More than 200 Kaiser Permanente Employees to Volunteer in Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Nick Roper, Kaiser Permanente,

Carolyn Jarvis, SparkTheChange,

WHAT: More than 200 Kaiser Permanente Colorado employees are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by rolling up their sleeves in remembrance of Dr. King’s commitment to community service. In partnership with SparktheChange, Kaiser Permanente Colorado employees will volunteer at 15 projects along the Front Range. Projects include building outdoor bike racks for the public and helping with cooking classes. This is the 15th consecutive year Kaiser Permanente has participated in MLK Jr. Day of Service.

WHO: 200+ Kaiser Permanente employees volunteering in Colorado.

WHEN: Monday, January 21, 2019 **see info for specific times for each project**

WHERE: We invite the media to join us at the following three locations; please contact

Nick Roper (303.905.7451) to schedule.

1. Freedom Service Dogs (FRIDAY, JANUARY 18)

7193 S. Dillon Ct. Englewood, CO 80112

9:30a.m. – 12p.m. Freedom Service Dogs unleashes the potential of dogs by transforming them into custom-trained, life-changing assistance dogs for people in need. Volunteers from Kaiser Permanente will clean kennels, paint various structures, and assist in other maintenance projects.

2. Metro Caring (MONDAY, JANUARY 21)

1100 E. 18th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

12:30 – 3:30pm Metro Caring is meeting people’s immediate food needs while sustainably addressing the root cause of hunger: poverty. Kaiser Permanente volunteers will be helping to expand the indoor growing operations and community garden which provide sustainably-sourced food for the community in need.

3. Mount Saint Vincent (MONDAY, JANUARY 21)

4159 Lowell Blvd. Denver, CO 80211

10a.m. – 2p.m. Mount Saint Vincent is the Rocky Mountain region’s premier provider of mental health treatment, foster care services, preschool through eighth grade education, and trauma-informed training — all focused on children and their families. At this project site, Kaiser Permanente volunteers will be painting vibrant murals in rooms, and refurbishing the Mount Saint Vincent club house.

4. Denver Urban Gardens (MONDAY, JANUARY 21)

1031 33rd St. Denver, CO 80205

10a.m. – 2p.m. Denver Urban Gardens’ gardeners grow food, but more than that, they grow community. DUG currently has over 170 gardens in six counties in the Metro Denver Area. To ensure DUG continues to grow, 20 volunteers will sort seeds for future use at this location.

5. GrowHaus (MONDAY, JANUARY 21)

4751 York St, Denver, CO 80216

10a.m. – 2p.m. The GrowHaus is a nonprofit indoor farm in north Denver dedicated to food production, food education and food distribution. For this MLK Jr. Day project, 25 volunteers will help in the hydroponic farm and aquaponic farm, organize the seedling nursery, paint various structures and rooms, and construct storage space in the GrowHaus classroom.


About Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 49 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 650,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 30 medical offices across the state—from Pueblo to Greeley and in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2017, proudly directed more than $122 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit or follow us @kpcolorado or like us

About Spark the Change Colorado

Spark the Change Colorado, formerly Metro Volunteers is Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource, strategist and partner for volunteerism, service and engagement. We empower individuals, organizations and communities with the knowledge, tools, connections and guidance to become driving forces for positive change. to learn more visit or call us at 303.282.1234.

Senior Companion Program Launches!

In addition to our new name, we also have a new program, Senior Companion Program!

Senior Companion Program

The Senior Companion Program is returning after an absence of five years to these counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Jefferson and Douglas. This vitally important program is part of Senior Corps, a United States government agency under the oversight of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Senior Companion Program engages individuals 55+ years old to realize the independence of older adults in their home and as a team, continue to be vibrant, contributing members of our communities.

In order to launch a successful Senior Companion Program, Laura Kinder visited the only other one currently operating in Colorado. Since 1990, St. Mary’s Senior Companion Program has served Grand Junction, Clifton, Palisade and Fruita. Throughout 2016-2018 fiscal year, 35 volunteers provided 26,357 hours of service to 285 older adults. Heartfelt appreciation goes to Tanya Finke, Program Coordinator and Susan Nickels, Program Manager pictured here, for sharing their expertise and experiences with Laura.

Learn more:

Spotlight on Pro Bono Mental Health Volunteer, Nancy Lee

0e2d0a17-a80b-4f41-8c64-78c2b9cb1d33In Spark the Change Colorado’s, formerly Metro Volunteers’ first year running the Pro Bono Mental Health Program we have served over 512 low income Coloradoans in the Denver area. Our therapists in Pueblo and Denver provided 4,104 hours of pro bono services worth $410,400. On average our volunteers provide over a full work day a month of pro bono services.

This month, we would like to highlight the work of one of our volunteers, Nancy Lee.

What would you like to share about yourself?
I’m a private practice psychotherapist in Aurora.  I was born in Seoul, South Korea.  I grew up in Chicago and moved to Denver in 2000.  I love Colorado because it’s a beautiful state with lots of opportunities for personal and professional growth.

What type of therapist are you? 
I’m an integrative, trauma-informed therapist.  I serve adults, mostly young adult to middle age.  I describe my specialty as anxiety and stress because those are relatable terms that span a range of issues and cultures.  I view myself as a relational, pragmatic, creative, and values-driven person.  That’s pretty much the way I approach therapy.  I mostly use evidence-based therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  I’m in the process of learning a trauma therapy called Brainspotting.

What were you doing prior to counseling?
I used to work in nonprofit administration.  My passions are health, wellness, and education.  I’ve done a lot of volunteering in those areas, all the way up to the state level.  In addition, I was a peer support volunteer in a faith-based setting.

What made you interested in the field of mental health?
My interest began with improving my own mental health.  I experienced a lot of early childhood adversity.  I spent my first couple decades figuring out how to navigate the world and get healthy.  Mental health as a profession is awesome because we apply science and humanitarianism to benefit others in creative ways.

Are there any particular areas of interests or expertise that you have?
I don’t market myself as a multicultural counselor or a trauma counselor, but culture, identity, and toxic stress are things that come up a lot in my practice.  As such, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to be culturally proficient in the clinical setting.  I’m always working on one project or another to expand my impact beyond the therapy room.  Lately, I’ve been doing public speaking about parenting.  If we believe our kids are increasingly at-risk, then one piece of the puzzle is figuring out how to resource parents.

What has been one of the most valuable tools in your professional toolkit as a therapist?
Mindfulness paired with self-compassion.  The combination of the two has been life-changing for me.  I’ve seen it soften and shift the way clients relate to themselves.

What is your involvement in the Pro Bono Program?
I have one individual pro-bono client through my private practice.  In addition, I’m in the process of getting set up to provide behavioral healthcare for the Center for Immigrants.  One of the great things about this country is our volunteerism.  Volunteers do everything from relieve suffering to build houses.  It’s pretty profound when you think about it.  Volunteering has opened my eyes and expanded my horizons in ways that paid work cannot.  Volunteering can be a form of self-empowerment because we get to fix problems, break through limitations, and express our values.

Congratulations to our most recent Service Enterprise Member, Butterfly Pavilion

We are proud to announce that Butterfly Pavilion is Colorado’s most recent Service Enterprise! After investing months of hard work into the overall health of your organization, and your community they finished the program on July 2nd. They participated in the second cohort of the Colorado Service Enterprise.

If your org is interested in becoming a service enterprise, please contact-
Rita Mohler // 720-420-3213 //
Learn More About Service Enterprise Here.

May is Mental Health Month: Spotlight on Pro Bono Volunteer, Pamala Kaiser-Helmick

In Metro Volunteers first year running the Pro Bono Mental Health Program we have served over 512 low income Coloradoans in the Denver area. Our therapists in Pueblo and Denver provided 4,104 hours of pro bono services worth $410,400. On average our volunteers provide over a full work day a month of pro bono services.

In honor of Mental Health Month, I would like to highlight the work of one of our most active volunteers. Pamala Kaiser-Helmick, who remains one of our founding volunteers of the program, has donated over 126 hours of pro bono counseling over the five months she has been volunteering with us. What an amazing contribution. 

From the start of her involvement as a volunteer in our program, Pamala has come with an eager attitude towards helping in as many ways as possible. Our Pro Bono Mental Health Community is lucky to enjoy her growth-oriented mindset and positive energy at all of our events. We value her consistent pro bono services at Safe House and Warren Village, two of our community host site partners. Pamala recently opened up a private practice in Littleton. Prior to her pro bono and private practice work, she established a disabilities case management firm and has worked at the Karlis Family Center, a domestic violence center.

Pamala, tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do for fun? What other types of volunteerism do you participate in?

I’m was born and raised right here in Colorado.  My hobbies include: teaching Zumba Fitness Classes (my therapy!), camping, hiking, soaking in several of Colorado’s natural hot springs, gardening, various craft projects, and spending as much time as possible with my 2 sons and husband.  Some other volunteer work I do on a regular basis is fostering puppies from a local rescue, and assisting a friend with a charity she runs collecting clothes, running clothing drives, and organizing special events.


What type of therapist are you training to be?

My M.A. is from CU Denver in Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, but I’m currently working on the hours to complete a LPC.  I plan to obtain my LMFT in the near future as well.

Tell us about your work at your host sites i.e. who are you serving and what type of pro bono work are you offering.

I’m volunteering at Warren Village, a transitional housing program for low income single parents.  I’m a therapist there one day a week. I’m also volunteering at SafeHouse Denver, a homeless shelter for domestic violence victims, as a therapist a couple of hours a week.  I just recently started doing pro-bono work in a private practice setting one day a week as well.

What do you find most rewarding about your pro bono work? What other benefits do you receive from the program?

The most rewarding aspect would certainly be the clients I have met and had the privilege to work with over these last few months.  It’s an honor to be even a small part in their healing process. Most of these clients would not have the opportunity to access mental health services outside of the pro bono program.  While this experience in and of itself is a huge benefit, some of the other benefits include that I am able to complete a large amount of the required hours towards state licensure through the program.  Metro Volunteers regularly offers access to trainings, workshops, and seminars that are educational and beneficial in the field of counseling. I have been matched with an amazing pro bono clinical supervisor through the program.

And you are currently being supervised by another volunteer offering you pro bono supervision? What has that experience been like?

I am!  I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am that we were paired up!  Not only has my supervisor been invaluable with her guidance in my clinical supervision, but she has also been beyond helpful with advice and mentoring in the world of private practice and the business aspects of therapy and counseling.  I feel lucky and blessed to have crossed paths with her at this point in my career. She is  compassionate, encouraging, and inspiring.  I have already decided that I will be volunteering in the pro bono program as a supervisor myself a few years down the road.

What would you say to a prospective volunteer or mental health colleague about volunteering?

Do it!  It’s been an extremely rewarding experience and I’ve had the opportunity to work with people through the pro bono program that I likely wouldn’t have had otherwise.  There is a lot of flexibility within the program to meet your schedule and availability. The staff at Metro Volunteers are some of the warmest and friendliest people I have ever worked with.

A warm expression of gratitude to all of our Pro Bono Mental Health Volunteer!

Attend the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo Volunteer Meeting this Wednesday, February 28th

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is looking for volunteers to attend their Volunteer Meeting, held at the National Western Stock Show Complex on Wednesday, February 28 at 6:00pm (enter the Hall of Education at the south ticket entrance).

Advance registration is appreciated since pizza will be provided! You can sign up here

More about this opportunity:

The 2018 Expo will take place Friday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11, from 7:00am to 8:00pm (exhibits close at 6:00pm on Sunday) at the National Western Stock Show complex. All volunteer shifts are four hours long, and include one meal ticket plus complimentary grounds access. Volunteer roles include ticket sales, greeting/guest relations, information and education, membership sales and service, art exhibition, directing traffic, and cleaning stalls. No prior experience with horses is necessary, although stable experience is preferred for anyone dealing directly with the animals or preparing stalls for occupancy.

500 Kaiser Permanente Employees to Volunteer Statewide Today in Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

More than 500 Kaiser Permanente Colorado physicians and staff are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by rolling up their sleeves in remembrance of Dr. King’s commitment to community service.

In partnership with Metro Volunteers, Kaiser Permanente Colorado employees will volunteer at more than 30 projects all along the Front Range—from Greely to Pueblo. Projects include building outdoor bike racks for the public and helping with cooking classes. This is the 14th consecutive year Kaiser Permanente has participated in MLK Jr. Day of Service.

Service Examples-

Bikes Together

NE location, 2825 Fairfax St, Denver, CO 80207

10am-3pm Bikes Together promotes community, education, wellness and fun. Dedicated volunteers, staff, partners and program participants come together to get people on bikes and keep them there. 30 Kaiser Permanente volunteers with basic carpentry knowledge and physical stamina will join them on MLK day to help continue their message. Volunteers will build outdoor bike racks for new shop space, improve drainage by digging out dirt and laying additional gravel, assemble storage units and disassemble chains for use as bike camp reward system.

Denver Urban Gardens

1031 33rd St, Denver, CO 80205

9:30am-4:30pm Denver Urban Gardens’ gardeners grow food, but more than that, they grow community. DUG currently has over 170 gardens in six counties in the Metro Denver Area. To ensure DUG continues to grow, 20 volunteers will sort seeds for the Grow a Garden program. These seeds will be distributed to the community so they can grow their own food, rather than being used in public DUG gardens.

4751 York St, Denver, CO 80216

9am-1pm The GrowHaus is a nonprofit indoor farm in north Denver dedicated to food production, food education and food distribution. It does so through food boxes, hydroponic farm, aquaponics farm and gardening classes. In order to continue their dedication, 40 volunteers will set up seedling rooms, paint classrooms and the Executive Director’s office, as well as build outdoor items and help with cooking classes.

Do something meaningful in your community, become a VOLUNTEER DRIVER today!

Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council (DRMAC) is a nonprofit organization that helps ensure people with mobility challenges have access to the community and our new Volunteer Driver Program hopes to take that a step further.

We are looking for volunteer drivers in Arapahoe County to help transport a population of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who don’t have the ability to drive themselves.  There is a huge need in transportation assistance for this population and we hope that our program helps to address this.  We want to give Arapahoe County residents the opportunity to give back to the community in which the live and help disabled adults live a more fulfilling and independent life.

Flexible scheduling – You decide when and where you are able to drive.

No Experience Necessary – We provide all the proper training at no cost to you.

We also offer mileage reimbursement, possible deductions to your insurance rates, and all the warm fuzzy feelings that come with making a difference.

To qualify, we ask that you have a reliable vehicle and the ability to pass a motor vehicle record and background check.

For more information visit DRMAC’s website at

If you’re interested or if you know someone who could help, please contact:

Christopher Shipps

Manager – volunteer Driver Program

(303) 861-3711 Ext. 104

Grieving on a Budget

A year ago, my best friend lost her younger sister who had bipolar disorder. In addition to processing her death by suicide, her family had to continue to run a  business, needing assistance from community members to pay the bills for funeral costs. When I received the tragic news, I was in graduate school. As I attempted to process the loss and what that loss meant to those I cared most about,  I grew distracted, my memory suffered, jokes about death and bipolar disorder triggered me in class, and I felt a constant level of sadness. I felt guilty for feeling the way I felt for longer than a week and struggled to find ways to best support my best friend during such a painful loss. Grieving felt like an independent study with a large workload.

“Grieving felt like an independent study with a large workload.”

I am not even an immediate family member and I had plenty of wonderful resources and a network of friends and family supporting me built into an educational system  I could pay for.

If you have lived long enough you have lost someone in your life. You know the pain. Grief weighs heavily on family and friends, manifesting in different ways for different people–sometimes arriving in intense waves of sorrow, other times hanging over us for longer periods of time. On top of attempting to manage these feelings, those experiencing bereavement are asked to organize–to function. We put forth a specious sense of a time limit on grief, expecting those who have lost someone to return to work after five days, to be over it and joyful when they show up to gatherings, and we put pressure on ourselves to be productive soon after a loss in our lives. “If you think of our society now, everything is quick hurry. We don’t realize that the body takes time to heal and so does the mind. Grieving is a lot of work and it takes a lot of energy,” says Reverend Wanda Y. Parker, BSN M.DIV, a therapist at Bereavement Services at Ingalls Hospice (Pallay, 2014).

Mourning the Loss of a Loved OnePhoto

Taking the time to heal is a privilege that not everyone affords. If this is difficult for middle and upper-class individuals, the lack of space and resources to grieve is three times as much for those who are low income.

I cannot imagine losing those closest to me with little financial resources to pay for hospital costs, funeral services, or my own basic needs. The average North American funeral costs between $7,000-$10,000 dollars and this range grows with inflation (, 2016).

For low-income individuals meeting basic needs remains front of mind all the time. Navigating our mental health system in order to find the appropriate counselor proves daunting. This assumes someone has access to a computer or other resources to search for one. Then the questions become: Does the counselor take insurance? When can I reasonably find time to see this therapist if I am looking for a job or working multiple jobs? Despite these barriers, receiving mental health services functions as a feedback loop, assisting individuals in meeting their emotional needs so they can function, and in return, better meet their basic needs, and hopefully, move beyond just meeting their basic needs.

“At Metro Volunteers, we match mental health professionals with those who lack access to mental health services.”

At Metro Volunteers, we match mental health professionals with those who lack access to mental health services. Our process involves a brief intake for clients with no extra hoops to jump through. Volunteer with Metro Volunteers and serve as a pro bono mental health professional for those in need the most, experiencing depression, anxiety, loss, relationship issues, and other concerns.

By Caryn Oppenheim, Mental Health Program – Denver

Click here for more information on our Pro Bono Mental Health Program