SARA HASSTEDT PHOTOGRAPHY GIVES BACK : THE DENVER DREAM CENTER
The Denver Dream Center
is an organization dedicated to sharing God’s love with Denver communities through building long-term relationships and performing practical acts of service. One of the ways that I’ve had a hand in participating is in their “Adopt-a-Block” events which they hold every other Saturday in their dedicated neighborhoods. The focus of the “Adopt-a-Block” event is relationship building.
When the weather is nice it is held at a park next door to the community we are serving. Volunteers walk around the neighborhood inviting the families there to come join and within minutes the park is filled with kids coloring with sidewalk chalk, playing football, throwing frisbees, etc. Before long, the park is so packed with kids that it is difficult to tell which ones are the neighborhood kids and which ones belong to the volunteers. This is maybe my favorite part of watching it all play out because kids don’t bring bias or pre-conceived notions to the table which makes their interactions so natural.
I loved watching my daughter sit on the sidewalk alongside another little girl her age from the community while getting their nails painted and then run off together soon afterward to play a different game. One of the moms from the community we were serving told me that the Dream Center staff has become like family to her because they have been regularly involved there for a couple of years and have helped her through some difficult circumstances. The DDC doesn’t go into communities looking to “fix” the things that they assume need fixing and then pat themselves on the back for doing a good deed and move on. Instead, they seek out people within the community who can truly share what the community’s needs are and they work on building those long-term relationships and working in-partnership with community members. They seek to serve and fulfill both short-term practical needs such as providing a single mom with diapers, or a new mattress, or food for the pantry that week to more long-term needs like helping a man coming out of prison to find his place in society again. Through all of this, their biggest goal is to give hope to these communities by sharing the gospel and sharing God’s love in authentic and tangible ways.