December 5, 2021

A ‘Word of Thanks’ from Next

Each week, we’d like to highlight a different cause that is in need.

COLORADO, USA — We offer up a “Word of Thanks” every week during Next with Kyle Clark – it’s a chance to highlight small and medium non-profits doing crucial work in Colorado.

The routine is simple. Each week, Kyle presents a new organization he’d like to highlight and asks you to consider just a $5 donation. He won’t share any cause that he won’t donate to himself and will match the first fifty donations of $5 every time.

We will share the causes within this article every week.

If you are not able to give but want to support the effort, please consider sharing this link with others who may feel encouraged to donate. Thank you all for your consideration and generosity!

For those keeping track, we have raised more than $4.5 million together since Word of Thanks started in June 2020! Below is a list of the non-profits we have highlighted in 2021 so far. To see the groups we highlighted in 2020, click here.

RELATED: ‘Word of Thanks’ nonprofits highlighted by Next with Kyle Clark in 2020

NOTE: As promised, the logs in Kyle’s basement that became popular during the pandemic were sent to a woodworker who chopped them into more than 1,600 tokens. Each one has been signed by Kyle and stamped with our log logo. Soon, they’ll be mailed to some of the generous donors who gave to Warren Village, the Word of Thanks cause that fell on the campaign’s one-year anniversary. Kyle is working with the Warren Village team on the logistics for mailing out the tokens. Unfortunately, we do not have enough tokens for each person. The other donors will receive a signed thank you note.

9/1/21: We Don’t Waste

This week’s featured nonprofit is solving two problems at once: making sure restaurants don’t have to throw good food away and making sure families in our community have access to fresh, nutritious food. 

We Don’t Waste reaches out to restaurants and other food providers to take their unused food and quickly give it to families in need around our community. 

They do this by giving the food out to nonprofits and by running mobile food pantries in a number of neighborhoods where access to fresh, nutritious food is tough to find. Right now, they are running six to seven mobile pantries each month.

With our help, they can raise $50,000 to add an entirely new location, serving another neighborhood in the metro area. 

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here.

8/25/21: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Your Word of Thanks microgiving campaigns have done wonderful things for non-profits that help Coloradans in difficult situations.

This is the first time we’ve touched on the heartbreak felt by parents who lose children. In hospitals across Colorado, when a baby isn’t born alive or dies soon after nurses ask parents – would you like a family photo?

Perhaps that’s an unimaginable question because you haven’t imagined yourself in that situation. Neither did a viewer who wrote in to say she didn’t either and is eternally grateful that there’s a non-profit called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

The longtime non-profit based in Littleton connects photographers with grieving families to preserve a memory in a moment of grief.

A viewer named Jami shared her photos, and wrote, “Without them, my son’s photo album would be full of empty spaces that match the ones that losing a child puts in your heart.  There would be no beautiful pictures on my wall that remind us daily of our little Joshua… my heart smiles every time I look up and see that Joshua, although not here with us, will forever be a part of that one family picture, and because of that, will never be forgotten.”

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep steps in to provide a service that grieving parents may not even know they want or need.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep continues to expand it’s work recruiting volunteer photographers to reach more hospitals, dispatching them on a moment’s notice when families suffer a loss and even training nurses how to take professional photos when a photographer isn’t available.

With our help, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep will be able to reach more parents to offer that gift to grieving parents.

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here.

Update: You raised more than $26,000!

8/18/21: African Community Center

Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas are coming to Colorado. We don’t know how many, we don’t know how soon, but we do know who will be here to welcome them.

ECDC African Community Center (ACC) has experience with helping refugees. Since 2001, this group has helped families from around the world after they arrive in Denver. They have assisted thousands of refugees, who have left behind everything to be here, to create a sustainable life in Colorado.

ACC expects many refugees from Afghanistan will need their help – refugees who helped protect American troops.

This non-profit can get them into an apartment, get them furniture and get them an ID. It can help them feel more comfortable in America, and put them on a path of self-sufficiency. ACC even greets these families at the airport, so that they feel welcome in Colorado.

Both staff and volunteers make all that happen, but they also need financial backing. ACC guesses that just $5 can provide a warm meal for an exhausted and anxious family, and have it ready for them at their apartment to welcome them when they first arrive from the airport; $25 can provide an hour of interpretation during Cultural Orientation Class to ensure everything taught is provided in a language spoken by the family; $500 can furnish an entire apartment.

We’ve spent more than a year donating to non-profits doing great work in Colorado through your Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. Let’s see what we can do together this week.

As always, we ask you to consider just a $5 donation. Kyle will match the first 50 of those.

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here.

(If you’re unable to give, ACC also offers volunteer opportunities. You’ll find information in the same link.)

Update: You raised more than $197,000!

8/11/21: Colorado Pet Pantry

Colorado Pet Pantry is a statewide food bank dedicated to helping pets.

The model is simple and efficient. They take donated food from pet food suppliers — food that’ll soon expire — then rush it out through their network to food banks, animal rescues and stand-alone events throughout Colorado.

But they provide food and supplies to more than just organizations. They help individual families, too, by helping them during rough patches. People can get food for their pets here, allowing them to keep their pets instead of surrendering them because of money. This non-profit has been distributing pet food since 2013 and has gotten 5.1 million pet meals out to owners who otherwise would have struggled to afford pet food.

Colorado Pet Pantry figures it can feed a dog or a cat for a month for $5. So, we ask you to consider a $5 donation today, as we do every week through our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. Kyle will match the first 50 donations of $5.

Coloradans struggling through hard financial times need their pets more than ever; with our help and Colorado Pet Pantry, more of those families will stay whole.

As always, thank you!

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here

Update: You raised more than $59,200!

8/4/21: Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain  

We asked you to select the non-profit for this week’s Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign, and several of you wrote in with a common theme.

You asked if we might honor Simone Biles’ incredible tenacity in these Olympic Games by helping children who, like Biles, spent time in the foster care system. And we thought that was a beautiful idea.

Your Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign this week supports the foster care program done by Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain, one of the largest and most respected non-profits in the field.

The donations we pool together this week will help recruit and train new families to welcome foster children into their homes. This money will provide support for families dealing with foster children in crisis and with special needs. It will also buy those kids clothes and school supplies, and help their foster parents afford to throw them birthday and holiday parties that they’ll remember.

There are thousands of children in foster care across Colorado.

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain wants to help these kids and their foster families thrive in the face of adversity. 

In honor of Simone Biles, in appreciation for foster parents and in support of Colorado’s kids in foster care, let’s see what we can do together. Kyle will match the first fifty donations of $5, just like every week.

Thank you for your help in this project, and thank you for this week’s suggestion.

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here.

Update: You raised more than $26,000!

7/28/21: National Sports Center for the Disabled

Each Wednesday on Next, we do a fun little group project. It’s called Word of Thanks. We pool together $5 from each person who is willing to make one huge donation to a great non-profit in Colorado. Of course, we’re keeping the tradition alive during Next at Nite in the Olympics.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled opens the door of sports to Coloradans who didn’t think it was possible. They believe that everyone is able and anything is possible.

They’ve been leaders in adaptive outdoor sports for a half-century. Technology and sports evolve, just like equipment and coaching methods, but their determination to make outdoor sports accessible to all is what matters most.

It could be adaptive skiing, rock climbing or kayaking. They want to make it possible.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled has been a fixture in Colorado for generations. But just recently, one of their transportation vans was stolen. Another van and a trailer are broken down. 

We thought this community could help.

As always, Kyle will match the first 50 donations of $5.

Thank you!

If you’re interested in giving, you can donate here.

Update: You raised almost $20,000!

7/21/21 | Mi Casa Resource CenterThe pandemic scrambled the job market and led a lot of Coloradans to start looking for something new, something more rewarding and something more stable. There’s a longtime non-profit in the Denver metro area that helps people leverage their skills into something more.

For 45 years, Mi Casa Resource Center has been helping underserved communities in the metro area, primarily Latinas, through in-depth entrepreneurship education and job retraining to help women pursue careers that will change their lives and the trajectory of their families.

They do this with personal, one-on-one direction from experts. That could mean working with the Women’s Business Center, where hundreds of women plan and launch small businesses each year, or with Mi Casa’s newest program, La Receta (The Recipe), helping entrepreneurs build food businesses or grow the one they have.

You raised more than $17,000 to help Mi Casa continue its work.

7/14/21 | Showers for All: A shower might be the most basic part of your day, but for some people, it’s a luxury. It could also be exactly what they need to get off the streets and into a stable job.

A shower and clean clothes would give someone the ability to walk into a job interview looking and feeling their best, with the basic dignity that comes from being clean. Showers for All takes the shower and laundry trailer it built to spots around Denver. People who are homeless can then have access to a hot shower and a place to clean their clothes.

One guest specifically told the non-profit about a series of job interviews that didn’t pan out for them; after taking a shower and putting on clean clothes, they had two offers. Another woman told Showers for All that being able to take a shower regularly kept her medical conditions from getting worse, and allowed her to feel like she could walk into a place without people staring at her.

Homelessness isn’t going to be solved by a shower, but you raised more than $86,500 to help the Showers for All build a second shower and laundry trailer and expand their non-profit.

7/6/21 | Denver Urban GardensDenver Urban Gardens (DUG) is a local non-profit that builds new community gardens and supports existing gardens in underserved neighborhoods; 188 gardens dotting the metro area are group projects through DUG, in which neighbors work together to grow both healthy food and the community at the same time.

The group has done this work for 35 years, but DUG has heard from community members that some garden plots need more support, especially in neighborhoods without the resources that others have. You raised more than $12,600 to help them with physical infrastructure — like tools, water, shade and seeds — as well as providing translators, who can help people learn how to successfully grow their own food.

6/30/21 | Celebrate EDU: Nationwide, before the pandemic, four in five Americans with developmental disabilities were unemployed. In Colorado, there’s a local non-profit with an innovative idea to help people reach their potential.

Celebrate EDU, based in Boulder County, provides job skills, as well business and entrepreneurial training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This allows them to turn their passions into small businesses, or hone their skills so they can join the workforce to find purpose and the community that comes with work.

Celebrate EDU’s students have started a baking business, an online clothing boutique, a podcast and even bilingual instructional videos for other young people with autism.

You raised more than $18,500 to help them expand their work and scale up their micro-grant program, so that students with strong business plans can get a little seed money to start up their idea.

6/23/21 | Arvada Healing FundSo many of you wanted to help after the shooting in Olde Town Arvada.

While the family of Johnny Hurley decided to go with GoFundMe, a for-profit fundraising business, there are non-profit organizations that can get donations to victims, as well.

The Arvada Healing Fund was created specifically for Next viewers. Every dollar donated was split between the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation, which supports the family of fallen Officer Gordon Beesley, and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, which meets the needs of other survivors and witnesses.

Community First Foundation set up the fund. They decided not to take a dollar and cover credit card processing fees.

Ofc. Beesley’s family requested privacy, but we know from friends that he left behind a wife and kids. The Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation said all the money they received was going to his family.

The Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) is a group we’ve talked about before. They wanted to help with the needs of other survivors who were close to the shooting and impacted in various ways. That does include the family of Hurley if they’re interested in that assistance.

You all raised $31,900 to help the people of Arvada.

RELATED: Funeral, celebration of life being held Tuesday for good Samaritan killed in Arvada shooting

RELATED: Fallen Arvada police officer Gordon Beesley remembered for sense of humor, commitment to community

6/16/21 | Soccer Without BordersIt’s never easy being the new kid, let alone the new kid in a new country.

Soccer Without Borders is a non-profit in Colorado that uses the uniting power of sports to encourage kids and make them feel welcome as they get used to life here. They do this with their youth soccer program for young people — refugees and immigrants — who are new to Colorado.

As these kids play a sport they know and love, they can learn English at the same time. This soccer program also serves as a way to connect those kids and their families to the support systems they need to get off to a successful start in Colorado. That could be anything from career guidance to finding a place to live, or language tutoring for adults.

Their young participants have come to Colorado from 24 counties, speaking 16 different languages.

Soccer Without Borders has been around for a decade and is expanding its work to more communities from Weld County to the Denver Metro Area. We raised more than $19,000 to help them do that.

6/9/21 | Robbie’s HopeChildren’s Hospital Colorado announced a “pediatric mental health state of emergency” when they started seeing twice as many young people with anxiety and depression than before the pandemic.

Robbie’s Hope is a non-profit named for Robbie Eckert, a 15-year-old in Lakewood who took his own life in 2018. His parents started the organization so that they might save lives. The “Hope” stands for “Hold On, Pain Ends.”

RELATED: Robbie’s Hope inspiring hundreds of teens to talk about mental health

RELATED: ‘No one should bury their child’: How a teen’s parents are sparking change after he took his own life

Robbie’s Hope wants to inspire Colorado’s teenagers to talk to each other to destigmatize anxiety and depression. They enlist teen ambassadors to talk with their peers, so that feeling depressed or anxious isn’t as isolating. The non-profit also leaned on the expertise of teenagers themselves to create a guide for adults on how to talk to teenagers about depression and suicide.

Their basic message is to convince teenagers that “it’s OK to not be OK.”

We helped them raised more than $26,600 to continue their work.

6/2/21 | Warren VillageThis week, as the Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign turned 1-year-old, we turned our attention to Warren Village, a long-time non-profit dedicated to helping single parents, and therefore, changing the lives of whole families in Colorado.

This group helps build a foundation of education, health and financial security. The impact lasts generations. How? Warren Village provides two or three years of housing for single parents and their children. They pay a portion of their income in rent, but the real focus is on the career coaching parents get to start or finish a degree and to get established for a secure financial future. This is all while their children receive specialized child care and early education that can help them overcome learning difficulties or mental health issues.

You all gave more than $102,000 for the cause.

5/26/21 | Colorado Freedom MemorialThe Colorado Freedom Memorial was the first of its kind in America — a memorial to all the state’s service members lost. They display of Coloradans killed in action from the Spanish American War to the present day.

But part of the memorial is crumbling. The granite foundation is coming apart with time. It can be fixed, but this is an expensive project that would eat into the budget organizers use for events and other programs.

As we approached Memorial Day, we wanted to use our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign to help the Colorado Freedom Memorial — a special project we can do together in honor of those who have served and sacrificed.

Our $43,000 in donations will help keep the Colorado Freedom Memorial a beautiful place for years to come.

5/19/21 | Food Bank of the Rockies’ Totes of Hope programFood Bank of the Rockies’ Totes of Hope program has been around for 15 years, and it’s lasted that long because it works.

When kids leave school on Fridays, they’re sent home with enough food to feed a family for the weekend. In the summertime, the program moves from schools to other places like community centers and church camps.

Single parents, especially, have told Food Bank of the Rockies that weekends are when they most struggle with food. Those are days when kids can’t get meals at school or childcare, and getting the whole family to a food bank can be challenging.

In addition to sending children home with food, the Totes of Hope programs also just started doing ingredients and recipes, so families can cook together.

We spent May collecting money for the Food Bank of the Rockies to address hunger in this state. This week, we want to help this specific program were able to collect $41,000 to help.

5/12/21 | Food Bank of the Rockies’ mobile pantriesWhether it’s a lack of reliable public transit in the suburbs, or driving an hour out on the Plains, Coloradans who are far from grocery stores and food banks have a transportation hurdle to feeding their families.

This week, we wanted to highlight the mobile pantries sent out across Colorado by the Food Bank of the Rockies.

You’ve likely heard the term “food deserts,” or areas underserved by grocery stores. Food Bank of the Rockies rolls out 70 refrigerated trucks a month, like a food bank on wheels, to deliver fresh produce and other groceries.

They first locate pockets of need, where Coloradans could use help with access to fresh produce and other food items. Then they pick a day and time, spread the word and show up to help.

Food Bank of the Rockies goes out on these mobile pantry missions more than 800 times a year, and they cover the cost. We can help send out even more.

You collected more than $28,000 for the cause.

5/5/21 | Food Bank of the Rockies’ Culturally Responsive Foods Initiative:

This isn’t the first time we’ve said this, but it’s worth saying again that the demand on food banks spiked with the pandemic because the demand really hasn’t let up. Food Bank of the Rockies says 40% of the people coming to them for help are looking for food assistance for the first time. These are people who hadn’t been to food banks prior to the pandemic.

This week, we sought out to support and expand the Food Bank of the Rockies’ Culturally Responsive Foods Initiative. The concept is about more than food. This is about families, memories and traditions.

This program aims to deliver certain foods to communities in Colorado — the foods these communities want to eat and what they want to cook with, rather than just the traditional food bank staple items.

Maybe this seems like a simple thing, but it’s had a profound impact. Think about how food is woven into our family stories and traditions. Think about not being able to afford that food and not seeing it in food banks. Working with partners statewide, the food bank listens to the requests of communities, whether they are Latino, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Somali, Russian, Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone. Then, the program goes the extra mile and extra dollar to find the food items that mean a lot to them.

You raised more than $41,000 to help this program continue.

4/28/21 | LuBird’s Light FoundationA long-awaited plan to build an inclusive playground for kids of all abilities has hit a snag, just months before it was set to open.

The playground is going in at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, and this is going to be a special spot. It’s close to Children’s Hospital so that families can visit, and there won’t be the typical barriers keeping out kids in wheelchairs, or kids who have other challenges. This will be accessible in every way — from the surface beneath our feet and wheels, to the equipment, which will include a wheelchair bouncer and an accessible merry-go-round.

But this playground is for everyone. All kids, of every ability, will be welcome.

A non-profit called LuBird’s Light Foundation raised money for years and broke ground last year. That’s when they discovered soil issues that are expensive to fix.

You go them $73,700 closer to opening the playground.

4/21/21 | Colorado Search and Rescue teamsEach county in Colorado has its own search and rescue team — typically volunteers who, along with giving their time, tend to spend $4,000 to $10,000 of their own money on training and equipment to keep all of us safe in Colorado’s wild, beautiful places.

Even with that, they still need help, whether it be for new equipment or upgrading old vehicles. The statewide non-profit that advocates for these groups collected our $53,000 in donations, then started a grant process to award money to high-priority needs without taking any money for overhead. 

4/14/21 | SAVA CenterSexual assault can create a lifetime of trauma, which is why the support for sexual assault survivors in Colorado is so critical. The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center, or SAVA Center, in Northern Colorado offers help to survivors of recent assaults, as well as to survivors of assaults that happened years or even decades ago. They even work on prevention, creating programs that reach thousands of students.

The SAVA Center also continues to build trust with the immigrant community, where convincing people to come forward after an assault and assuring them they’ll be protected is a challenge.

The pandemic made it harder for survivors to escape abusive situations, and the SAVA Center expects to see a wave of people seeking help as society fully reopens. Sadly, the pandemic has impacted funding, as well. Next viewers donated more than $25,000 to help them.

4/7/21 | Center for African American Health: The Center for African American Health (CAA) has been committed to supporting Denver’s Black community since 2005. This group started within the Black Church Initiative and has grown into a nonprofit that addresses the community’s physical health and wellbeing.

CAA offers free prostate screenings to men and overall health screenings at its health fair. It helps connect people with healthy food and offers mental health first-aid training. It even teaches people about health insurance coverage and aging in a healthy way. 

In spring, when all adults in Colorado became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, CAA focused its work on access and breaking down barriers in many ways — COVID testing, vaccine clinics, vaccine education and outreach.

You raised $43,000 to support the cause.

3/31/21 | COVAThe Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) is a non-profit that can quickly help crime victims with emergency funds for things like groceries and phone bills.

The names of crime victims line the walls at their office, and most names would not be familiar. Their cases aren’t always in the news, so strangers aren’t likely to reach out to help.

There are state and federal victims assistance funds, but COVA keeps a small emergency fund to help out when that other assistance will be too slow or too limited to immediately help a crime victim in Colorado. Victims’ advocates apply for the funds on behalf of their clients, so it’s all legitimate. COVA can then turn around emergency help in 20 minutes if that’s what’s needed.

The money can be used to get a car out of impound, get a phone bill paid, repair property damage, get someone a gift card for gas or groceries for their family.

These victims’ advocates work all across our state and are there for people in the worst moments in their lives when they can not only feel victimized, but forgotten.

Next viewers raised $33,000 for this nonprofit.

3/23/21: Community Foundation Boulder County’s crisis fund: Next typically highlights a new cause every Wednesday as part of our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign. In light of what happened during this week, when 10 people were killed at the Boulder King Soopers, we got a day’s head start by turning our attention to Community Foundation Boulder County’s crisis fund.

The foundation has an established history of helping in Boulder, whether it be with environmental concerns, veterans’ causes or art programs. The list is long.

In this case, their Boulder County Crisis Fund told us it could directly help victims’ families and others who were impacted by the shooting. The fund will be around for the long haul to help the people who need it.

Community Foundation Boulder County partnered with the City of Boulder and smaller non-profits to operate the fund to support these families and the community. Specifically, this group came together with: the City of Boulder, Rose Community Foundation, Longmont Community Foundation, Westview Church, Congregation Har Hashem, Congregation Bonai Shalom, First Congregational Church, Boulder Mennonite Church, First UMC of Lafayette, Community Church of Lyons, Islamic Center of Boulder, and the Colorado Healing Fund.

The Boulder County Crisis Fund hit the $1 million in a week. Next viewers raised $296,000 to help the cause, accounting for more than a quarter of that total.

3/17/21 | The Matthews HouseThe Matthews House started 15 years ago with an original goal of helping those who were aging out of foster care. The vision grew, and this group now works with more than 3,000 families each year to help younger people succeed, especially trying to intervene earlier with at-risk kids.

One of their great success stories is educational support. The Matthews House helps students stick with school and get on track to graduate. Last fall, students came in with an average of 45% in their classes and left with an average grade of 73%. The non-profit has 14 learning sites in Fort Collins and Loveland, and the program grew eight times larger during the pandemic.

Knowing summer 2021 would be busy after a difficult school year, they wanted to prepare to help hundreds of students in Northern Colorado make up credits they missed and prepare to graduate.

Next viewers donated $55,000 to support the cause.

3/10/21 | CultivandoThe women of Cultivando do important work. This is a small but mighty non-profit that has a long track record of advocating for health equity in the Latino community. The promotoras, the community health workers of Cultivando, are trusted resources in Adams County, the only county in the metro area where more than a third of the population is Latino.

In March, Cultivando‘s promotoras sought to help spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines. They wanted to make sure mass vaccination events provided enough outreach to all communities, and they wanted to help individuals navigate resources and information about the vaccine. With more than $28,000 in donations, this group could scale up its services to meet the demand.

3/3/21 | Epic Experience: Sharon Ritzman watched Next from her home in Golden. And before she died in February 2021, she was a regular supporter of our Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign – so much so, that her family asked for people to consider giving to our weekly Word of Thanks causes in her obituary.

Sharon lived a life full of adventures with her family and volunteerism tied to the medical community. During this week, Kyle asked Sharon’s family if they would help pick our featured non-profit so that we might find something that would have made Sharon smile. That’s how we learned about Epic Experience, based in Arvada. Sharon supported their work.

Epic Experience hosts weeklong adventure camps for adult cancer survivors, strengthening their mental health and connecting them to a network of survivors who can help them explore life beyond cancer. They even set out to launch some virtual reality getaways for patients who couldn’t safely be around others.

Sharon’s daughter, Michelle, went on an Epic Experience camp. And Sharon herself went back to school to become a nurse to work with families facing cancer.

The people who run this small non-profit say they have eight times as many cancer survivors interested in these no-cost camps than they have available spots. Next viewers gave them more than $46,000 to help provide the experience to more people.

2/24/21 | Lincoln Hills CaresIn 1922, Black entrepreneurs in Denver began building a resort in Gilpin County. It was intended to be a mountain getaway for Black Coloradans who faced discrimination at other vacation spots. Lincoln Hills grew into a thriving community of cabins, drawing families who wanted an escape from life in the city and racial inequality.

Today, Lincoln Hills is a place where, every year, more than a thousand kids get to explore nature, learn about science and gain a new appreciation for their cultural history. Young Coloradans have the chance to come away with new interests and new skills in outdoor survival, biology and entomology — not to mention a new appreciation for what previous generations of Black Coloradans built at that special camp.

These young visitors come from all over the state, primarily from marginalized communities where economic factors might prevent families from getting the mountain experience that a lot of Coloradans take for granted.

Our donations this week supported Lincoln Hills Cares, the non-profit based at the old resort property. You raised more than $55,000 to help them prepare for a summer filled with YMCA and church groups, student visits and Boys and Girls Clubs.

2/17/21 | Urban PeakUrban Peak has a 30-year track record of helping young people experiencing homelessness in Denver. The teenagers and young adults who turn to this nonprofit need help for different reasons, but Urban Peak meets them where they are with experienced, specialized support. Urban Peak has an overnight shelter, a place for young people to come during the day to escape the streets, as well as job training, education resources, and a focus on getting youth into housing where they’ll be safe and self-sufficient.

Even with 2020’s challenges, Urban Peak did that for more than 60 young people last year, doing what they could to scrape together the basics like a bed, chair and cooking utensils. With the help of our $63,000 in donations, the head of Urban Peak told us she wanted to let each young person buy one small thing of their choice to make their new housing feel like their home.

2/10/21 | Western Colorado Community FoundationDonations made this week were divided among three non-profits doing important work in western Colorado to prevent youth suicide. YouthZone, Gear Up and Friends of Youth and Nature use outdoor adventure as a way to get counseling and mentoring to young people who are at risk:

  • Youth Zone works with young people in Garfield County, Rifle and Parachute specifically, who have been in trouble and need guidance to get on the right track again.
  • Gear Up provides mentoring for middle schoolers in Mesa County, but it’s disguised as a mountain biking program, getting young people to set goals early in life to stay out of trouble and stay away from discouragement.
  • Friends of Youth in Montrose and Delta counties does work with kids in foster care who have survived trauma so that they can build confidence and resilience skills.

The Western Colorado Community Foundation collected and split your $56,000 in donations in three ways. They even got us started with $5,000.

If someone in your life is in crisis today and needs immediate help, Colorado Crisis Service is available 24-7. You can call 844-493-8255, or text the word “TALK” to 38255.

2/3/21 | Laboratory to Combat Human TraffickingThe Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is a Denver-based non-profit dedicated to ending human trafficking in Colorado. They have found that the key to stopping this practice is training more people to spot it, and this group has been working on just that for more than a decade. They’ve trained 35,000 people on how to spot human trafficking, including law enforcement, hospitality workers and people who work in health care and child welfare. We heard from one of those law enforcement officers just before we highlighted the cause. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brent Crampton stepped in to stop a case of human trafficking in 2020 after his training. Crampton told us that he wondered if he missed other cases before he knew the signs and techniques to intervene. Together, Next viewers raised more than $44,000 to help The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking reach more people across our state and train them, potentially rescuing victims and saving lives.

1/27/21 | WeeCycleWeeCycle is a non-profit providing diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families around Denver. During the pandemic, they focused on getting those baby items to food banks, so that families in need could get those essentials in one stop. Through Word of Thanks, they hoped they could immediately start helping families by giving them two packs of diapers instead of one. Next viewers were able to buy many diapers, raising more than $94,000 this week.

1/20/21 | Branson, Colorado’s football fieldSince we started the Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign in June 2020, we’ve addressed serious topics in our state ranging from hunger to wildfires. This time, we thought we’d focus on joy. Branson is a dot on the map in the southeast part of the state. In 2016, the people living there were thrilled to have a six-man high school football team for the first time in a long time, but their field, carved out of old pastureland, was rough — so rough that even after Branson students tried to pick out every rock and nurture the grass, it was still a mess. Because of that, Branson’s opponents announced they wouldn’t play there for fear of getting hurt. Branson, with a population of less than 100, wanted to raise money to install an artificial turf football field. But this is about more than football. This town sees a new field as a place of pride and a chance to build a place for the community to gather. Next viewers helped get them $82,000 closer to their goal. They’re still collecting donations, but in spring 2021, the town broke ground on the project.

1/13/21 | Jeffco Prosperity PartnersJeffco Prosperity Partners helps families reach their personalized goals while getting out of poverty. If the goal is a better-paying job, Jeffco Prosperity Partners can come in with career counseling and tuition assistance. If the focus is on overcoming mental health challenges, they are there to walk side-by-side with them through that. If the hope is to buy a house, Jeffco Prosperity Partners can guide them toward that goal. This nonprofit provides coaching and direct financial support to families below the poverty line in Jefferson County — keeping kids in school, making sure families stay physically and mentally healthy, guiding them down paths to increase their income and savings and decrease their reliance on government assistance. You raised nearly $32,000 to help them achieve those goals.

1/6/21 | Mountain Family CenterThe Modern West podcast is where Kyle learned about the struggle to find and afford fresh, healthy food in Jackson County. For the relatively isolated and small communities in the North Park area, Mountain Family Center is their connection to food and support from neighbors when they need it – that includes food pantries, grocery deliveries and even pharmacy runs. The non-profit runs the only food bank in Jackson County, in Walden. They also have three other locations in Grand County, in Granby, Kremmling and Fraser. You raised $66,000 this week to get fresh food to these families.

RELATED: ‘Word of Thanks’ nonprofits highlighted by Next with Kyle Clark in 2020

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark