October 30, 2014 marked another significant milestone for the Mental Health Center of Denver. Carl Clark, MD, president and CEO, Lydia Prado, PhD, vice president of Child & Family Services and Forrest Cason, PhD, vice president and CFO were joined by elected officials and more than 200 community members to celebrate the groundbreaking of our newest site, Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being.
Stedman Elementary 5th graders welcomed guests by playing drums and xylophones, providing a festive backdrop as people decorated clay tiles and surveyed the site plan. Guests listened to Senator Mike Johnston and Mayor Michael Hancock speak about de-stigmatizing mental health services and their delight that the old Dahlia Square grounds will be revitalized. Lifetime neighborhood resident and prominent child advocate, Anna Jo Haynes, welcomed Mental Health Center of Denver to the neighborhood and shared the story of the Masai warriors, encouraging everyone to measure a community’s health by the well-being of its children. The fifth graders recited a poem they wrote, inspired by the hopes for the campus.
Located on 4 acres of land at 3401 Eudora Street in Northeast Park Hill, Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being will promote health and well-being across the life span by cultivating strong minds, healthy bodies and caring connections. It will include a wide range of programs and services including dentistry, preschool, outpatient mental health services, and parent supports. The campus will feature an urban farm, greenhouse, teaching kitchen, training room, play spaces, and a gym to facilitate healthy eating, playing and learning.
The crowd waited in anticipation as the ceremony concluded with the unveiling of the name by Denver Mayor Hancock, Dr. Prado and several Stedman schoolchildren. Dr. Clark and Dr. Prado were also joined by several dignitaries to lift the traditional first shovel of dirt. Construction is slated to begin in November with the campus opening in Fall 2015.
Poem written by Stedman Elementary 5th Grade Class
There was once empty land, then people began to plan
People driving by, they’ll see the swaying windows of the sea;
Trustworthy upon us.