15591658_1152783444802199_4441980392309612120_oA Little Help is a Colorado nonprofit connecting neighbors to help seniors thrive. You may have seen yard signs around the neighborhood with our blue house logo and the A Little Help name. Ten years ago, A Little Help began as Washington Park Cares with the mission of helping seniors stay in their homes. Washington Park Cares was the dream of a few neighbors living in the neighborhoods around their park. Bill and Pera Beth Eichelberger were in the eighties at the time and had read about a few organizations around the country that were dedicated to aging in place by neighbors helping neighbors. The Eichelbergers’ diligence and passion helped attract more and more neighbors who began giving senior neighbors rides to appointments and gathering for community-building social events. After five years, a board led by other Washington Park neighbors like Bob Brocker, Len Hierath, and Bill Hummel decided it was time to hire a full-time Executive Director. As I researched the Executive Director job announcement and the organization, I soon discovered that some of the eldest members of the organization were folks in Washington Park that I had delivered the Rocky Mountain News to as a twelve year old (I’ve lived within two miles of Washington Park almost all my life). I saw names like Carlson, Smith, Adams, and Rollert that I had known from my earliest days as a child on the 1100 block of South Williams. It seemed to me at the time that even though the job wasn’t the biggest or brightest, it was the best one for me. Washington Park Cares was serving my people, my tribe, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time and energy. As a child, I attended the now dearly departed Washington Park Elementary and Byers Junior High schools, and am a proud graduate of South High. My second week on the job, I visited with Evelyn Smith, a member in her nineties I had grown up two doors down from. She made sure I knew that my mother, who had passed 15 years earlier, would be proud of me and would prefer I shaved my beard.

Not long after I started with Washington Park Cares, we became A Little Help. Our new name came from our determination to serve more than just a few neighborhoods and from listening to our seniors who said they didn’t need a lot of help, but sometimes needed a little help. A Little Help is now connecting neighbors and providing services throughout Denver proper, Jefferson County, Chaffee County, and the North Fork Valley. However, Washington Park will always be where we started, where our longest-standing members and volunteers reside, and where I grew up.

I am excited about the new Urban Life Wash Park magazine and the opportunity it gives me to connect with my childhood neighborhood on a monthly basis. I plan on using this as an ongoing opportunity to let the people of the Washington Park neighborhoods know about volunteer opportunities and meaningful ways to connect with neighbors of all ages the way folks in our community have done for more than a century. Please visit alittlehelp.org for more information and feel free to contact me at paul@alittlehelp.org if you have any questions.

 

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