We’ve captured three stories from people who have benefited greatly from nonprofits in our community.
Nonprofits act as conduits between people in need and affordable products or services, providing items not always readily available to those in crises or living in the margins of society. We talked to four people to hear their personal stories about benefiting from outstanding local nonprofits.
Bridge House addresses the immediate survival needs of homeless and working poor individuals, in order to provide resources leading toward employment, housing, personal stability and healing. Nessa, a poet, found herself homeless after the passing of her husband and was connected to Bridge House’s Ready to Work program via another homeless woman. Ready to Work helps “provide a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless individuals through paid work.”
Nessa says, “I slept outside the church across from the Resource Center and met with Chef John and was set up to intern. I started by eating meals that were provided in the churches, I was helped with getting a sleeping bag and then was put into the Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow program for women. After I started working, I was able to get into the Summer Bed Program at the shelter and stayed there until the Ready to Work house opened in August last year. Bridge House now helps her pay her apartment rent.
An excerpt from Nessa’s poem ‘Should It Pass’:
“I hope these dirty clothes, you don’t notice as you go along to stroll.
To gaze upon a sunset gold and you have not had to pay the toll,
of a misstep here and a misstep there and you smell the flowers without a care.
For should this cup pass to you,
I will lift you up, those upon the street drink from a different cup.”
“They gave me the bootstrap I needed to be able to pull myself up.” – Nessa
There With Care
An organization that provides support to hundreds of families being treated at numerous hospitals and medical facilities in the Boulder and Denver areas, There With Care works within local communities to relieve major stresses of families during trying times.
It starts by offering an expansive scope of attentive and fundamental services to children and families during medical crises to shoulder some of life’s wearing day-to-day obligations.
Mom Nichol can’t even remember how she first connected with There with Care; it’s been a nine-year relationship. One of her daughters, Zaida, diagnosed with a rare cancer at the age of three, has had years of chemo, multiple 12+ hour surgeries, scans, blood draws, radiation and relapses. Nichol says, “They brought us holiday meals early on and gas gift cards, and they bought all of us Christmas gifts that first year! It was wonderful, especially when we could barely keep up with anything, let alone cooking and Christmas shopping.”
The family is heading to New York soon to start Zaida on a new type of targeted therapy.
“Now, they are bringing groceries every couple weeks and have given the kids shoes and school supplies. When my car broke down this summer, they helped pay for the repairs. That was a lifesaver!”
“Having a kid with a chronic illness is really time-consuming, exhausting and expensive! All the things they do, help save us time we then get to spend with the kids and save us money we otherwise wouldn’t have, to spend on the kids, medical care and necessary travel.” – Nichol
Growing Gardens’ vision is “people experiencing a direct and deep connection with food, the land and each other.” The Cultiva Youth Project, a youth-operated organic farm, offers a younger generation the opportunity to give back while ripening leadership and job skills and absorbing organic gardening education.
Sisters Eva and Karina grew up near Growing Gardens, so becoming involved in Cultiva was a natural step during high school summer breaks. Both sisters felt quiet and timid at first but noticed an arch of growth during their time there. Eva says of her time at Growing Gardens, “I’ve seen many other people that I have worked with grow out of being shy and awkward as I have.”
Karina acknowledges, “I learned about how to have a job, how to communicate with a boss and how to work with peers to complete a task. The skills that I acquired have stayed with me to this day and have benefited me in all aspects of my life, from school and my current job, to my ability to take on leadership roles and understand how important it is to make a difference in my community.”
“I have been much more involved in my community—by trying to immerse myself in the community—to be able to have a voice within Boulder.” -Eva
“The biggest advantage I have gained from Growing Gardens is the ability to be a leader and collaborator in all aspects of my life.” -Karina