As part of GroundFloor Media’s 10th anniversary Get Giving initiative, I was a member of the Colfax Crew, the team that was supporting Colfax Community Network (CCN). As a reminder, CCN advocates for and works on behalf of children and families residing in low-income, transient housing (primarily residential motels) along Colfax Avenue by providing information, services and programs to strengthen and improve family and community life.
Before learning about CCN, I never gave too much thought to Colfax Avenue – other than thinking that it wasn’t exactly the prettiest street in town and that I didn’t want to find myself walking down it alone after dark.
I now look at it in a very different light. In fact, the other day I found myself driving down Colfax and paying particular attention to the many motels along the way. What would it be like to call one of those places home? To wake up there every morning? To live in one of those motel rooms with four or five other people, sometimes more?
Or, even worse, to worry every day about your children living in a motel that may be filled with convicted felons and sex offenders who are on parole and have been placed in Colfax motels by the Colorado Department of Corrections. In September 2011, 9News conducted an extensive investigation of sex offenders living in Colfax motels. In many cases, the motel management staff did not disclose the number of sex offenders living in their establishment, or they openly stated to undercover reporters that the motel was safe for children despite some places having more than 20 registered sex offenders living there. Read more about this issue on 9News.com.
On my drive down Colfax, I happened to see a child running down the length of a motel parking lot and couldn’t help but wonder about his life. And I thought of the kids involved in CCN’s after school program – the ones we spent an afternoon with the week before Thanksgiving. They are such amazing kids – full of so much joy and energy and promise. A particular exchange between two of the kids that afternoon especially pained me, though – and I wondered if they were mirroring some of what they see in their daily lives at the motels – aspects of life that no child should be exposed to.
And while I know that our small contribution alone won’t ultimately change these kids’ lives, it helps me to think that maybe we were able to make some sort of difference. Perhaps one of the field trips we sponsored will end up sparking an interest for one of those kids (e.g., an interest in astronomy following a trip to the Museum of Nature & Science) that helps keep them in school and out of trouble, or maybe an article of clothing we donated will help keep one of them warm this winter. Regardless, I am grateful that GroundFloor Media encouraged and allowed us to undertake this project. And I am grateful that caring people such as the employees and volunteers at CCN are working so hard every day to make life better for these kids and their families.
As we wrap up our Get Giving project, and especially as Christmas fast approaches, I feel compelled to make one more “ask” – if you would like to learn more about CCN and/or find out how you can help support the organization, please go to the organization’s website or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.