Reimagine Community

Sitting in my front yard, I listen to the perky birds chirp and the calm breeze blow, as young kids buzz by on their bikes. The sun sheds warm light on the community garden across the street, as the eager nurse arrives at the clinic next door. A single mom of 3 working full time for minimum wage and her neighbor, the successful, single real estate agent, go for their morning walk together. There is a true sense of vibrant community in the air. This is my vision for the future. A community that truly lives life together, and thrives together.

I realize this vision is far from reality. Yet, some communities seem to be on this track. Take the Aria community in North Denver, for example. This development seeks a healthy, and sustainable community through the concept of cohousing. With a focus on the health and wellness of the entire neighborhood, residents are able to thrive together. Housing from affordable to market rate is offered, as a way to be inclusive of the various needs within the neighborhood.

Reading Jonathan Rose’s book The Well-Tempered City, I’m beginning to see not only how we can reimagine community, but also the cities to which many are flocking. His five qualities of a well-tempered city, coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion, all speak into the concepts that make cities a thriving metropolis for all. Above all, I’m learning that creating a thriving community is not an easy task. It takes unwavering commitment and the sacrifice of self for the betterment of the whole.

This brings me to Family Promise of Greater Denver. Being a shelter, we focus heavily on housing. However, this is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to living an abundant, thriving life. In order to create a well-functioning community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, accessibility and inclusion of all are vital. Family Promise seeks to go beyond shelter, offering families a place to thrive. We aim to help people find their voice, and offer a place at the table. This isn’t simple, nor is it straight forward. The work we do is messy, noisy, and even smelly! Yet the reward is SO worth it!

I truly believe that thriving communities and cities are within our reach as a culture. We must all choose to give of ourselves for the good of the whole. And maybe, just maybe, soon I’ll be sitting in the front yard of my own thriving community.

-Allie Card

Executive Director
Family Promise of Greater Denver

One Response to Reimagine Community

  1. I have been a volunteer with Family Promise for over a decade, serving in multiple host congregations. During that time I have observed Interfaith Hospitality Network evolve into Family Promise and become a wiser, more functional organization.

    In my early years of affiliation I felt that key pieces of the puzzle of solving the housing crisis for families experiencing homelessness were missing in IHN. Rigid rules and approaches sometimes undermined families’ efforts at achieving sustainable independent housing. I no longer feel that way. When I walk into the Family Promise Day site I feel a sense of warmth and community. The back yard is a bright and inviting place to play and grow. Guest families are treated with genuine respect, and it’s obvious they feel at home there. I see these changes reflected in the attitudes and heath of the families as they rotate through their temporary home at Unity Spiritual Center of Denver.

    There is so much work to be done to build healthy, sustainable communities in the Denver Metro area. I am so pleased that Allie Card has the vision to have led Family Promise toward creating a microcosm of that dream within the Family Promise organization. Volunteer efforts and committed, compassionate staff and board members have played important roles in helping Family Promise fulfill its’ mission. It is an honor to be a part of something so wonderful!

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