DENVER -- The big, white van sitting in the BeyondHome parking lot might look a little worn and used, but it is filled with love.
"It's not the best. It's not the prettiest. But it does the job," said Karen Allen, the executive director of BeyondHome. "It gives kids the opportunity to go out and see things that they wouldn't ordinarily be able to see and have experiences that truly will enrich their lives going forward."
The 1998 Ford van has 133,227 miles clocked on the odometer. Those miles were used to transport excited kids to and from educational and enriching events around the Denver area.
"We will go to the Denver Science Museum, the Art Institute, Waterworld, swimming pools, putt putt golf, and a mixture of things for fun and enrichment in their lives," Allen said. "This van is an opportunity for kids to have the experiences that they need to broaden their horizons to know what's possible."
BeyondHome is a transitional living community, giving parents and children the opportunity to build out of poverty or difficult circumstances to achieve their life's goals. The van was a part of that plan, offering children an opportunity to see some of Colorado's most treasured attractions for themselves.
"Our kids are coming from either homelessness, or on the brink of homelessness," Allen explained. "This van gives us the opportunity to take our kids out on enrichment activities and fun things in the summertime."
But those opportunities came to a halt in May, just as the summer was getting started. A pair of thieves stole the van's catalytic converter rendering the vehicle useless for two months. Two months and more than $5,000 later, the van was returned to BeyondHome on August 4.
"Five-thousand dollars out of our budget that we did not plan for. And that takes away from our programming," Allen said. "Our youth program, our case management, our intensive counseling program. All because someone wanted some metal off of a catalytic converter."
Thieves also stole a catalytic converter from another car on the property. BeyondHome helped the owner pay for a new car for the owner as well. The money came from their planning budget. Now, their enrichment programs are on pause.
"So we don't really have opportunity between now and the start of school to do the kind of programming that we have done in the past," said Allen. "Without the opportunities, they don't have that vision, they don't have that dream of what is possible."
Organizers hope to raise money for their fall programming to bring back some of the enriching activities for the kids once again. You can help by clicking here or in the widget below and selecting "Help for BeyondHome Transitional Housing" in the donation drop-down.
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