In 1947, the Kiwanis Club of Denver gifted $750.00 to Cerebral Palsy of Colorado (now Ability Connection Colorado) to establish a loan library to “aid parents in their search for more knowledge concerning Cerebral Palsy.” Seven decades later, this tradition continues with the South Denver Kiwanis Club. At Thursday’s donation ceremony, complete with children singing and attended by South Denver Kiwanis Club members, the Club donated a new television and other equipment to the school. These new electronics will ensure the children and families at Ability Connection Colorado’s Creative Options Center for Early Childhood Education will have access to enhanced learning tools and ongoing training opportunities. “We are so pleased with our long-standing partnership with Ability Connection Colorado, and sincerely appreciate the great work they are doing at Creative Options – improving the lives of children in our community,” said Stu Weinroth, President of the South Denver Kiwanis Club. This donation follows a long tradition of giving by the South Denver Kiwanis Club, whose members have sponsored Christmas presents for families at Creative Options at Ironton, as well as a door-to-door book drive a few years ago that netted 1,000 donated books to the school’s library. Most recently, Kiwanis Club members helped lay mulch on the school’s playground to ensure children have a safe place to play. And members volunteer at Creative Options in other ways, too. “The South Denver Kiwanis Club has been an amazing supporter of Creative Options and all of our children and their families. We are so fortunate to have their help over the past 10 years – and so thankful,” commented Stella Grinage-Hirn, Education Supervisor at Creative Options at the South Ironton location. For nearly a decade, John Forney, a retired dentist, has been reading to children as a volunteer at Creative Options. “It is important to give back to society when we have benefitted, and giving my time to reading to these children every week is my way of giving back,” said Forney. “But the impact reaches far beyond just reading to the children,” continued Forney. “This program gives kids a boost in their educational process, and reading skills is just one part. There are statistics that show how much this increases their learning ability and improves their social skills.” According to research, when at-risk children don’t receive a high-quality early childhood education, they are:
- 25% more likely to drop out of school
- 40% more likely to become a teen parent
- 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
Ability Connection Colorado has four Creative Options Centers for Early Childhood Education in Aurora and Denver, with a new one slated to break ground in Northeast Aurora in 2016. The mission of the Creative Options Centers is to facilitate individual development for children of all abilities through family support and a nurturing educational environment. The focus is on each child’s strengths, while at the same time promoting his or her social-emotional, cognitive, communicative, and physical development. This comprehensive approach matters greatly to a child’s success in life, and the approach has proven beneficial for both the children and their families. “We are excited to celebrate Ability Connection Colorado’s 70th anniversary next year, and our legacy with the Kiwanis Club is one way we honor this history,” said Judy Ham, President and CEO of Ability Connection Colorado. “For seven decades, the generosity of individuals and organizations in the community, such as the South Denver Kiwanis Club, has made our work possible. We are so grateful for this support and the difference it makes in the lives of the children and families we assist.”