Val Lunka and Joyce Meyers
Clothes to Kids of Denver has an inventory of nearly new and brand new clothes and shoes to fit students enrolled in Denver Public Schools where two out of three kids in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch. That means they come from families living at or below the poverty line. Qualified students attending DPS public academies can also select uniforms here.
Clothes to Kids has a spacious storefront on South Colorado Boulevard where kids can select outfits they need to attend school, spared the stigma of showing up for classes wearing too well worn or ill-fitting items, including shoes.
Items for the store are donated by private and public school parents, many of them living in the Cherry Creek School District or attending private schools such as St. Mary’s Academy, Kent Denver or Regis High School. Other donations come from businesses such as Liberty Media that gave Clothes to Kids $25,000 to spend on new socks and shoes. The Optimist Club headed The Undie 500 Drive and the results are apparent in bins stacked with brand new underwear and socks ready for distribution.
“We need everything” kids might need for school, said Development Director Val Lunka. A quick tour of the store, that’s now about 2,500 sq. ft., shows racks upon racks of merchandise arranged, as they would be in a retail store, the racks themselves donated by The Container Store.
Bins and bins of brand new underwear and socks are ready for distribution.
The nonprofit, which opened in 2008, has grown so rapidly that it just doubled its floor space and thanks to LEI Companies, the whole store has brand new lighting.
Since girls are gentler on their clothes than boys, Clothes to Kids needs more boys’ jeans starting at size 5 and young men’s sizes. In 2013, Clothes to Kids provided wardrobes for more than 4,000 students and they can also use prom attire. Let’s face it parents, your daughters aren’t likely to wear this spring’s prom gown again and boys’ jackets are going to be too small to wear again in 2015.
Sorting and stacking donated items is done by volunteers from local high schools and even seven and eight-year olds who are brought to the store by volunteering parents.
Any chance the students volunteering will spot a student selecting clothes, we asked? Not a chance, as the sorting is done at a separate area away from shoppers.
More than 100 referral agencies work with Clothes to Kids and “there are so many ways to help,” Lunka said. She is a part-time paid staffer, one of only two others there, putting in about 20 hours a week. Katie Jones is the full-time executive director and a University of Denver MSW graduate.
All this information brings to readers’ attention a free Sept. 23 Clothes to Kids Luncheon at the nearby Wellshire Inn, dubbed Reading, Writing and a Wardrobe.
Clothes for Kids has a wonderful inventory of new and nearly new outfits.Photos by Glory Weisberg
For information, call 720-379-4630, reach Val Lunka directly (which she prefers) at 303-681-5054 or visit www.clothestokidsdenver.org.
Goodwill 19th Hole Celebration
Greg Ball is chairing the Goodwill 19th Hole Celebration, Aug. 25, at the Colorado Golf Club. The agenda includes dinner, live and silent auctions. On the Celebration committee are Melissa Brownstein, Steve Buretz, John Cuny, Gary Fowler, Brian Jensen, Pete Koury, Elena Sirpolaldis and Cliff Young. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkinson’s and depression
The death of actor Robin Williams is touching everyone who knew his name and when he took his own life he left a void in the heart of us all.
Williams, often appearing manic on TV, including the latest and just cancelled, The Crazy Ones, and having a rapid fire speech style, had been in and out of rehab for drug problems but was also battling depression.
That’s the profile most media blamed for his suicide but several days after initial announcements, Williams’ family went public with a message that he had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Colorado Neurological Institute has come out with information on their efforts to tame the neurological effects of Parkinson’s, championed for many years by movie and TV star, Michael J. Fox. For many years he’s been raising money for research into the illness and is credited for bringing the topic out into the open, continuing to work on screen, most recently on the popular show, The Good Wife.
Locally, Channel 9 President Joe Franzgrote succumbed to Parkinson’s after a brave battle, surrounded by friends and family each step of the way.
The following information is from CNI.
“Depression is common in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients, as well as in individuals facing most chronic conditions, ranging from epilepsy to arthritis. “We see patients constantly that are losing the ability to communicate with their families,” said Jay Schneiders, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and physician associate with CNI. “Rigorous diagnostics and state-of-the-art medical treatment of a serious disease or condition is only the beginning.”
“We are hearing all about this right now because of Robin Williams, but this is something we deal with every day,” said Allen Bowling, MD, Ph.D. Bowling is a multiple sclerosis expert and also a physician associate of CNI. He serves as co-chair of CNI’s Education Committee.
“CNI has been offering programs and services to educate and combat depression for years. In fact, we have our biggest conference of the year coming up next month, and anyone who is suffering with depression should attend.”
On Sept. 13, CNI will host its first ever patient/caregiver conference focusing on issues such as depression, fitness, marijuana and the “science of happiness.” This event is designed particularly for those with neurological conditions. However, the conference is open to anyone who suffers from a chronic condition, including depression itself.
“We want people to know we’re here, that we have medical experts, researchers, therapists, counselors, support group leaders, patient mentors and more,” says Tami Lack, Executive Director of CNI. “We know the issues, we have the experts, and we want to help. Depression is so common across the board, not just with Parkinson’s Disease, but with many other conditions, diseases and injuries.”
More information about the upcoming conference, “Thriving with Your Neurological Condition: Science, Sensitivity & Support” can be obtained at www.thecni.org.
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