Hi, I’m Shanelle, the EcoMama, and I’m on a mission to help my community. I want to help families find resources in and around the Denver Metro area to ensure that they get the most bang for their buck while also being as environmentally friendly as possible. My journey started around 10 years ago when I had my first baby and couldn’t work due to severe morning sickness. I realized that if I was going to provide for myself and this little baby, I would need some support.  Besides enrolling in federal assistance programs, I came to Growing Home, where I was able to stock up on food from their Food Pantry. I also enrolled in their Seedlings classes to learn how to cope with adverse childhood experiences and how protect my child from toxic stress.  From there, I went on the hunt to find more resources in my community and have since compiled an extensive list of places that I would like to share with others who may be feeling some financial strain.  Here are my top four tips: 

Growing Home

I first heard about Growing Home when I needed a place for myself and my baby to stay while I got back on my feet. I tried to enter Growing Home’s temporary shelter program, Canopy, but it ended up not being a good fit at the time.  However, I still managed to stay connected to Growing Home through their Food Pantry when I needed a little extra assistance.  After becoming familiar with Growing Home, I enrolled in their Seedlings classes, which teach new and expecting mothers how to deal with toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences so that they can better take care of themselves in order to be better parents.  After completing Seedlings not once but twice, I signed up for their Collaborative Coaching program so that I could map out where I want my and my family’s lives to go.

Joyful Journeys

Joyful Journeys does many things for the community.  They provide a wide range of services, from workout classes for adults and children, to music lessons, to professional development.  They also have a “Buck-A-Bag” event that allows people to fill up a bag of clothes for only $1.  Check out their website to see all the other resources they offer that may help enrich your family.

A Precious Child

I received a voucher for A Precious Child from Growing Home after attending Seedlings classes in 2018.  Although I have only used this resource for a little over a year, they have been a huge help for my family.  With a voucher from Growing Home, or another Precious Child partner, you can visit up to 3 times a year by making a planned appointment.  During your appointment you can shop for clothing, sports equipment, home décor, and much more.  They also offer case management and other resources for families in crisis.  During certain times of the year they do special events like back to school drives, holiday gifts, and blanket sets for your children.  Please check out their website to get more information about their community events.

Once Upon a Child

The last resource I want to talk about is Once Upon a Child.  They are a local second-hand clothing store with multiple locations throughout the Denver metro area. They sell low-cost, gently used clothing and other items for children (up to age 16) and babies.  You can also sell your gently used clothing to them, either for cash or store credit plus an extra form of store credit called Baby Bucks.  This is helpful not only in offsetting the cost of continuously buying clothes, but in reducing clothing waste and adding an extra form of income as well.  They have tons of options for child-related purchases, meaning that it can be a one-stop-shop for many of your family’s needs.

These are just a few of the resources that I have come across in the Denver Metro area and have utilized since starting my journey. Because Growing Home can’t provide for everyone’s needs, I hope that this list of resources can serve you as well as they have served me. Please share these resources with your friends and family and remember that there is always help out there, we just need to work together to help each other find it!