12 Days of Volunteering!

Added to daily until the 25th! 😃 – Spark the Change Colorado

untitled-5c-20p_35008987Day seven is WOW! Children’s Museum! at Marsico Campus.

Volunteers are needed for Noon Year’s Eve! Noon Year’s Eve is one of Denver’s biggest and best New Year activities for young children. Greet guests, count down to the “Noon” Year, facilitate craft projects and more! Volunteer with us for a fun way to engage with the families in our community!

Volunteer Shifts:
Decorating and set-up: Friday, December 28th 9am-1pm, 1pm-5pm
Festival Day: December 31st 8:30 am-1pm, 12:30pm-5pm

Contact Meg McGill or Jaidee Easley at 303-561-0114 or volunteer@cmdenver.org for more information or to sign up.

Can’t volunteer those days? See other volunteer opportunities with WOW! Children’s Museum-


hudson-5c-20gar_35101311Day six is National Remember Our Troops Campaign!

Volunteers are needed to delivering Get Well Cards to hospitalized Veterans. Each delivery includes a 15 minute visit with each patient.

For more information, please visit nrotc.org/volunteer
or contact Lisa Sietsma –
Phone: 570-239-7541
Email: Lisa.sietsma@nrotc.org



48371502_10156927567021419_5783961783836344320_nDay five is Severe Weather Shelter Network!

Many Volunteer opportunities are available, from Team Leader to Phone Intake for those interested in providing shelter and ministering to the homeless. Warming Host Sites are located all around SW Denver, Wheatridge, Arvada and Golden.

More information here👇

Day four is The Hudson Gardens & Event Center in Littleton!

 are needed for everyone’s favorite holiday light show, A Hudson Christmas! Embrace the spirit of the season and consider donating a few hours of your time to help bring this family-favorite, holiday tradition to thousands of visitors!

More information here👇




Day three is Covenant Cupboard Food Bank in Greenwood Village.untitled-5c-20p_35057986

Volunteers are needed Friday the 14th from 12:30-4:30 to distribute food and all day the on the 28th to unload and set-up for cupboard clients from 8:30-11:30 and then again from 12:30-4:30! They also take food donations!!

More information here👇




untitled-5c-20p_35034845Day two is Pueblo Zoo!

Volunteers are needed for ElectriCritters🦒🦁🐒 and other fun daytime positions such as, Zoo Ambassador and Gardening Guru! So if you’re passionate about animals, gardening or twinkly lights, check them out!!💕

More information here👇




Day one is Denver Botanic Gardens!001

Volunteers are needed for Santa’s Village🎅 at Chatfield Farms and Blossoms of Light🎄 at York Street! Volunteering involves greeting guests, scanning tickets and helping guest find their way around the festivities!!

More information here👇
Volunteer at York Street: https://bit.ly/2QTlMb4
Volunteer at Chatfield: https://bit.ly/2QsIqbc

Volunteers needed for the 2018 Healing Justice Alliance Conference!


Volunteers are needed for this week’s Healing Justice Alliance Conference: http://www.healingjusticealliance.org/conference

The Healing Justice Alliance is the annual conference of the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (NNHVIP), Cure Violence replication sites, and other health-based approaches to ending urban violence and supporting survivors. We invite you to join public officials, gang intervention workers, doctors, nurses, social workers, service providers, violence interrupters, administrators, researchers, philanthropists and community members – all committed to interrupting the cycle of violence and providing healing.

Location: The Curtis, a DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver, Colorado 1405 Curtis St, Denver, CO 80202

Arrival time 7 am

End time 5 pm

Tuesday, September 11th
4 for swag bag stuffing, badge stuffing

Wednesday, September 12th
4 for registration 8am – 5pm (check-in attendees, distribute badges/swag, etc. // possibly help set session rooms with collateral materials)

Thursday, September 13th
5 for registration 7 am – 5 pm (same as above) // will be permitted into sessions when possible
6 for workshop session monitoring (room runner, timekeeping, AV assistance, etc.)
2 for greeting and general assistance

Friday, September 14th
2 for registration 7 am – 5 pm (same as above) // will be permitted into sessions when possible
6 for workshop session monitoring (room runner, timekeeping, AV assistance, etc.)
2 for greeting and general assistance

For more information or to volunteer, contact Alegría Castro, Community Outreach Manager at 213.448.5790 or by email at acastro@homeboyindustries.org

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 // SEI@metrovolunteers.org
Learn More About Service Enterprise Here.

Volunteer at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this weekend!

For 25 years, the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo has been an educational, recreational, and entertainment venue promoting the welfare, the beauty, and the bond we share with horses in our lives.

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).

RMHE is looking for 75 volunteers of all ages to help ensure a positive experience for everyone who attends.

You can view this volunteer opportunity here.

For questions about volunteering with Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, you can contact Bill Scebbi at bill@coloradohorsecouncil.com

An Interview with Amy Lowright, Registered Psychotherapist & Art Therapist

unnamed (1)I sat down with one of our volunteers, Amy Lowright, a registered psychotherapist and a board member of the Art Therapy Association of Colorado to hear her thoughts on art therapy. Amy received her MA in Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy in 2016 and has since been providing art therapy services to individuals of all ages with histories of interpersonal violence.

Caryn Oppenheim: What drew you to art therapy?

Amy Lowright: Art helped me process what I was going through in my own life, when I maybe did not have, or realize I had, other avenues to do so. I wanted to be able to offer that creative resource to others with similar experiences.

CO: What is the biggest myth about art therapy?

AL: A myth I often hear is that an art therapist’s role is to interpret the art that a client produces. It’s more about the process. Art is inherently regulating to the nervous system. Therapeutic Discipline Visual Arts Art TherapyThe art provides another focal point for individuals while in the room with a therapist. If accessing or sharing their feelings fails to come naturally or proves hard, art allows them to feel less vulnerable. A lot of times people do not have an idea of what they are going to create, but even if they do, there is usually something that comes out of the art that is a surprising insight as to what is going on for them.

Some great metaphors happen in art therapy that are symbolic and meaningful for the client, and an art therapist can help guide that. However, for the most part, we cannot, as art therapists, directly interpret the art.

CO: Can you tell me a story about how art therapy has impacted a client?

AL: I have numerous stories I could share. I was counseling a young girl who was called to testify against her abuser in court. We decorated a small rock in session and worked to associate positive feelings with it so that when she went to court she could hold it and remember how brave she was.

art-therapy-227567_960_720 (1)I saw another client who had experienced abuse most of her life. After having several years of space from it, she began exploring her new identity without the abuse – she began to notice herself improving her grades, having more motivation, and building healthy friendships. She came to therapy struggling with letting go of her old identity as an abused child and embracing her new identity as a thriving young adult. She created a piece over several art therapy sessions that showcased the many sides of herself, creating an opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate them together. I believe creating that art piece first allowed her to articulate and explore her new identity deeper, and helped her move forward from her past.

Thank you to Amy and all our therapists for the work you do.

We need you! If you are a therapist and want to use your gifts to assist others in need, consider volunteering with Metro Volunteers’ Pro Bono Mental Health Program. Contact Caryn Oppenheim, Denver Area Program Manager, at 303-867-0866 or coppenheim@metrovolunteers.org for more information.

The Value of Art Therapy: Debunking the myths of training and practice for art therapists

After graduate school, I was fortunate enough to spend time with my family in Massachusetts before moving out to Colorado. The last year and a half I had struggled with my mother’s cancer diagnosis, my best friend’s little sister’s shocking death, stress dreams leading to insomnia, and depression.

Art is a force in my family. My mom is an artist, so was her mother and stepmother, and so is my aunt on the other side of my family. In between visiting with family and friends and preparing for my move, I sewed, I crocheted, I painted, I wrote, and I played the ukulele. Nothing had to be a masterpiece but everything was a piece of my masterhood. The process proved regenerative. All the parts of me that felt depleted and hurt emerged after I had pushed them down to get through my program. I began to fill up. The healing cells in my body proliferating, dancing in my brain and stimulating parts of me that had remained dormant or cutoff.

I am not an art therapist; my art-making lacked strategy. My only intention was to create.

The Origins of Art Therapy

Source: United States Department of Defense

According to the Art Therapy Association of Colorado, psychiatrists in the 1940’s grew intrigued by the artwork of their patients around the same time educators realized that art could reflect developmental growth in children. From the mid-twentieth century on, art therapy, coupled with talk therapy, surfaced in a variety of settings. Art therapists work in hospitals, shelters, schools, correctional facilities, and other agencies. Therapists run their own practices and also often counsel in the trenches of therapy, seeing clients who have experienced sexual assault, traumatic brain injuries, who have disabilities, who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and relationship issues.


The Research

Art therapy is not simply a flowery component to add to talk therapy–there is research behind it. In Melissa Walker’s article “Understanding the Value of Art Therapy,” she explains how art therapy can impact individuals who have experienced trauma:

In a healthy brain, the left and right hemispheres are constantly communicating. According to Bessel van der Kolk (2003), neuroimaging scans suggest that when an individual attempts to recall a traumatic event, the left frontal cortex of the brain shuts down. This includes the Broca’s area of the brain, which is the center of expressive speech and language. In contrast, the areas of the brain that are activated during trauma light up. These include areas in the right hemisphere of the brain that control emotional and autonomic arousal and detect a threat (Crenshaw, 2006). According to Klorer (2005), art-making activates the same parts of the brain as trauma… indicating that art therapy has the ability to bypass the left frontal cortex and stimulate the area of the brain responsible for encoding the traumatic memory. When an individual then processes the meaning behind their artwork with the therapist, they are reactivating the frozen speech area of the brain, and therefore reintegrating the two hemispheres.

Art Therapy in Colorado

Source: United States Department of Defense

Art therapy requires a master’s degree from a nationally accredited graduate-level art therapy program. Art Therapists learn assessment tools, processes that foster therapeutic growth for their clients, and other crucial components of therapy. In Colorado, art therapists lack title protection. Anyone who is a therapist can market themselves as an art therapist, undermining the training art therapists receive, mitigating the positive outcomes of the investments art therapists put into their education, and increasing competition over clients interested in art therapy. Most importantly, a lack of title protection potentially proves harmful for clients, when someone who lacks training in art therapy attempts to interpret or unpack trauma or other concerns with a client.


We need you! 

If you are a therapist and want to use your gifts to assist others in need, consider volunteering with Metro Volunteers’ Pro Bono Mental Health Program. Contact Caryn Oppenheim, Denver Area Program Manager, at 303-867-0866 for more information.

Help at-risk children and their families by volunteering at JeffcoEats


It’s simple yet effective. JeffcoEats gives at-risk children and their families food for the weekend to alleviate a weekend of hunger.  Period.

All of these children, in 10 different Jeffco schools, are provided breakfast and lunch at their schools during the week.  BUT without Jeffco Eats most, if not all, of these children would go hungry over the weekend.  2 days of hunger is not an acceptable situation!

Wouldn’t you like to get involved and make sure these children are fed on Saturdays and Sundays? There are volunteer opportunities EACH WEEK; and, you can bring your children and teens to help…make it a family project!

Below are the types of volunteers that Barbara Moore (she’s the founder and Executive Director of JeffcoEats) needs each week. We at Metro Volunteers are proud of the work Barbara does because she is impacting the lives of literally thousands of people every week…people who are our neighbors, our friends and who need our help.

2 Drivers (any size car is OK)

Every Thursday from 11 am – 1 pm


20 Food Packers (children, teens & adults are welcome)

Every Friday from 10 am – 11:30 am

Foothills Elementary

13165 W. Ohio Ave.

Lakewood, CO


2 Drivers (to drive a U-Haul van)

Every Friday from 8 am – 10 am

Pick up food from Food Bank of the Rockies and deliver to Foothills Elementary


To talk with Barbara directly or for questions about these fun volunteer activities, call or email Barbara: 720-231-8337 or jeffcoeats@gmail.com.  You can find more information about JeffcoEats on their website: www.jeffcoeats.org.

MSU Denver looking for bilingual volunteers to serve as interpreters at tax site

In collaboration with the Piton Foundation and other community-focused organizations, Metropolitan State University of Denver will be hosting free tax preparation from February 1-April 9, 2018 on campus. 

To serve our diverse communities, MSU needs volunteers who are bilingual and can serve as interpreters.

Hours will be Mondays, 5:30-8pm and Thursdays, 5:30-8pm.

MSU will host the tax site in their Student Success Building at 890 Auraria Parkway Denver, CO 80204. 

Those who wish to volunteer just need to take the Volunteer Standards of Conduct and print up the certification upon completion to bring to volunteer assignment. Each volunteer will need to create his/her own account before accessing the quick test – https://www.linklearncertification.com/d/

After completing the certification, please contact Lauren Kested (lkested@msudenver.edu) at MSU Denver to get details about your volunteer duties.

For more information or to get tax help, click the pdf below-

Free Tax Preparation at Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metro Volunteers’ The Daisy Club provides support and healing during young victim’s recovery

WARNING:  the following blog is about child sexual abuse and may be disturbing to some readers. But…please read because there is hope!

Child Sexual Abuse is a subject not often broached at parties or family gatherings or white-daisy_a-G-8665020-4985691while shopping with the girls.  It’s horrifying even to think about. But the first step in talking about this subject is realizing that awareness is the first step to prevention.

Let’s get the statistics out there so we are all on the same page: (all of these statistics can be found at www.d2l.org and because of wide under reporting of child sexual abuse, the actual statistics are much, much higher)

  1. About one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  2. Only about 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused.
  3. About 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 25 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
  4. Nearly 70% of ALL reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
  5. 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser.  30% are abused by family members; 60% are abused by people the family trusts.
  6. Most people think of adult rape as a crime of great proportion and significance, and are unaware that children are victimized at a much higher rate than adults.

m-hLm5NLThere are many organizations today that teach about child abuse prevention, hold seminars, give voice to the victims’ stories, and support the victims and their families in their recovery.  Darkness to Light, a national nonprofit, comes to mind; as do the hundreds of Children Advocacy Centers scattered throughout the world.  These organizations are in the forefront of child sexual abuse prevention and treatment and I have the utmost respect for their work.

There’s another program here in Colorado that provides support, guidance, comradery and healing during the victim’s recovery.  It’s called The Daisy Club.  It has a warm, friendly name, doesn’t it?

unnamedThe Daisy Club is a program of Metro Vlunteers’ Pro Bono Counseling and Recovery Program.   Pro Bono’s mission is to serve low-income individuals and families with free mental health services.  This program connects the services of volunteer licensed mental health professionals with underserved and at-risk people.

The Daisy Club is now in its 4th year. This club is actually a support group for young girls who have experienced extreme trauma, mostly sexual abuse. We call it a club because what little girl wants to go to a support group?

Here’s what one brave 6th grade girl has to say about her ongoing counseling through The Daisy Club:

“The Daisy Club wasn’t just games and fun all the time.  We got to talk about all of our feelings.  Deep down a lot of us were hurting or just sad.  Such as me.  I will use myself as an example.  For 5 years I was sexually abused.  The bad guy is locked up, but it still hurts me to this day.  I still have lots of deep depression and anxiety issues. Lots of people tell me that I’m strong and brave.  I do feel that sometimes but not all the time.  Sometimes I feel like I’m alone, sometimes I feel there is no escape. But at the end of the day there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to be able to tell anyone and everyone who has been abused, that it’s safe to tell someone.  Yes, you might be scared. But when you do, believe me, you won’t regret it.  If you have been abused, then I want to tell you that you are not alone. There are millions of other girls that have experienced what you’ve been through. Like me. So please if you need to talk, it’s okay to say something.”

This little girl has courage!  It’s not easy for her to talk about all the horrible things that happened to her during those five years.  But she found healing in the talking and sharing.  That’s hope!

In 2018, the Pro Bono Program will begin a program called The Guys Club, a support group for young boys who have experienced severe trauma, including sexual abuse.  It will be for boys ages 8-12 and it will teach leadership skills, communication skills as well as be a “fun support group” type of club. 

The Pro Bono Counseling & Referral Program transforms lives!  The Pro Bono Program continues to grow as the need for affordable mental health services in the community increases.  

CGD 2014_Master(WORKING)Please help Metro Volunteers continue and grow its Pro Bono Counseling and Referral Program by donating today.  Click here to support The Daisy Club and The Guys Club and give these children the hope of a brighter future.

Thank you for reading this blog and a BIG THANK YOU for financially supporting Metro Volunteers’ programs!