Enriching Denver Summer 2017

Welcome to the quarterly newsletter of the Mental Health Center of Denver. As part of our organization's sustainability efforts, this newsletter is now in electronic format. We hope you enjoy reading about how the Mental Health Center of Denver is enriching our community, and how you can be a part of the important work we are doing.

The Sanderson Apartments- Grand Opening Aug. 24


What is a Trauma-Informed Building?

The idea behind a trauma-informed model of building is that many people experiencing mental health issues have experienced trauma, which is often compounded by the trauma of living on the streets. So we want to minimize the negative effects of this while avoiding re-traumatizing residents as much as possible. This is done by making residents feel safe using wide hallways, long sightlines and plenty of light to increase visibility, just to name a few of Sanderson's trauma-informed features. Once residents feel safe, they can focus on their recovery and well-being.

Opening this summer, the Sanderson Apartments will be the newest and most distinctive supportive housing project for the Mental Health Center of Denver, and Denver in general. Located on the corner of S. Federal Blvd and W. Iowa Ave, the Sanderson Apartments will contain 60 units, providing safe and affordable housing to community members who have been experiencing homelessness and mental health issues.

What is Permanent Supportive Housing?

As homelessness is a significant barrier in achieving mental well-being, Mental Health Center of Denver knows that housing these community members—in a supportive, trauma-informed space—will allow them to focus on recovery and well-being. These apartments will provide safe and affordable housing, and residents will have access to comprehensive supportive services through Mental Health Center of Denver to ensure they have the best possible chance of recovery. Services include case management, peer support, group and individual therapy and access to services and programs at all of our other sites. Residents will also have access to psychiatric therapy, vocational specialists and medical treatment, as well as physical fitness, intellectual well-being and community support. The Sanderson Apartments will feature engagement spaces, including a wellness center, a library, a communal kitchen and recreation room where residents can socialize with one another. Outside will feature front and back patios, an enclosed courtyard, a basketball court, gazebo, community garden and outdoor seating. These features will support residents’ mental, emotional, social and physical well-being, as well as promoting life skills.

Read an article on the Sanderson Apartments' positive implications for taxpayers, published by Novogradac's Journal of Tax Credits.

To schedule a tour of the Sanderson Apartments or give to this important project, contact Lauren Anderson.

Donor Spotlight Q&A

"Friends of Roberta" on a tour of the new Sanderson Apartments.

Roberta and friends on a tour of the Sanderson Apartments. From left: Pam Troyer, Elizabeth Holtze, Michelle Danson, Roberta herself, Cynthia Rasmussen and Hannah Schechter (Board member).

Pamela Troyer, PhD

Why do you give to the Mental Health Center of Denver?
When my good friend Roberta Payne was on the Board, she invited me to several events, and I was amazed by the professional and thoughtful approach to mental illness, especially the emphasis on "recovery." I was immediately impressed by the ingenuity and savvy business and therapeutic creativity of the Mental Health Center of Denver leaders such as Dr. Carl Clark, Dr. Lydia Prado and Ric Durity.  

What (or who) inspires you to give?
I'm a professor at Metro State University Denver and often have wonderful students who are recovering from mental illness and accomplishing their educational dreams. They wouldn't be where they are without community resources such as the ones the Mental Health Center of Denver provides. And certainly, Roberta Payne inspires me from this point of reference as well. As my Latin teacher, she helped me achieve a PhD in Medieval Studies and continues to support me as a writing coach.

What inspires you about what the Mental Health Center of Denver is doing in the community?
The incredible sensitivity to neighborhoods and community. Dr. Prado's outreach to the long-term residents in the neighborhood surrounding Dahlia Campus is a good example. They said they needed dental care for their kids, and Dr. Prado embedded a pediatric dental clinic in the building! This kind of care takes a lot of time and energy and is a noble project.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I'm writing a course book on global history and culture for the years 500 - 1500 for the kind of students I teach. More and more students at MSU Denver are immigrants and refugees. They need to see the history of their native people in classes such as Early World History and Early World Literature. One thing they discover is that people have always been moving from place to place. Historically, they are not alone, and their ancestors have honored migration in their art and literature. The Mental Health Center of Denver also emphasizes the healing effect of knowing one is not alone.

What are your plans for the summer?
I plan to sit in on one of Roberta's writing/art clinics she holds regularly at the Mental Health Center of Denver's Emerson St. for Teens & Young Adults.

Dr. Roberta Payne has been a friend of the Mental Health Center of Denver and a mental health advocate for years. A former board member of the Mental Health Center of Denver, Roberta is adept at bringing people together for a common cause. Through her many friendships, she has brought on new donors and volunteers, inspiring and educating on the importance of mental health and well-being. Roberta is a writer and artist, and works with young artists at the Emerson St. Center for Teens and Young Adults. Three of her friends-- Pam Troyer, Elizabeth Holtze, and Cindy Rasmussen-- donated the Library at Emerson St. and have been generous donors of the Mental Health Center of Denver for years. Here are some of their thoughts on giving:

Elizabeth Holtze

Why do you give, and what inspires you about the work of the Mental Health Center of Denver?
I admire the innovations that the Mental Health Center of Denver brings to their work. Emerson Street is only one example. I applaud the Mental Health Center of Denver's 3-dimensional approach: helping clients with health issues, and housing, and education and job counseling- not just one of these needs.

What (or who) inspires you to give?
Roberta Payne, who has been my dear friend (and fellow medievalist) for three decades.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Free time? Does anybody have free time anymore? But I do make time to cook, read, and play with grandchildren.

What are your plans for the summer?
We have local family plans for the summer. We had a wonderful adventure in March when we spent three weeks on an archeological tour of Egypt.

Cynthia Rasmussen

Why do you give to the Mental Health Center of Denver?
Mental illness affects most of us at some time during our lives. I give to the Mental Health Center of Denver over other mental health organizations because it has a comprehensive plan to improve our community. I like how it believes in recovery.

What (or who) inspires you to give?
Roberta, of course! Roberta generously taught Biblical Greek and Latin to a group at my church, so when she asked me to attend the first Gifts of Hope Breakfast I could not say no. I have remained a donor because of Roberta and because I like how the Mental Health Center of Denver thinks outside the box as evidenced by Emerson St., Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being and now with the Sanderson Apartments. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am deeply concerned about the affects likely changes in Medicaid and federal commitments will have on mental health care.

Become a Mental health Center of Denver donor! Donate online or contact Lauren Anderson, Development Officer.

Dahlia Campus on Colorado Public Radio

The Mental Health Center of Denver's Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being was recently featured on Colorado Public Radio, reported by Jenny Brundin, education reporter. The story focuses on Dahlia Campus' Skyline Academy, a day treatment program which provides mental health treatment and educational services to children whose emotional or behavioral disorders interfere with their ability to be successful in a traditional public school setting.

Our research-based treatment models emphasize character development, social skills and appropriate emotional expression. In addition to educational services, Skyline Academy provides therapy for individual students as well as their families, parenting support and appointments for medication.

Read and listen to the story here.


Photo credit: Colorado Public Radio


Give to support the important work of Dahlia Campus for Health & Well Being or take a tour.

Dahlia Campus Greenhouse: Growing a Community


Weekly Food Box Program

The greenhouse at the Mental Health Center of Denver's Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being is no ordinary greenhouse. Through Colorado Aquaponics, this greenhouse employs a natural, closed-loop fertilization system between fish and plants, so that water isn't wasted and plants are fertilized without harmful chemicals.

In a neighborhood where there is a lack of fresh produce available, the greenhouse provides a source of nutritious fresh greens, herbs and protein.

Click here to watch a video on Dahlia Campus Farms and Gardens.

Community members can subscribe to a weekly food box program and receive a box of salad greens each week.

“It’s a way that we’re making money to support our programs that provide healthy food to people who currently don’t have access to it,” said Jenna Smith, aquaponic farm manager.

During the winter months (October through June), food boxes contain an assortment of lettuce, cooking greens and culinary herbs grown in the aquaponic greenhouse, which operates year-round.

During the farmers market season, (June 21 through October 11), additional vegetables from Sprout City Farm’s soil farm on campus can be added to your salad box. In the future, Dahlia Campus Farms and Gardens partners hope to collaborate with other local suppliers to contribute additional items such as eggs, milk, honey and meat.

There are five boxes to choose from:

  • Salad Box
    • Basic size (feeds 1-2 people): $10
    • Family size (feeds 3-4 people): $20
  • Cooking Greens Box
    • Basic size (feeds 1-2 people): $10
    • Family size (feeds 3-4 people): $20
  • Collards Lover Box
    • Five pounds of collard and a head of lettuce: $10

Click here to place your order!

  • Anyone can purchase a food box at Dahlia Campus on Wednesdays during the Farmers Market from 4 p.m. until sunset. 
  • Anyone wishing to purchase a $10 food box to donate to a family in need in the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood may do so through the food box ordering system called Farmigo. Click here to set up your Farmigo account!

For more information, contact dahliagreenhouse@gmail.com.

Restaurants Sourcing Dahlia Greens

A number of Denver restaurants and markets purchase greens from the greenhouse. Here is a list of these establishments, so that you may enjoy local produce while supporting Dahlia Campus:

  • Ace Eat Serve
  • Adrift
  • Aloy Modern Thai
  • American Grind
  • Annette Scratch to Table
  • Bar Dough
  • Bar Fausto
  • Beast & Bottle
  • Blue Moon
  • Central Bistro
  • Charcoal
  • ChoLon Bistro
  • Chow Morso
  • Comida
  • Denver Permaculture Guild
  • Denver Zoo
  • Frank’s Food Mart
  • Hearth & Dram
  • High Plains Food Co-Op
  • Isabelle Farms
  • Linger
  • Marczyk Fine Foods
  • Mizuna
  • Mondo Market
  • Nocturne
  • SAME Café
  • St. Killians
  • The Plimoth
  • The Populist
  • The Preservery
  • The Regional
  • The Way Back
  • Thump Coffee
  • Vero Italian
  • Vesta
  • Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe

*The greenhouse at Dahlia Campus partners with the GrowHaus for restaurant and retail distribution.

2017 Well-Being Expo a Community Hit


The 2017 Well-Being Expo was a success! Two hundred and forty attendees came to “energize their lives” at the free event held at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale on May 24. Sessions focused on physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being, and included:

  • Tango lessons
  • Healthy cooking
  • Aromatherapy
  • Tai Chi for peace
  • Music for well-being
  • A faith and spirituality panel
  • Immigration rights

Plus much more!

The Community Reception concluding the event featured delicious and healthy food, a raffle drawing, prizes and fun activities. Represented at the event were members of the community, people we serve, volunteers, Board members and donors. Board member Les Wallace gave the keynote address to kick off the Expo. This event energized all who attended, leaving them feeling renewed and refreshed, engaged with their community and with a sense of overall well-being.

Thank you to our supporters: Citywide Banks, Netsmart, Hosting, Rotary Mental Health Initiative, The Colorado Health Foundation, Honest Tea, Sage Hospitality and those who represented their organizations at exhibit tables.

Be a sponsor or exhibitor at next year's Well-Being Expo! Contact Joanne Aiello.

Chef Lindita Torres-Winters and Dr. Carl Clark, CEO, teach healthy cooking
Attendees enjoy a yoga (meditation?) session

13th Annual Voz y Corazón Art Show & Benefit Inspires

Voz Logo

The 2017 Voz y Corazón Art Show & Benefit was held at Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being on Saturday, June 10. Participants in the Voz y Corazón (meaning "Voice and Heart," in Spanish) Suicide Prevention Program displayed and sold the artwork they made in the program. 

A silent auction featured events, outings, jewelry, baked goods and activities for families, as well as fun themed baskets chock full of goodies for bidding.

Some of the highlights of the event include performances and demonstrations from ICON Dance, Canto do Galo Capoeira, Art from Ashes, Denver Women's Chorus' a cappella group Take Note! and Boys & Girls Club Hula Hoop Troop. 

The Voz y Corazón Suicide Prevention Program helps youth build strengths and self-empowerment tools that inspire resilience and prevent suicide. All proceeds from this event go to building capacity of the Voz y Corazón program to serve even more youth in our community and raise awareness about teen suicide. 

See a short video on the program here.


Support the Voz y Corazón program to help empower young people and prevent teen suicide in our community.

Be a Table Host at Gifts of Hope

This year's Gifts of Hope Fundraising Breakfast will be held on November 8, and the theme is Today, Tomorrow, Together. It promises to be a fun and inspiring event focused on innovation and collaboration in our community for the good of mental health and well-being.

Table Hosts make this event possible every year by welcoming their friends, family and colleagues to share an exciting and inspiring breakfast with hundreds of community leaders. It is an easy and impactful way to help raise funds for the vital work that we do in the community.

As one of our most important supporters, we want to invite you to join us as a Table Host this year. Please save the date for our first Table Host Kickoff Event on Wednesday, August 9 to learn more about how easy and rewarding it is to be a Table Host.

Contact Lauren Anderson for more information, or to sign up to be a Table Host.


Other Ways to Get Involved



Donate online or contact Lauren Anderson, Development Officer.


Contact Joanne Aiello and take the volunteer orientation.


Contact Lauren Anderson to schedule a tour of one of our sites.


Board of Directors

Safe Space Logo

Ann Boyd
Ashby West
Debra Demuth
The Colorado Trust
Luis Duarte
Gary Community Investments
Charles Everill, MBA
Retired, Fortune 250 Executive & Entrepreneur
Velvia Garner
Emeritus Member
Nancy Gary, PsyD
Neuro Development Center & Private Practice
Mary Haynes
Daniels Fund

Peggy Kozal, JD
Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani
Marjorie Lewis, PhD, D.Min

Center for Community Excellence and Social Justice
Hannah Schechter, PhD
Rick Simms, CPA
WeeSchool and Personal Financial Specialist
Edie Sonn, MPP
Pinnacol Assurance
Les Wallace, PhD
Signature Resources Inc.
Barbara Yondorf, MPP
Yondorf & Associates