Imagine a room where once you step in, the world around you is magically transformed. It’s a room where you can slay dragons with Pippi Longstocking and hitch a ride to the land of Narnia with C.S. Lewis. It’s a room where you can get your hands messy and create a Crayola masterpiece of art. It’s a room where you can be transformed through a virtual reality as you conquer math problems and continue to learn.
Some may call it the Denver Broncos Youth Center (the Broncos Room) at The Crossing. But, to those who’ve ever stepped into the room—well, they call it hope.
“Usually when people think about homelessness, they think about the people on the street corners with signs,” Joe Bermingham, the Broncos Room lead youth coordinator, said. “However, there are many more homeless children in Denver than people realize. To be able to create a space where kids who are experiencing homelessness can feel safe and loved—that is the Broncos Room.”
The orange and navy themed room is nestled inside of The Crossing. Its walls are freckled with posters of signed famous Broncos jerseys and inspirational quotes. Books, computers and other necessary educational tools line the perimeter of the room that welcomes in the young scholars. The center serves children and teens, ages 3 to 18, whose parents are participating in the STAR Transitional Program with their families.
“The Broncos Room is a kind and loving place where we learn about God and get help from people,” 11-year-old Jaydin said.
The room is the epicenter of all the programs for the kids and teens. From youth nights to Bible studies, each individualized program helps them learn and helps create spaces for them to be kids in the midst of their current situations. One of these programs is the Math and Reading Club, which takes place Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m..
“It is so important for the kids to have a stable place to come to every day and to see Joe and I. Their families love them so much, and it is a really hard situation for them to be in. The fact that we can laugh and have a lot of fun together, it’s a reminder to be a kid still,” Hannah Menzies, youth coordinator, said.
The after school club has three half-hour sections: free time, tutoring and reading. Each section is designed to help each individual grow scholastically, emotionally and spiritually. On a daily basis, Joe and Hannah have five tutors and volunteers to help them invest time and effort into the kids.
By supporting the Denver Broncos Youth Center, you are helping support the future of the kids & teens we serve at The Crossing.
The A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s about the Denver Broncos Youth Center
The Denver Broncos organization donated the youth center in September 2005 with a contribution of $150,000 over three years to fund the center and its activities.
Past and present Broncos players have played a fundamental role in the center, including Champ Bailey, Shane Ray, Chris Harris and more. They’ve done everything from attend the Broncos holiday party to donating backpacks! #GoBroncos!
The center features the official Denver Broncos logos and team colors: navy blue and orange.
Part 1: FREE TIME
4:30 to 5 p.m.
The Broncos Room doesn’t stay quiet for long after the doors open for the day. The kids are greeted by the smell of fresh cut oranges, popped popcorn and other delicious after school treats. After grabbing a snack the kids fan out to different areas in the room for free time.
Laughter and smiles fill the air as some kids run to their favorite volunteer and pick up a game of their choosing; others eye the art materials and begin to paint a picture. On sunny days, they have the option to go out to the playground. Free time is the portion of the day for kids to do what they do best—be kids!
Part 2: TUTORING
5 to 5:30 p.m.
At 4:55 p.m. transitional music starts to play. The kids pick up their games, close down their computer applications and put away their art supplies. They line up and are assigned to a tutor for the next portion of the program.
The kids work alongside their tutors on their homework or focus on areas they specifically need guidance in. The program recently implemented a program called Smartick. The iPad application meets kids where they are at scholastically, and each child’s curriculum is created specifically for his or her learning needs.
The tutoring time is also an incredible opportunity for Joe, Hannah and the tutors to really dig in deep and help invest into the kids’ futures by providing them with educational tools, support and a sense of community.
These dreams all start with Math and Reading Club. In 2018, tutors helped 152 children complete 3,720 hours of the program
Part 3: READING & ART
5:30 to 6 p.m.
From listening to exciting stories to getting their hands dirty creating art, the day always ends on a creative note. Staff members or a volunteer do a special story time. Kids gather around on the carpet to hear exciting tales and adventures read aloud to them.
Every Thursday, Joy from Art Garage volunteers her time, supplies and expertise to the kids. She helps them create cool posters, pots, paint pictures, and more—the sky is the limit when it comes to what the kids will create next!
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Also in this Issue:
- Donate a Vehicle
- Letter from the CEO
- Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters
- Employer Matching Gifts