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We Need Leadership: Denver Youth Take Up the Challenge

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Youth have a lot of serious stuff to face every day. Maybe more than any have ever had to. With school shootings happening often, mental wellness generally not prioritized, a lack of positive leadership, economic hardship, and failing school systems, young humans who thrive are like a flower growing out a rock. How do they do that? How can they grow despite the circumstances? How can teens thrive in a tough world to become positive leaders?

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Truly passionate youth are nurtured at places like the Colorado Young Leaders organization, a local 501(c)(3) that matches ambitious youth with the opportunities making their dreams and impact possible.

 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s like water. Water, over time, will create spaces and valleys and paths exactly where it wants to flow. Our human willpower is exactly the same. While we don’t know what the road will entail on the journey, if we want something badly enough, we’ll find a way how.

 

Colorado Young Leaders believes in this same kind of “magic.” Specifically, they believe in the “Power of Yes.” It’s right on their website, but we like quotes like these, straight from the kids involved in the program:

 

“Saying yes is the start of something bigger than you could have imagined. You’ll know you love it when you do it.” – Max A.

 

What does the power of yes mean to CYL? They define it as: “the willingness to jump into an adventure even if you don’t have it all figured out just yet. It means you want to learn more about the world around you, discover your own gifts, and make a real impact.”

 

How does Colorado Youth Leaders empower youth and help them find opportunities? They have a unique structured program named after four of Colorado’s most well-known 14-ers. In the first phase, students work with the organization to discover and easily identify their trust and core passions. Next, the student commits to a cause. What follows is a perfectly matched internship to help the youth meet leaders and mentors who share their passion and learn valuable skills related to the individual impact they hope to make within their cause.

 

The program concludes with a legacy project, which can span a wide range of student-led initiatives for lasting impact, i.e. meaningful volunteering, creating programs to get more youth involved in service-based careers, or any number of awesome projects they come up with along with the help of CYL.

 

For example, one student was having a difficult time with reading, but had a passion for working with trucks. They took him out to meet a truck mechanic who provided the student with all of the manuals for working on trucks. Sure enough, he took to those manuals and this greatly improved his overall reading skills.


Another student felt passionate to do something about the fact that her school district had experienced several suicides of students. She took the initiative to start a program called “Offline October,” which encouraged students to take a pledge to stay offline for the month of October and encourage more interaction among one another. Thousands of people took the pledge nationwide.


We can get behind it 1000% (or actually 10%, which we donate from every real estate sale or purchase from our agents’ own commission). Recently, Owner and Founder, Real Estate Agent extraordinaire, Allison Parks, was able to donate $1221 to Colorado Young Leaders. Investing in youth leadership is one of the most direct ways to help our future.

 

“I think it’s not just fantastic, but also crucial to empower our young people in this manner,” says Parks. “All too often, young people are told that they can’t do something because they’re too young, or the project will be too big or too difficult… but how will we know what these young people are capable of until we let them try?

I think many times, they will surprise us… and sometimes the projects will be too big or too difficult, but that’s exactly what learning leadership is about. Leadership isn’t about success at every avenue, nor is life. Learning how to adapt to obstacles is a key part of success in which I wish I would had more supported learning experiences when I was younger.” – Allison Parks, Owner & Founder Conscious Real Estate, Do-Gooder, Mindful Broker

 

Does this sound like a cause you could support? There are many ways to help! You can consider donating your time. Get more info here. And, of course, another crucial way to help is to invest and support the organization financially. This way, they can distribute the funds to their particular needs or invest in a current project that needs support. Large, lump sums can go a long way, which is why we encourage you to work with a conscious real estate agency that donates to local positive nonprofits (Hint hint!! It’s us!!).

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Judi’s House: Door’s Open!

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A truly Colorado organization, former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese was inspired to found Judi’s House, named after his mother Judi who passed away from breast cancer when Brian was only 12 years old. Most of us remember our first loss. But most of us were a bit older the first time we experienced it. As a child, grief is incredibly more overwhelming.

Judi’s House Provides Support for Grieving Children & Their Families

When you are a child, getting older can seem like the hardest thing you’ll ever have to go through. And, for most of us, that is about the toughest challenge you’d be expected to face,  overcoming the trials of maturity, and that’s with the support and guidance of your family.

But what if the unthinkable happens and in the midst of growing up, a child loses a loved one?  How does a child overcome that loss and cope with the grieving process?

Judi’s House was founded on the principle of providing answers to those questions and to ensure that no child be left alone in their grief. And since 2002, they have supported more than 9,000 youth and their caregivers in these most difficult times. Judi’s House is the only free-standing group devoted solely for the purpose of providing research based support for children who suffered the loss of a loved one.

Judi’s House exists because the unimaginable sadness of losing a parent or sibling that affects 1 in 18 children in this country annually. However, Conscious Real Estate stands ready to help raise funds though the joy of buying or selling a home in the greater Denver area to build a community for these families.

Their Free Services Have Helped Over 9,000 Families

Judi’s House has one mission. To help grieving children and their families. And, it is provided free of charge. This is incredible and relies on the support of partners like us here at Conscious Real Estate, and of course all of their supporters in Denver and nationwide (hopefully globally too). Behavioral health specialists help through the grief process and encourage coping skills through their tremendous loss.

 

They believe that by investing in children and their families, they will assure that no child is alone in grief and that they can learn skills to heal and become happy adults despite their heartbreaking loss.

And, providing their services at a cost that supports the financial cost of loss (free services), their services are accessible to all. Though, programming is dependent on generous donations. At Conscious Real Estate, we know that large, lump sum donations go farther than small ones. So, we’ve instituted a program of regular giving into our conscious real estate agency. Read on..

Meet Judi’s House Supporters Amanda & Matt (Conscious Real Estate Clients)

Judi’s House is the only organization in Denver to support this cause and we’re happy to be supporters too, thanks to the kind recommendation of our clients who chose the organization as their nonprofit of choice for our 10% donation program. Their choice came from a very personal experience.

Amanda Vanek is the type of teacher every parent wishes their child to learn from. She is equal parts charismatic and compassionate, both the instructor of and role model for her classes.  When one of her students needed the help that only Judi’s House can provide, she learned of the vital mission provided to bereaved youth. When she and her husband Adam chose to make their home in Centennial, the purchase offered them the opportunity to utilize the Conscious Real Estate donation initiative to support an organization that had been so important to one of her students. Thank you Amanda and Adam for your kindness, generosity and support!

Conscious Real Estate Supports Don’t Be A Monster Program

In one definition, bullying is when a person uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are perceived as weaker. As adults, this type of behavior would not be tolerated.

In fact, some of the things that kids these days experience can be described as assault, whether verbally, physically or in cyberspace. However, due to the age group of the parties, it’s often written off as “kids being kids.” No matter which solution you attempt, there are hardly any ways to “win” in a case of bullying. The target can tell a parent or teachers, yet they are risking ostracism and potentially increased bullying by “tattling.” They can stand up to the bully, but likely that is a situation that is intimidating beyond a remote possibility. They can ignore it, like many kids do, yet they risk severe mental disturbances, anxiety or depression by withstanding the abuse.

In Lighter News…

So far, the bullying situation looks grim in what we’ve discussed. But then, how can the community come together and offer some solution to the problem? In our minds, it comes from leaders such as the Don’t Be a Monster program, kids who stand up to it, and each and every one of us challenging ourselves to kindness even when it’s hard and we’re on our last fuse. One way to do this? A grateful jar! Each day or week, write down something you’re thankful for and at the end of the year you can literally count your blessings. Back to the bullying issues and how we help…

When leaders show what should be the norm of how we treat each other, it creates a positive influence on everyone.

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The Don’t Be a Monster program features a “different” looking, but shy and kind “monster” who seeks understanding despite his outward appearance. Through role play and a sequenced presentation, the audience gets to learn how to include others and practice kindness. The program is help in September through October to coincide with the Halloween season, which is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Supported by the Haunted House Association and staffed by 13th Floor Entertainment which runs the notorious 13th Floor Haunted House each year, the program is a spooky way to address bullying and at a perfect time, near the start of the school year.

A Local Colorado Student Stands Up to Bullying

In recent news, one Denver student is taking the bullying problem to the next level of awareness (you freakin’ go, girl!). 16-year-old, Sabrina Inman, found her school to be not taking bullying seriously enough. So, the Highlands Ranch teen has been duct taping her mouth closed and holding a sign in silent protest of bullying at her school and in general.

“You would see kids crying in the bathroom and eating alone in the hallway, for half of the year last year, I was one of those people who sat alone,” she said. “I was being called names like rat and w—e and I still get called them [sic] today. I just thought enough is enough and that something needs to change,” said Inman.

Acts like this, while her school won’t release an official statement, bring awareness to the issues at hand and in a personal way. This girl is so strong! We support nonviolent acts like these because other ways, like this dad who forced his son to fight the school bully or these parents who sued the school bully just are not creating the type of karmic energy needed to fight anger with kindness. They are rather pouring heat on the fire and creating antagonistic behavior, as well as setting not the best example to their children. We like Sabrina’s approach! And, our approach at Conscious Real Estate… read more below.

Conscious Real Estate Supports Anti-Bullying

You might guess that we are not for bullying! We want to spread kindness and we know that one of the best ways to do this is to financially support the nonprofits and movements that work on these issues every single day. They are the ones who are reading the latest research, following the news, making positive connections with leaders in the community, and touching students’ hearts on a day to day basis.

In order to run their programming, they need financing. Many in-house nonprofit volunteers and staff spend their time soliciting donations, but there is another way that we can support the cause and that is working with us when you buy or sell a home.

We are a conscious company. To be able to call ourselves this, we donate 10% of every sale to a nonprofit of our clients’ choice.

Recently, broker Kimberly McAleenan was honored to be able to make, not one, but FOUR donations to the Don’t Be a Monster program to support anti-bullying! When you donate this way, you are able to make a much larger donation which allows nonprofits to make a large, necessary purchase and get the extra push they need to run operations. On average, our donations can generate more money than a small event, and are always about 10 times larger than typical one-time donations. Plus… it’s OUR money. Our donations are always from our personal commission made on your behalf.


In this video, Kimberly McAleenan presents her donation to Don’t Be a Monster. Learn more about their programming and exactly how the money will be used for school assemblies.

 

 


And…. Kimberly had the opportunity to donate FOUR times this year with a total of over $4K!!

 

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SOLD!!! Kimberly McAleenan snaps this shot of a happy family moving into their new home, while supporting anti-bullying campaigns!

 

Don’t Be a Monster Program receives donation thanks to Conscious Real Estate Broken Kimberly McAleenan’s (center) help in matching home buyers with homes and causes with donations. Kimberly is making a huge impact in the community by donating FOUR times to Don’t Be a Monster this year alone.

 


If you are looking for a house and want to make a difference too, start browsing and daydreaming with us!

Conscious Real Estate Donates to Steve’s Club

 

Steve’s Club is a nonprofit that started off completely grassroots in one of the most dangerous public housing units in urban Camden, New Jersey. The city is in better shape than it was when this news report: 36 Hours in Camden was filmed, but it is still considered one of the most challenging places to live and especially to grow up.

Crime is high, single parent households are common, buildings are crumbling and abandoned, there are hardly any restaurants or supermarkets and many of the residents have lost a family member or friend to violence.

 


Steve’s Club Founder Steve Liberati started the organization in May 2017, donating CrossFit inspired fitness programming to low-income youths in the Centennial Village Apartments public housing complex. Since, then Steve’s Club has grown nationwide, making an impact for at-risk kids everywhere there’s a club in America.

“Our mission at Steve’s Club and its participating members, is to provide a national network of programs through which at-risk or underserved youth of any socioeconomic background can join in the CrossFit Community at a reduced, low or no cost structure.”


 

We Everywhere”

Imagining Steve’s Club founders saying that to themselves now that the nonprofit has spread from the East to West coasts and everywhere in between. Local communities can start their own Steve’s Club and the CrossFit connection has been extremely supportive.

When kids experience quality leadership, it impacts their lives. Seeing a strong, consistent and health adult regularly in their lives, which, living in Camden, couldn’t have been all too common, must have been an incredible blessing to the community. In our local community, Steve-Club Denver works with at-risk youths here in our community. Using CrossFit and team building, the program gives kids strength both inside and outside.

 

Steve’s Club Denver

Once Steve’s Club took off (pretty much instantly), the need for something nationwide became very clear. Here in Denver, even Five Points and Colfax Street are gritty neighborhoods that can never compare to Camden, NJ, however, the need is here for at-risk kids to have an outlet to get through to adulthood. Steve’s Club is one option for them, and one that we’re extremely proud to have recently donated to.  

The mentors and coaches “foster resilience to stress and aim to improve the lives of all involved.” We love how they explain their mission:

 

“We care just as much about outcomes related to mood stability, decision-making, and social functioning, as we do about more easily measurable variables such as benchmark times, lifted pounds, or total rounds. Our group is passionate about fitness and every factor that is needed to sustain a life with regular exercise. In case there were any concern, we are also fully capable of having a boatload of fun along the way.” – Steve’s Club Denver

 

At-Risk Youth & Health

It’s obvious that without access to healthy food or a place to do healthy recreational activities…any human, teen, or child would feel antsy, perhaps choosing activities that are an outlet of a type, but without the results of a program like Steve’s Club/CrossFit. Simply wearing yourself out helps you sleep, regulates your blood flow, gets oxygen to your brain and allows for incredible stress relief.  Steve’s Club also started as a way to bring healthier food to urban teens in poverty. Whether you’re into Paleo or not, Steve is and we can definitely agree it’s a lot healthier than Hot Cheetos and Takis. He also started Paleo Kits that have also helped improve inner city nutrition. 

 

About Conscious Real Estate

There are lots of real estate brokers in Colorado, we know. But how many donate 10% to charity with every single sale? Not many we’ve found! Our agent, Kimberly McAleenan had the pleasure of delivering the Steve’s Club Denver donation and we are stoked she introduced us to this awesome organization that’s all about strength and empowerment. Giving to good causes is what we’re ’bout.

So, do you have a favorite nonprofit?

Thinking about upgrading, downgrading, moving closer to the mountains, getting more land, or moving into the city? Consider working with Conscious Real Estate and think about that gold star you’ll get when they get their check and another cause gets to continue – because of you!!! (And you’re celebrating in your new home.) Sound blissful? It is! Contact us to set up an interview today.

Support VSA Colorado/Access Gallery By Commissioning a Portrait of your Pet

Greetings All!  This weekend, Kim Johnson of Faceted Media and I volunteered at the First Friday event with the Art of War Project.  While I was there, Erika Righter, owner of Hope Tank (that cool gift boutique on South Broadway, which gives a portion of EVERY item to nonprofits) introduced me to the artists of the VSA Colorado Access Gallery.

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The VSA Colorado/Access Gallery is an inclusive nonprofit organization that provides creative and educational opportunities for people with disabilities to access and experience the arts.  Each summer VSA Colorado/Access Gallery works with 15 – 20 high school students with disabilities to develop skills and strategies to increase access to economic opportunities.  I think these kids are awesome and I think you will think they’re awesome.

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A GREAT way to support these teens is through the “We Make Great Pets Project,” through which you can commission a portrait of your pet!  The goal is to develop, implement, and support arts-integrated education and employment programs for teens and young adults with disabilities.

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Commissioning a portrait of your pet is simple.  Come to the gallery at 909 Santa Fe, Denver, CO 80204.  See examples and pick three artists whose style you like.  They will make every effort to have one of your selected artists complete the piece, and for an additional fee, they can guarantee your top choice.  In two weeks, your portrait will be complete.  It’s fun for you OR it’s the perfect gift for any animal lover.

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It costs $80 for an 11 X 14 portrait of your pet.  You provide them with a photo of your pet and a deposit and the artists will begin the portrait.  You can commission any animal you choose.  The artists are encouraged to use their creative talent, so the painting will be an interpretation of your photograph.  (No refunds on commissioned paintings.)

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Find the artist that fits your pet’s flair and email them a photo!  For more information, call 303-777-0797 or email cris@accessgallery.org, you can stay updated on their events through Facebook, or if you’re feeling inspired, you can donate.  I hope you’re all having a great summer!  – Allison

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Conscious Real Estate Partners with Environmental Learning for Kids

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Conscious Group is proud to partner with Environmental Learning for Kids.  ELK is an inclusive non-profit organization that develops inspired and responsible leaders through science education and outdoor experiences for underserved, urban youth ages 5-25.

Underserved, culturally diverse youth in Arapahoe, Adams and Denver Counties do not have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive as other youth. There are far more opportunities in urban neighborhoods to skip school and join gangs than there are to become a contributing part of the community.  Eighty percent of the students that ELK works with in school programs, mostly in Denver, Commerce City and Aurora, qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Through Learning Environmental Activities for Families (LEAF), ELK’s family-based program, ELK encourages parents to experience the outdoors with their children. Parents are invited to attend all ELK activities.  As an additional source of support for students, ELK’s Youth in Natural Resources (YNR) program offers leadership development, mentoring and one-to-one assistance as students prepare for college. To date, ELK has helped secure $70,000 in scholarships for students to attend college.

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Priscilla Alcocer, a 12 year old ELK student said, “I’m only 12, and I know what college I want to go to. I know what I want to do with my life. ELK taught me you’re never too young or old to try something new or think about your future.”

I am inspired by organizations such as this that provide education and better options for our next generation.  You may donate to Environmental Learning for Kids, volunteer, or enroll your child.  Follow ELK on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates about the great work they are doing in our community!

For just $250, one student can participate in ELK activities for a year. A gift of $100 will provide 25 students with the opportunity to experience the outdoors on an ELK field trip.

As always, Conscious Real Estate contributes 10% of all commissions to the nonprofit of your choice, and ELK is a great choice!  Let’s make positive changes together in the community when you buy or sell your next home with Conscious Real Estate.  Call Allison Parks at 303-908-9873 or email allison@theconsciousgroup.com.

Conscious Real Estate Partners with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education

colorado-alliance-for-environmental-education

Conscious Real Estate is proud to announce a partnership with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. CAEE is a professional organization for environmental educators, which facilitates communication, cooperation, collaboration, and coordination among the varied environmental education programs in the state.

Environmental education is a life-long learning process that increases awareness about the environment and its systems while developing critical-thinking skills that enable responsible decision-making.  Environmental education builds knowledge and skills in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and allows opportunities to apply those skills.

Environmental education also fosters a connection to the community and civic responsibility by developing environmental literacy, which is the capacity to understand the implications of our actions, to critically think about daily choices, and to make informed and responsible decisions.  Reaching this level of understanding and developing these skills on a large scale is only possible through quality education.

We need environmental education if we continue to expect the people of Colorado to make tough choices about environmental issues (i.e., water use, air pollution, development, transportation, etc.)  We are lucky to live in such a beautiful state, and it’s important to bring environmental awareness and education to our current and future generations.

If you need additional motivation to support CAEE, watch this controversial commercial from Toys R Us which all but denounces not just environmental education, but education in general.  Parents have to compete with such enticing ads to keep their children engaged in healthy activities, as obesity rises in our country and the educational system declines.  Even Stephen Colbert had to take a stab at this one!

Become a member, donate, or volunteer with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and follow CAEE on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates on the great work they are doing in our community.

Remember:  Conscious Real Estate always contributes 10% of commissions to the nonprofit of your choice when you buy or sell a home with our realtors, so you can make a generous donation to great organizations in our community like CAEE.

If you can donate any technology items or office supplies, The Wish List for CAEE currently includes:  projector, computer speakers, recent computers and laptops, Adobe InDesign software, Laptop cases/bags, Wireless mouse, laminator, colored paper, copy paper, paper shredder, flip chart paper, easels, Avery labels, Avery name tag holder, Avery name tag inserts, Spray Mount, Post It Notes, Tools (hammer, nails, etc.), Standing lamps, light bulbs, Vacuum, Room Air Conditioner, Fans, Plastic Bins, Tupperware, Set of knives, Folding Tables, Folding Chairs, Cutting Boards, Meeting Space, Small Moving Dollies, and Wheeled Storage for Events.

Please email info@caee.org to donate these items.

Conscious Real Estate Partners with PlatteForum

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Conscious Real Estate is proud to announce a partnership with award-winning Denver nonprofit, PlatteForum. PlatteForum is an innovative nonprofit arts, youth-development, and urban artist-in-residence program in Denver that teams underserved youth (K-12) from around the Denver metropolitan area with contemporary master artists in intensive, structured, and long-term creative learning environments.

In 2002, Judy Anderson and Mark Smith (East West Partners) co-founded PlatteForum in Denver, Colorado, to address diminishing access to the arts in public schools and provide a place for artists to have the time and support to create new work.  Youth work side by side with resident artists to collaboratively plan, produce, and exhibit a body of work in an environment in which artistic excellence is highly valued.  Through the creative process, PlatteForum gives hope and direction to underserved youth who collaborate with master artists from around the world.  This experience transforms the lives of the youth, the artists and the community.

PlatteForum welcomes the public to their events, it’s a great place to volunteer, and creative workshops are led by professional artists… with cocktails, or you can make a donation.  As always, you can remind your friends and family that when they sell or purchase a home through Conscious Real Estate, 10% of our agent’s commission can go to PlatteForum to help underserved youth and lend to the vibrancy of our community.