specializes in building children’s self-esteem through their customized programs, combining a focus on both academic and cognitive skills which fit your child’s specific needs. These can not only lead to better grades in school, but also equip your child with the confidence and self-esteem to learn and succeed at anything–from college, to parenthood, to a successful career. Grade Power’s overarching mission is to teach school-oriented learning that will translate into knowledge and skills that last a lifetime. For more information please visit their website or call (303) 928-7644.

Image: Denver Inner City Parish (source)

Denver Inner City Parish is a grassroots human services nonprofit that, since 1960, has aimed to “welcome and empower people in need through support, determination, and community.” DICP’s three focus areas are 1) Hunger & Nutrition, 2) Intervention and Prevention within high-risk subcultures, and 3) Re-entry. Through comprehensive multi-generational programs and services, this transformative organization works to close the hunger gap, help those coming out of incarceration re-enter society, and intervene in/prevent mental health and gang-related issues. Their wraparound services aim to empower communities, support personal transformations, and create self-sustaining lifestyles for those who are most vulnerable by equipping them with the skills and resources they need to break the cycle of poverty. If you wish to donate or simply learn for information about the impactful work that they do please visit their homepage or call them at (303) 629-0636.

Image: Children's Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus (source)

The Children's Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus has been experienced by thousands upon thousands of Colorado kids and for good reason. They work to open doors for our future leaders, innovators, and adventurers to explore, create and learn on their own terms. Many do not know but children's museums rank only second to zoos among museum-related attractions in their ability to attract ethnically and culturally diverse audiences, and address the developmental needs of young children. And in 2015, they went through a $16.1 million expansion, creating a 9-acre campus and doubling the total exhibit space. Whether it is water, altitude, energy, or learning how to cook, you are bound to find endless opportunities to educate and fascinate your child. For more information just visit their homepage or call them at (303) 433-7444.

Image: International Learning Center (source)

For an awesome world approach to childcare and education, look no further than the International Learning Center, which provides an excellent environment for every child in their care. Starting as young as six weeks and all the way up to sixteen years, their center actively promotes excellence in the early childhood education of your little girl or guy. The center’s diverse personnel is full of bilingual staff and teachers, all striving to teach children about themselves and others around them. With a focus on children from diverse backgrounds, their mission is for each child to learn how to appreciate enriching experiences, cultural diversity, and academic achievement, all the while building vital learning skills. More information can be found on their homepage or by giving them a call at (720) 535-8222.