What's buzzing at EarthLinks?

The garden is blooming and harvest has begun! We have many updates and new event details to share with you.

Community Updates

New Participant Orientation
Bringing in New Participants
We are excited to finally be able to bring in new participants this month! During normal times, EarthLinks brings in new participants four times a year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not had any new folks join us since February 2020. Being able to introduce new folks into our participant community is such a joyous occasion for all of us.

For ongoing participants, it helps them reconnect with the time they first joined and remember how far they have come since. For staff, it is a way to share our special place and activities with new people, knowing that their lives will soon dramatically improve. For everyone here, the most delightful moment is greeting a newcomer and saying, "Yep we actually do all this stuff here everyday and - for real - you are going to get to do it too." We share with them that the long period of disconnection and isolation is close to ending, as they always will have a second home here.

To be eligible, new participants must be experiencing homelessness currently or have only recently become housed. They must earn less than $1,090 per month and need not have any income. They just need to show up for their assigned shifts, come in sober, and be willing to learn something new. Membership is for life at this point, it doesn't end when you become housed. The oldest participants have been here for over 16 years.
The Orientation Process
The orientation process is unique here as well. Day one begins with breakfast, a tour of the site, greeting the bees, and a dialogue on how EL is a place of refuge from the grinding experience of homelessness. No one here has to worry about fighting for a place to sit or that someone is eyeing their stuff. We tell folks that it may take a few months, but we want them to let their guard down and allow their real selves to come out. For some folks who have been homeless for years, they may have not been themselves for a long time. We tell folks that they will be in a new place a year from now, and can reconnect with talents they might not have touched in decades.  

Day Two is a chance to move between 4-5 product stations. They get hands-on instruction in candle decoration, card making, or the production of a lip balm or upcycled earrings. They are taught by some of the master participants. Day Three gives them a chance to work on products with "rank and file" members of the participant community, and make a decision as to whether they want to join us.  The final step will be an invitation to sign their name to our huge Tree of Life mural that covers our administration building.  

Written by Jay Reszka, Case Management Coordinator
The EarthLinks Coffee Shop is open!
We are now serving espresso, coffee and tea drinks in our store at 2746 West 13th Avenue. The store and coffee shop will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm. Vegan/non-dairy options are available.

Tell your friends! As always, our EarthLinks-made body care products and gifts are available for sale.

Questions? Call our store manager Kevin Person at 303-389-0085, ext. 100 or email him.

New Staff Members

Kevin Person (he, him, his)
Store Manager

Kevin has lived in the Denver Metro his whole life. He has a passion for community and creativity. As the manager of the new coffee shop he is helping fill the gap of job readiness training for at risk individuals. His goal is to help them find and share their innate potential. He has lived experience navigating the housing, recovery, and healthcare systems. He finds a way to flourish in challenging environments by always learning and engaging the power of perspective.
Hanna Johnson (she, her, hers)
VISTA Summer Associate

Hanna was born and raised in Tucson, AZ, moved here to Colorado for college, and recently graduated with an Associates Degree in General Studies. She hopes to further her education and move towards becoming a dental hygienist, working with nonprofits worldwide and folks that don't have access to dental care. She found EarthLinks through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, and she will be here for a 10 week term. Hanna hopes to continue to volunteer and be a part of this wonderful community that battles food justice and homelessness. In her free time, she loves to spend time outside, in the garden, hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and tie-dyeing! She feels honored to be a part of this beautiful and inclusive community, and give back to others. 
Jess Zawadzki (she, her, hers)
VISTA Summer Associate

Jess is from Buffalo, NY but bounced around the East Coast before coming to Denver to earn her Master's of Social Work at the University of Denver, with a focus on family systems and trauma-informed care, and training in experiential/outdoor therapy. In looking for a post-graduate position, Jess dreamed of connecting her love for the healing power of nature with the ability to empower her community, and could not believe her good fortune when she found and connected with EarthLinks. Following her service, Jess will begin earning her licensure as an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) so that she may practice as a mental health clinician, specifically serving women experiencing trauma and abuse. She hopes to connect this work with healing through nature, and responsible stewardship of the planet.

Upcoming Events

Imagine 2021
Imagine is our signature fundraiser of the year. Every fall, we come together and celebrate the EarthLinks community. Featuring fine crafted food and drink, a paddle raise, and a performance by Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre. This year, Imagine will be held on September 9th at Grant-Humphreys Mansion.
About the speaker: 
“Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity and social change.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR, and Poets.Org. 

In 2004, LeFebre co-founded a now transitioned award-winning nonprofit organization, Cafe Cultura, which was dedicated to utilizing poetry as a tool for youth literacy and educational and cultural development.  Café Cultura used spoken word workshops, classes, and open mics to hold space for, center, and uplift marginalized voices—specifically Latinx and indigenous voices—across the Denver Metro area.”
Click HERE to purchase tickets for Imagine 2021
Participant Art Show
This summer, EarthLinks will host a Participant Art Show, featuring art and crafts made by members of our community. Come and shop from our talented artisans! There will be several jewelry makers, people making pickled foods, jams, and jellies, miniatures, painted rocks, painted clothes, greeting cards and more.

This event will occur on Saturday, August 7th from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Refreshments will be provided.
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Humans of EarthLinks
by Kathryn Keyes

This month we celebrate Kenny!

Kenny is one of our easy-going, likable guys, who hopes that he would be seen as such – a positive, happy person.

He was born and raised in Denver (at the old DGH, no less). Eventually he went to Manuel High School, where in his teen years, he admitted to being "pretty wild and having lots of fun." Even today, Manuel has an annual reunion for ALL the graduates with music, food, tennis, dominoes, and “everything!” One year the Attendance Taker called out “Hey Kenny, I bet you don’t remember me!” He knew exactly who that was – Ms. Patton. He has a picture of the two of them on his phone. Apparently Kenny had a habit of walking (more than one) girl to class and needed passes. He remembers Manuel fondly: “It was a good time.”

Kenny cooked much of his life, having learned in Home Economics, until he was hit by a car (with 3 screws in his leg and 1 in his ankle, resulting). He had to learn how to walk again and now rides his bike to stay in shape. He’s looking forward to gyms reopening. In the meantime, he enjoys spending time with friends from childhood, where they help each other get things done where they live.

He likes jazz, r&b, and even some rap sometimes. He used to play the drums & sing! Kenny is thankful for the vaccine, yet said that too many people have lost their loved ones. He’s been coming to EarthLinks since 2012 and especially likes to do artwork and work in “the house” making delicious smelling lotion bars, soap, & candles.

A huge thank you to Kenny, for your vulnerability, kindness, and wise words. And thank you to Kathryn, for facilitating this interview and segment.

Partnership with Denver Rotary

The Members of the Denver Rotary Club and Denver Rotary Club Foundation have generously provided EarthLinks with grant funding in support of our Workshop program. The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to alter the ways in which we serve our community. We are still supporting our participants with food, rent payments and motel rooms, stipends and individualized support to help folks stay safe. Since our participants are all considered “vulnerable”, these supports have been crucial for their well-being.
We are so grateful for the support of Denver Rotary Club and Denver Rotary Club Foundation in maintaining our community. These funds will help us to continue growing as an organization as well as cultivate a safe and giving space for the Participants. We truly appreciate your continued help in creating a place where those experiencing homelessness can find help, comfort, fulfillment, and community. Thank you Denver Rotary Club!

About Denver Rotary Club:
Their mission is "to create a dynamic
network of diverse leaders who serve ethically and take action to impact
Denver and the world."
"Also known as Club 31, we are a dynamic group of professionals committed to connecting with others to continually learn, develop new networks, and serve our community in a meaningful and lasting way. Founded in 1911, we are the oldest Rotary club in Colorado, with a rich history of serving the Denver Metro community. We also are the 31st Rotary Club to be established; hence, the name Club 31. The Rotary Club of Denver is part of a regional and international network of clubs all devoted to connecting community leaders in shared service."
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Thank you for helping to cultivate the community here at EarthLinks.

Throughout the past year we've learned that although we may not always be together in person, the strength of this community goes beyond the walls of our garden. Empowerment, resilience, and collectivity grow from our rich soil, and we will learn from nature that we can survive even the harshest of winters. 

The EarthLinks Community has faced unprecedented hurdles this past year. Your donation will ensure the well-being and empowerment of folks experiencing homelessness in your community.

Click the donate button below to contribute to our mission.
EarthLinks, Inc. 
2746 W. 13th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
(p) 303-389-0085

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