Welcome to Denver Writes

Hello Denver Writers! 

I want to send a thank you to everyone who has donated to Denver Writes over the last month for our Colorado Gives Fundraiser, and certainly over the past fifteen years. There’s one more day to go, as tomorrow December 5th, is Colorado Gives Day. Every donation made through the end of the day contributes to the total percentage of the overall Colorado Gives Fund that we are eligible to receive. In the time left we urge everyone to please continue sharing our organization and our social media posts, this truly helps our reach and finding more donors, and more discovering Denver Writes!

Our listing on Colorado Gives is here: https://www.coloradogives.org/organization/Denverwrites
The direct donation page is here: https://www.coloradogives.org/donate/Denverwrites

This was the first major fundraiser we’ve run since I’ve been program director, and only the second since I’ve been involved with Denver Writes. In 2014, about a month after I first joined as a volunteer we had a major fundraiser where we changed the name of our organization to Denver Writes from Metro Denver Promotion of Letters.

For the past nine years I’ve been incredibly blessed to work with some of the smartest, funniest, and creative kids. I’ve also worked with, and become great friends with an incredible group of teachers, playwrights, screenwriters, actors, comedians, local authors, major authors, local authors who became major authors, poet laureates, artists, illustrators, and more who choose to volunteer, run our workshops and summer camps, and more with us. I don’t take for granted how lucky, I am and how lucky we are.

The pandemic was my biggest struggle since taking over as Program Director, or maybe second after having to give up our beloved Back Space in 2018. In 2020, I had planned out a major expansion, working with several Denver Public Library locations, several bookstores, schools and non-profit centers throughout Denver, Jeffco, Boulder, & Aurora. Unfortunately many of these places closed, or completely changed their programing models by the time we returned. We also lost a substantial number of regular attendees, as well as volunteers & instructors, who grew up, moved away, or simply moved on to different chapters of their lives.

I’m incredibly blessed that we had a dedicated group of participants (and parents) who stayed with us during the entire online era. Going from our BookBar group to online to Regis, eleven year olds become fifteen year olds and I’m still not sure how that happened. I’ve always known kids who have grown up and out of our programs (seeing the names of participants who I worked with in 2014 show up as LInkedIn suggestions is certainly.. humbling), but this year was the first year where I experienced an entire generation growing up and moving on all at the same time, many who had been regular weekly participants since 2018. While it’s bittersweet, I’m incredibly proud and excited to see where they’re going next and what funny weird things they’ll create next. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect in the beginning of 2023. Leaving, BookBar, which had been our partner since 2015 and our permanent home since 2018, and losing some of our older participants, had me scared and a little uneasy about the future, and for about four days I didn’t know where we would end up, until our new friends at Regis University offered us classroom space to hold our afternoon writing club. My fears quickly eased, as between Regis, our first workshops with The Bookies, as well as our continued events with our friends at Second Star, we picked up a steady group of new regulars, who we are delighted to get to know and work with. Our numbers keep growing, we have our most regularly attended workshops since 2018 and were able to run two full summer camps. I know that our organization doesn’t have the reach, the clout, and certainly not the backing, of our friends at Lighthouse, but we are very blessed for everyone who chooses to attend our programs and events.

I want to close out by thanking everyone who helped us out this year. Our partners at BookBar, Second Star Books, Denver Public Library, Regis University, The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, & Toys, and The Bookies for hosting our events this year.  Our intern/young volunteers who helped us with our summer camps, workshops AND after school programs: Chris, Arden, Hayden, Vannie, and Venn. Our wonderful returning volunteers: Mary, Carly, Madison, Olivia, Katie, Clint, Helen (and every local comedian who jumped in to help with our college essay prep), and Rachel, who wasn’t able to join us this year, but always gives excellent feedback, support, and advice. And finally, our truly incredible instructors: Ellen, Colorado Legend Nancy Bo Flood (!!), Jessie, Lauren, Jenny, Patty, Erin, Hayden (again!), and Jan!

Thank you for again for donating, for attending our programs, sharing our organizatinon, linking our instagram posts, and truly for everything as we head into our 16th year and my TENTH year with the organization. 

And on that note, we’ll be announcing our 2024 spring schedule near the end of the month and our summer camp dates and themes in early February. We have some great upcoming workshops planned, including one I’ve wanted to do for almost the entire time I’ve been here. We do still have a few holes in our schedule and are actively looking for workshop & summer camp instructors, if you’re interested let me know!

Kevin Peterson
Program Director