Some News from Rick Waters, Co-Executive Director
A new year…
As we look forward to the opportunities and challenges that await us in serving the American Indian community this coming year, I feel it is important to take a look back and give thanks for all the success and blessings the Denver Indian Center received in 2018. We began the year with a bit of uncertainty as our roof had finally reached a point where patching the leaks was no longer an option. A new roof was needed to allow the DICI to continue using the gym for various activities and also avoid additional collateral damage caused by a leaky roof. Through the generosity of the Colorado Health Foundation, funds were granted to allow the Center to receive a new roof, and at the same time, upgrade the outdated heating and air conditioning units in the gym. It took some time, but we were finally able to open the gym for use, and in partnership with other community organizations, the DICI hosted the first annual Fall Fest event on Halloween night and based upon feedback from the large turnout of families and children, it was immediately deemed a success! In November, the annual Veterans Day Pow-wow was held in the gym to a large and enthusiastic community turnout. It was great to hear the drum and honoring of our veterans. Quickly following, the annual DICI Thanksgiving Basket giveaway was again a hit with the community. The response was so great that for the first time, we were unable to distribute a Thanksgiving turkey meal to everyone that arrived for the first come, first served event. We are already planning for next year and hope to ensure everyone will receive a food basket. December was a busy month and our annual Christmas dinner and toy giveaway was also a day of excitement. We were able to accommodate both the American Indian community and Westwood community families that arrived with free wrapped toys and a Christmas dinner basket. We even had a visit from the Indian Santa! To cap off the 2018 year, the DICI hosted the 18th Annual Christmas Elders Dinner and the gym was filled with over 250 American Indian elders, guests and volunteers enjoying a meal of buffalo stew and frybread. None of this could have been done without the generous support of our donors and volunteers, and tireless staff. In addition to our community events, the two primary programs of the DICI, the Honoring Fatherhood Program and the Native Workforce Program were refunded and both experienced continued growth and participation. Dozens of participants completed the Honoring Fatherhood Program, received jobs and training through the Native Workforce Program and we also graduated a motivated group from the first Entrepreneur Class. High on our list of priorities and emphasis for 2019 will be the revitalization of our youth and elder programs and cultural awareness workshops and activities. But again, we cannot continue to serve and meet the needs of our community without continued financial support. As we prepare and implement fundraising strategies to continue offering services, please continue to visit our website and Facebook to see what’s happening at the Denver Indian Center and help us continue to make the Center relevant again!