Barefoot in the Community: 2017 Recap

Here at Barefoot, community impact is at the heart of what we do. From the clients we work with to our office culture, our goal is to make a difference.

That’s why, each month, the Barefoot PR team tours a different nonprofit organization to learn more about their impact. Not only is it a great team building activity, but it also gives us an opportunity to learn about the amazing work being done in our communities.

As the year draws to a close, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on the 12 nonprofits we toured this year. We can’t wait to see where we’ll go in 2018!

PlatteForum

What They Do: PlatteForum supports contemporary artists and under-served youth in metro Denver through innovative, long-term arts programs that allow the youth to work side-by-side with artists in residence.

What We Did: At the time of our tour, PlatteForum staff were preparing to bring in a new installation so we were able to get a behind the scenes look at how everything comes together for public viewing. We also spent some time touring the artists’ studios and learning about how the artists work together as a unique collective within the building.

Purple Door Coffee

What They Do: Purple Door Coffee is a specialty espresso bar and coffee roaster that employs teens and young adults who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind.

What We Did: Purple Door Coffee’s storefront is located in Five Points, but for this nonprofit tour, we visited their roasting facility in Englewood and basked in the smell of fresh coffee beans while learning about this creative social enterprise.

 

Denver Children’s Home

What They Do: Denver Children’s Home restores hope and health to traumatized children and families through a comprehensive array of therapeutic, educational and community-based services.

What We Did: Denver Children’s Home houses the Bansbach Academy, an on-site school that provides professional employment training, among other things. We ordered coffee from the student-run coffee cart and toured the kitchen where kids make breakfast burritos each day to sell to staff members. What a cool way to offer real-life training!

Playworks Colorado

What They Do: Playworks believes all kids deserve the social, emotional, and physical benefits of play. They help schools and youth programs create healthy play environments where every child can join in.

What We Did: We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a ride on the swings at Goldrick Elementary! But in all seriousness, we learned that for some kids, school recess could be the only physical activity they get during the day. That’s what makes organizations like Playworks so impactful in low-income communities.

Cottonwood Center for the Arts

What They Do: Cottonwood Center for the Arts is a nonprofit arts complex located in downtown Colorado Springs. Run out of a refurbished office building, Cottonwood holds gallery spaces, artist studios, and classrooms.

What We Did: As we walked around this maze of a building, we discovered beautiful art and artists at work in studio spaces. The best part? The art on display is for sale! We definitely recommend visiting this one-of-a-kind nonprofit in Colorado Springs.

 

We Don’t Waste

What They Do: We Don’t Waste supports the community and the environment by reclaiming and redistributing quality food to those in need.

What We Did: We talked with Founder and Executive Director Arlan Preblud, who surprisingly, was an attorney for over 40 years before entering the nonprofit world. We also learned that We Don’t Waste delivers food as far as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Denver Police Foundation

What They Do: Since the early 2000s, the Denver Police Foundation has supported the Denver Police Department by providing for important program and equipment needs that are not possible through the ordinary City budget.

What We Did: To check out some of the training equipment the DPF funds, we headed to the Denver Police Academy to put our police skills to the test! Cori and Laura partook in a heart-racing simulation that may or may not have ended in Laura getting zapped with an electric shock…

Tennyson Center for Children

What They Do: Tennyson Center for Children is dedicated to helping children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect, and/or trauma so they can bravely, and safely, change their life’s story.

What We Did: We witnessed brave children thriving in a safe environment, which was hugely inspiring. We also got to check out the surprising paintings on the walls of CEO Ned Breslin’s office. Before children depart the center, they are offered the chance to leave a piece of their story behind to inspire others.

Women’s Bean Project

What They Do: The mission of Women’s Bean Project is to change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.

What We Did: Women’s Bean Project is housed in an old fire station built in 1928! They received a full makeover on behalf of HGTV in 2008, but kept some of the fire station’s charm. At the store, which sells Women’s Bean Project products, we couldn’t resist buying some treats – money well spent on a great cause.

Bavarian Philharmonic Orchestra

What They Do: BPO’s award-winning education program offers many possibilities to young people to discover music for themselves – independent of their social and cultural backgrounds, and at eye level with world class musicians.

What We Did: This year, Cori and Sarah took one of our tours all the way to Munich, Germany! They spent some time learning about Sound Angels, a program that focuses on engaging infants and toddlers in music classes. They were also struck by the fact that BPO periodically offers free concerts to neighboring communities to expose them to music. Sarah was excited to bring back some new ideas to the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra where she is on the board!

Comitis Crisis Center

What They Do: Comitis Crisis Center serves veterans, individuals and families in Aurora who are experiencing homelessness.

What We Did: We got to hear the story of a mother and her four kids driving across the country just to receive help from the Comitis Crisis Center. There aren’t many places that serve homeless veterans and their families, but this is one. We loved visiting this incredible community resource and seeing how they care for Colorado’s most vulnerable populations.

Bonfils Blood Center

What They Do: As Colorado’s community blood center since 1943, Bonfils proudly provides a safe and adequate blood supply for patients statewide and beyond.

What We Did: As PR pros, we don’t always get the chance to explore the scientific world, so this tour was especially cool for us. We learned some neat facts about blood and even got to see some of it behind the scenes! They have staff working around the clock to ensure each donation is processed within 24 hours – now that’s impressive.