As our last blog post mentioned, we Rocky Mountain Active 2030 members are already eagerly looking forward to fall and the return of the “Shaken, Not Stirred” Annual Children’s Gala on September 23. But before we break out our black tie best and strike our most-007 pose, we invite you to give summer an A+ sendoff at RMA 2030’s Back to School Happy Hour in preparation for our annual Back to School Shopping event.
SUMMER: For the tens of thousands of young professionals who call Denver ‘Home’, it is a magical word that conjures up daydreams of parkside barbecues, sun-soaked extended happy hours, and impromptu long weekend adventures against a backdrop of Colorado’s most picturesque peaks and outdoor oases. We flood our calendars with infinite potential plans: a standing weekend brunch spot, a Wash Park kickball league cameo appearance or two, Red Rocks shows, maybe some friends and family coming to visit.
For local school children and their families, these sunny summer months in the Denver Metro Area may represent a very different scene - one full of challenges they are ill-prepared for. The break in consistent, safe supervision of their children, after-school care programs and even regularly provided meals readily available when school is in session can be an incredibly stressful scheduling and financial burden for families that rely heavily on these services. Families must find a way to get by through summer vacation. Someway, somehow. One might think that parents and guardians must breathe a sigh of relief when summer break winds down and the return of the ‘normal routine’ gets closer with the start of a new school year...right? Maybe for some, but unfortunately for a large number of Denver Public School students and families, that’s not the case.
See, some of us may recall a particular age-old rite of passage, a certain prequel to the start of any new school year. You know, that ONE time of year where it is perfectly normal, encouraged even, to totally, completely, and without restraint FLIP.OUT. over new pencils, spiral notebooks, that trendy (read: glittery) new backpack, and any other necessary accoutrements sure to equip you with just as many cool points as the soaring academic success your new trappings will surely deliver. That’s right, it’s Back to School Shopping. Just the thought of a 12-pack of universally-pointed Crayola colored pencils, box still intact and the waiting, blank canvas of that Lisa Frank spiral notebook brings back a feeling of sheer, untapped joy. Every child in school deserves to get that ridiculously excited over school supplies, and yet, thousands of Denver kiddos each school year won’t know the feeling.
Since 2009, RMA 2030 has partnered with Discovery Link, an after-school program offered at 40 sites serving the highest-need Denver Public School students and families, to host the annual summer Back to School Shopping event.
Funded by the Denver Public Schools Foundation, Discovery Link serves more than 17,000 students and families each year, and engages students through a daily, high-quality after-school program providing academic assistance, leadership development, and at least 45 minutes of physical fitness. Each day ends with a hot, nutritious meal provided to Discovery Link students.
A few additional facts about Discovery Link:
- Of the children enrolled in Discovery Link (formerly Fit Fun Literacy), 94 percent qualify for free and/or reduced lunch
- The average household income of a Discovery Link participant family ranges from $34,930-$40,468; Denver’s average household income is $62,760
- This program is run at 12 of the highest-need schools in DPS. Every school has a waiting list due to the high demand for trusted, consistent after-school care and the staggering effects of food insecurity.
- National studies show parents without regular after-school care for their children miss eight more days of work per year than their peers whose children are in regular after-school programs
The stats speak for themselves - the need is high for programs with benefits like Discovery Link. Of the hundreds of children participating in these programs, RMA 2030 is able to treat 100 Denver students to a shopping spree sure to help them feel not only prepped and ready for school to start, but excited for school to be back in session, too.
At the Back to School Shopping event, students ranging from kindergarten to high school are each paired with an RMA member shopping buddy and given a $100.00 budget to shop for uniforms or otherwise school-appropriate clothes and shoes. The kids also receive a backpack full of age-appropriate school supplies to get them started for the school year. Prior to the day of the event, Discovery Link staff provides RMA with a list of school supplies organized by grade level, so that upon students’ arrival, the supply-stuffed backpacks are distributed according to name, grade level, sizes needed, as well as a parent or guardian’s list of requested items. Once the students complete their shopping spree, they are welcome to enjoy a light breakfast and entertainment including face painters, clowns, visit with Denver Broncos’ Mascot, Miles, or explore Denver Fire Department firetrucks with local firemen.
The Back to School Shopping event is an unforgettable day of fun for Denver students who may not otherwise have the means to prepare for the upcoming school year - and YOU can be part of it!
Through RMA’s Back to School Happy Hour, the official kickoff party to BTSS, YOU can help 100 of Denver Public Schools’ Discovery Link kids experience back to school shopping like never before! Returning for its second year, Back to School Happy Hour will take place Thursday, August 3, on the rooftop lounge of Del Frisco’s Grille in Cherry Creek from 5:00-6:30pm (guests are encouraged to hang around later!).
Tickets are $35 online at the early bird rate (through July 21st) or $40 general admission pricing (July 22 and later).
Admission includes 2 free drink tickets and an array of appetizers donated by Del Frisco’s. Guests purchasing tickets online in advance or at the door on the day of the event may choose the level of support included with their regular admission, provided below:
$50 = Provides 1 child with school supplies
$75 = Provides 1 child with school supplies and a new backpack
$100 = Provides 1 child with school supplies, backpack, and a new outfit for school
Back to School Happy Hour is an additional opportunity - open to the public - to fuel the excitement surrounding the Back to School Shopping Spree benefiting 100 Denver students in serious need. Get your early bird tickets while there's still time, and come be part of the fun in raising awareness for the Back to School Shopping Spree!
Back to School Happy Hour
Join the event on Facebook
Thursday, August 3, 2017 from 5:00-6:30pm
Del Frisco's Grille at Cherry Creek
100 St Paul St #140, Denver, CO 80206
Tickets: $35 Early Bird Online (Through July 21) / $40 General Admission (July 22 and later)
RMA 2030 would like to thank Denver Public Schools, Discovery Link, Walmart and Del Frisco's Grille at Cherry Creek for making this event possible!