May 27, 2014

Monsters Move Mountains. Denver’s MapQuest and AOL Teams Give Back.

Each year I look forward to Monster Help Day. It’s a great way to spend time with my co-workers while giving back to our community. This year was extra special, as I was nominated to choose the day’s activities and decided to return to the Denver Children’s Home for the 2nd year in a row. These kids have so little and the team’s rewarding experience last year made such an impact on them that they were excited to be a part of it again this year.

Denver Children’s Home (DCH) restores hope and health to traumatized children and families through a comprehensive array of therapeutic, educational, and community-based services. As the first non-profit in Colorado, Denver Children’s Home was originally created by Colorado’s founding families as the Denver orphan’s Home in 1876 to take care of the orphans building railroads, working in the mines, and the thousands of poorly housed homeless children.

Our day consisted of several projects including, cleaning up the garden, and painting the 2nd floor, deep cleaning and my favorite part–cooking lunch for the staff and kids (a total of 80 people). We made tacos and had a sundae bar with all the toppings–THEY LOVED IT! The kids were so excited and told us it was their favorite meal. It was great interacting with them and seeing first-hand how our contributions impacted their day. We were able to create a fun and friendly atmosphere, and with one boy in particular who was celebrating his birthday, a lasting and positive impression.

This experience with DCH is especially rewarding for me as I’ve prior experience working with abused children. Before I came to AOL, I was a social worker for 10 years at the Denver Family Crisis Center.  Working with kids on a day-to-day basis can be a challenge and leaves its mark—usually with frustration and exhaustion for those involved. As a mother I am grateful to have a wonderful family and be able to provide for them, so taking the time to pitch in to help DCH–weeding their garden, painting their walls a little brighter, and making their lunch a little tastier and fun—is just another way to make a difference.

I keep in touch with Denver Children’s Home throughout the year to see how MapQuest can help with supplies for the kids, whether its shampoo, body wash, clothes, head phones or other needs; we keep a box in the office and I take it over as it gets full. We even have interest from co-workers to continue to cook for the kids either once a month or on a quarterly basis so I will be organizing that soon. I love working for a company that allows us to do such wonderful things and has amazing values. We really are in the business of helping people. Period.