The Get Grounded Foundation Awards Grants to Four Programs Serving Denver’s At-Risk Youth

DENVER, July 25, 2017GroundFloor Media (GFM) and its sister agency, CenterTable, announced today that their Get Grounded Foundation has awarded its latest round of grants to four outstanding local community programs supporting youth services. A total of more than $17,000 was granted to Child Advocates - CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties, The Bridge Project, The Denver Children's Advocacy Center and PCs for People. The programs were selected for their efforts to get a new or innovative program off the “ground floor” in the area of child abuse and neglect, youth behavioral health or childhood hunger relief.

A volunteer committee made up of individuals from the sister agencies reviewed the spring 2017 round of grant applications. The deadline for applications for the fall 2017 grant cycle is Friday, September 29.

The Spring 2017 Get Grounded Foundation Grant Recipients

The mission of Child Advocates – CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties (court-appointed special advocates) is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Juvenile Court through the services of specially selected and trained community volunteers. These volunteers are the children’s representatives in court when there is suspicion of abuse or neglect. That said, only 35 percent of all cases have CASAs appointed to them. This grant will help change that statistic and will give CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties the funding to allow them to recruit, train and manage additional peer coordinators.

“We are absolutely thrilled to exponentially grow our program and the number of abused and neglected children we are able to truly help,” said Emily Thomas, grants manager of CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties. “We are also excited to continue providing ways for our committed CASA volunteers to stay vitally involved with supporting children in our community.”

The Bridge Project (Bridge) was founded in 1991 as a unique community collaboration between the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and community representatives. Bridge was designed to help mitigate the extremely high dropout rates in Denver’s public housing communities by emphasizing education and a holistic view of child development. It has served children in Denver’s public housing neighborhoods for more than 25 years. The grant funding will be used to launch the Printing Prodigies Project (P3) for the elementary and middle school youth across all four Bridge sites, primarily covering the cost of purchasing 3D printers and materials.

“This new initiative allows us to enhance our project-based learning for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” said Jesse Burne, executive director of The Bridge Project. “In order to effectively grow and nurture curious minds in STEM, we must expose them to unique and innovative learning opportunities; 3D printing helps us do that. For many of our students, this will be a first-time experience. We can’t wait to see the positive outcome this opportunity brings.”

The Denver Children’s Advocacy Center’s (DCAC) mission is to prevent abuse, strengthen families and restore childhood. Its programs fall along a continuum of care that includes prevention, early intervention, crisis response, forensic interviews, mental health treatment and family support services. Funds from the foundation will be used to help launch a trauma-sensitive yoga program for the children served at DCAC and in the community who have been subjected to abuse and neglect.

“I am beyond thrilled to be attending the Trauma Center’s Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) certification program this September,” said Jessica Gershwin, bilingual child & family therapist at DCAC. “Current, evidence-based research shows that yoga is an effective methodology for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as it helps to enhance self-regulation, body awareness, self-compassion, positive-thinking and connectedness. The inclusion of yoga and mindfulness practices will serve as an ideal complement to the child-focused therapeutic services we currently provide.”

The mission of PCs for People is to create new opportunities by providing affordable personal computers, computer repairs and internet service to people with limited technological experience due to social, physical or economic circumstances. PCs for People strives to provide the necessary tools to put a functional computer into the hands of low-income individuals and get them online. The grant funding will be used to support two local non-profits, Denver CASA and the Denver Children’s Home.

“PCs for People is thankful to partner with the Get Grounded Foundation in an effort to expand the digital inclusion impact in our community. A recent study indicated that 70 percent of all teachers assign homework online. By distributing computers to students, we are closing the digital divide of their more affluent peers, and providing tools for the students to complete their assignments at home and become productive members of the community,” said Julie Seltz, executive director of PCs for People. “The equipment is sourced from companies that upgrade their computer systems and recycle old equipment.”

With the funding from the Get Grounded Foundation, Denver CASA will receive four laptops to outfit the technology lab in their new CASA house, where children and their advocates gather to connect in a safe space. PCs for People will also partner with the Denver Children’s Home to provide 21 desktop computers to update their computer lab and eight laptops for interactive learning and Skype therapy sessions with families who live out of the Denver metro area. “We are extremely grateful to PCs for People for helping us better achieve our mission through access to much needed equipment.” Said Rebecca Hea, Denver Children’s Home executive director. “Their equipment is allowing us to better serve children and families in need as we deploy them to support our critical programs that help kids connect with the community through virtual learning opportunities and with outside support networks.”