Organizational Activities

From its inception, Open Door was created to fill an urgent community need to build a community-based program that addressed and alleviated the devastating effects of escalating gang activity and violence. In recent years, Open Door has adjusted its focus to a preventive posture in an attempt to address the larger socioeconomic issues that surround the problem of gang violence. Open Door is seriously focused on prevention by providing alternative choices, understanding opportunities, and presenting new realities for a healthier lifestyle for urban youth and gang-affiliated parolees.

By working with at-risk children, Open Door accomplishes its mission by utilizing a combination of in-school and after-school programs, community outreach, and summer programs. Through the implementation of its various sub-programs, elementary-aged children receive intensive tutoring, character education, and recreational programs. Parents receive monthly parenting classes and also participate in home visits.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-09-19-34

Core Open Door Programs

ADULT ORIENTED PROGRAMS

Flippin’ the Script Bridges the Gap Between Release and Realityflippingthescript1

Flippin’ the Script establishes specialized and intensive education, support, and programs to gang-affiliated parolees and inmates in an effort to provide alternatives to gang involvement and ensure successful re-entry into society.

Flippin’ the Script, in conjunction with Colorado Department of Corrections, creates specialized and individualized plans which offer assistance in the areas of housing, employment, job readiness, transportation, money management, mentoring, family relationships, and support systems.

Immediately upon being released, gang-affiliated parolees and inmates face incredible obstacles.  Each program participant receives a specialized and individualized plan to help achieve established, agreed upon goals. Program aspects include;  weekly group sessions, biweekly one-on-one counseling sessions, and telephone conferences to discuss/evaluate progress and offer support. Flippin’ the Script clarifies values to develop a new productive philosophy and life plan for the future.

YOUTH AND FAMILY ORIENTED PROGRAMS

Open Door’s most important goal is to prevent kids from ever joining gangs and therefore has developed successful programs that focus on prevention among elementary-aged children. These programs are tailored for schools, corporations, other non-profit agencies, law enforcement agencies and civic groups. The programs seek to educate as many as possible and are designed to involve all segments of our community in the education of gang-related violence.

Open Door uses a multi-pronged approach to accomplish its goals. Open Door provides awareness, prevention and intervention services to youth, to families and the community. It addresses gang-related issues through the following programs.

Professional Development

Open Door is committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of professionals working with youth and families. Open Door’s multidisciplinary focus emphasizes the need for all professionals working with youth to have a common understanding of complex issues. Training programs are specifically designed to address specific geographical locations, cultural competencies and professional objectives.  Training topics include prevention, intervention, and treatment regarding gangs and other youth sub-cultures, family and youth violence, school failure, trauma/crisis, victimization, as well as community intervention strategies.

ACE -Academic and Character Education Program

Understanding the philosophy that the most effective way to control the growth of gangs in the community is to stop the gang recruitment of potential youth.  The ACE Program is designed to reach out to school children ages 5-14 through daily in-school and after-school programs. Among other things, daily programs address three potential risk factors that have been proven to lead to anti-social behavior:  (1) poor academic skills; (2) lack of pro-social decision-making and attitudes; and (3) lack of adult supervision during high-risk times of the day. During the normal school year, the ACE Program operates at Wyatt Academy K-8 in cooperation with administrators and staff. The ACE program currently offers each student enrolled in the after school program personal counseling and guidance on a one on one basis. Each mentor provides intensive intervention and structure based on each child’s individual needs. With the support and assistance of the Principal and staff of Wyatt Academy; we are supplied with each students’ test scores (Benchmark Test) at the start and end of the school year. Principal Wes also supplies a monthly behavioral report outlining the student’s emotional and behavioral status. This method is combined with a daily accredited educational based curriculum or group based activity. All information is documented into each student’s individual file that outlines and provides proof of their rapid progress and growth. The program provides structured activities and exposure to experiences outside the usual urban environment such as trips to the Mountains, Denver Zoo, Museum of Nature and Science, Art Museum, local universities, and regional parks. The goal is to provide exposure to cultural activities that will expand thinking about future potential and opportunities for them as they grow.

Parent Connection

The Parent Connection includes monthly parent/child support groups and in-home visits. The meetings and visits are intended to assist parents in helping their children to build the skills necessary to prevent participation in gang activities. In addition, group meetings provide an opportunity for parents who are experiencing similar challenges a chance to support, assist one another and solve common problems.

IIR -Intensive Intervention and Redirection Program

The IIR Program mandates the identification of youth that have continually been involved in negative behaviors that have resulted in drastic consequences. These youth are assigned to a Prevention Specialist that work intensively with them and their families in an effort to redirect their anti-social behaviors and attitudes. This is accomplished by the use of effective youth development approaches designed to create more supportive and asset-rich environments that connect these youth to their school communities, engage them in learning, promote their resilience, and reduce their involvement in substance abuse, violence, and other at-risk behaviors.

Youth Outreach Unit

The Youth Outreach Unit acts as the critical link providing support during the difficult times of need, as well as creating a bridge to long-term intervention and support systems. Appropriate crisis intervention to victims and witnesses of violence can be crucial in promoting positive healing and coping skills, as well as diffusing future occurrences of violence.

Responsibilities of the Youth Outreach Unit include:

-Responding to crisis situations

-Monitoring and crowd support at public events

-Follow-up and tracking of youth who have received services

-Assisting with the ACE and IIR Programs

-Family visits

-Group presentations to schools, businesses, and youth facilities

Summer Day Camp and Tetn_ODYGAph4aen Program

The Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives Summer Day Camp and Teen Program will consist of a three-dimensional service to youth and families of children ages, five to eighteen years old living in the northeast Denver community.

Services included:

a) day-long activities for children ages 5 – 12
b) a residential camping experience
c) employment and job training for teens

For more information on getting involved with this program, please call 303-893-4264.

hwThe Daily Program

This program is designed to serve elementary age children who need daycare, supervision and enrichment activities. This particular need has escalated in the past few years due to welfare reform which dictates that parents who receive social assistance must seek employment, attend school, or do both.

The need is further fueled by the number of aging grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren.

The program components include literacy support, spiritual growth, excursions, recreational outings and special events. By providing a well-rounded program, the children develop positive attitudes, experience the world outside of their neighborhood and enjoy a summer full of fun activities, safe from negative influences.

For more information on getting involved with this program, please call 303-893-4264.

revkids2016Youth Resource Unit

The Youth Resource Unit consists of four to six young adults recruited from within the community served by Open Door. The primary function of the unit will be to serve as an extension of the After School and Summer Program reaching out to the families of the children Open Door serves in an effort to identify problems away from school that could lead to gang involvement or other negative activities. They will also be responsible for reaching out and following up on youth that are involved with Open Door but have moved on to middle school.

These resource leaders will have either grown up surrounded by gang activity or have actual experiences in gang involvement and have made admirable progress overcoming these negative influences and in changing their lifestyles.

The Youth Resource Unit will function as a team in order to achieve the programmatic goals set forth by Open Door. All members of the unit will participate in an orientation and training period to ensure that they understand clearly the policies and procedures governing all staff of Open Door. They will also receive training on relationship building and intervention strategies.

All members of the unit will assist with the After School and Summer Programs:

  • They will become acquainted with all of the children in an effort to develop strong relationships and rapport
  • They will do home visits and maintain positive communications between the families
  • Unit members will be available to partner with Rev. Kelly when necessary to stifle potential violence or confrontations
  • They will also serve as monitors for crowd control at special events, such as the Juneteenth celebration and the MLK day parade
  • Lastly, they will partner with Rev. Kelly or other staff members to do group presentations for schools, service clubs, churches, and other venues

For more information on getting involved with this program, please call 303-893-4264.

Public Education

Community Education is provided through speaking engagements to civic organizations, churches, schools, and businesses. Open Door provides educational information for the general public, making at least two presentations per week. The purpose of this program is to increase the awareness of gang activity and solicit assistance in prevention. Presentations made to schools and other youth groups are designed to reduce gang recruitment activities. Former gang members volunteer their time to participate in these prevention activities. One of the goals of this program is to give younger children the information and tools they need to resist the pressures to join gangs and participation in drug-related activities.

Communities experiencing youth issues can access consultation services free of charge. These services assist the community in understanding the issues they are confronting and in accessing available resources.

For more information on getting involved with this program, please call 303-893-4264.

The Cool Cars Program

tn_ODYGAph8bA new focus of Open Door has been the inclusion of the “Cool Cars” Project which includes low-riders, racecars, and racing bikes. Rev Kelly believes that one of the keys to keeping youths out of gangs is to reach them when they’re young and impressionable. “We want to plant the seeds in their lives.” Children of today are into both audio and video entertainment as a way to pacify the voids in their lives. The “Cool Cars” Project exposes the children to the flamboyant world of automobiles and bikes, breaks down barriers and opens up channels of communication.

For more information on getting involved with this program, please call 303-893-4264.