It’s amazing how we can live somewhere for a number of years, but not truly feel connected to our community. This is how Diana felt, even after living in Denver for many years. She moved here from Tuscan, Arizona, six years ago.
“The day we did the Work Day cleanup, is the day I realized that I had not really felt connected to my community. Sure, I knew the Denver streets and I work with youth all around the Denver area, but volunteering with Extreme Community Makeover was the first time I really felt connected to the community,” states Diana.
Diana works with Denver Kids as an Educational Counselor. They provide educational counseling and mentoring to thousands of Denver Public School (DPS) students, grades K-12.
“The kids we mentor can start from Kindergarten and go all the way up to High School. It’s a honor to see them grow up and overcome many obstacles. My job is truly rewarding,” says Diana.
Diana appreciates organizations like ECM that are providing residents with resources to their neighborhood. She admits that having her students volunteer is a big way to help them feel connected to their community. Many of the kids she mentors live in the eight Denver neighborhoods ECM serves.
“We help our students graduate high school and also help them achieve their high educational goals. It’s very important for them to also experience serving in their communities. Volunteering helps them with their self-esteem and it gives them a sense of place. It teaches them empathy and helps them to get their minds off themselves,”Diana explains.
Diana appreciates the hands-on experience students get with volunteering with Extreme Community Makeover. “When you are able to be on foot walking through the neighborhood versus just driving in a car, it opens up your connection to the neighborhood,” says Diana.
Diana plans on volunteering with ECM more this summer. “I want volunteering to be an ongoing thing for us. It’s truly important to get to experience meaningful outings and feel connected to the community,” expresses Diana.
If you’ve lived in Denver for a number of years and have not yet volunteered, we encourage you to give it a try and see if it helps you to also feel more connected to your Denver community. Sign up for an upcoming Work Day here.