The Denver Days initiative has commenced each first week of August since 2013 to celebrate the strength of Denver communities. This year’s Denver Days gathering took place in Sun Valley and evoked the warm type of neighborhood engagement Mr. Rogers was hopeful for. The initiative, started by Mayor Hancock, actively encourages neighbors to “ get to know [each other] by hosting block parties, picnics, and service projects”. In its fifth year this event has evolved past being simply a neighborly celebration into a testament of community support.
There is truth in the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” — but often a consistent village does not exist for families. Back-to-school prep, for example, can be costly for parents. A big part of Denver Days focused on cultivating stronger bonds among neighbors and giving families a helping hand. With the support of community businesses like, Victory Crown Barber Co.,Sexy Pizza, Ink Monstr, Ramos Law and Meow Wolf, the 1,200 residents in attendance received 636 school supply packs (for all ages) and 570 toiletry kits (including necessities for young children).
Community events like Denver Days are reminders of the benefits of being a true neighbor. Children rejoiced while parents watched and took breaths of relief, a perfect way to close off summer.
“The weed exploded out here and everything went up. It makes it harder for families to survive. And they don’t think about food, you know? We have to also pay for kid’s clothes — everything is sky high. We live in the Sun Valleys and they went up too. They’re about to rebuild them now to make it like everything else. And when that happens, they just put you in a temporary place. It’s hard because groceries add up real quick. It’s a friendly environment here, the kids don’t have to worry about being bullied or picked on. I had to explain to a couple kids that were scared to get their haircut, ‘they’re doing this for a charity, but this is their job – what they do for life and they’re choosing to give it back to the community.’ But they haven’t learned yet.”
“Daddy, I want to go swimming”
“I can’t live or work where I want to because of all these new people coming in and taking because they have experience. Like dang how are we going to get the experience if you’re giving it to people that already have it?”
“ I’m sixteen.”
“No, you are not.”
“I’m in 8th grade.”
“I’m going to middle school.”
“We’re not excited about middle school, because we have to run miles”
“I like riding bikes”
“ I did 20 miles on a bike before. It took almost the whole day”
“We went to some colleges and I was thinking about going to some of them”
“I like helping kids because I had a rough childhood. So, I want to be pediatrician or maybe a therapist.”
“My mom’s been through a lot … So I want to be there for kids when they go through stuff. ”