Just 5 minutes from Stapleton, along the Denver/Aurora border on E Colfax is a place called Street Fraternity, or “Street Frat” that you’ve likely never heard of. I didn’t know about it until a friend of mine recently pointed it out to me. Once I learned about what they were up to I wanted to spread the word about this good cause.
Street Frat is a local non-profit that provides a place for 14- 25 year old males in the East Colfax area to hang out in the afternoon and evenings. They are based out of the refurbished basement of the Disabled American Veterans building and you’d never even know they were there if you drove by because it’s such a nondescript building.
The organization is a place of brotherhood and personal growth for urban young men. 90% of participants are former refugee young men from Bhutan/Nepal, Burma/Thailand, and countries of East, Central and West Africa. Many languages are spoken there. It’s a place where young men voluntarily choose to hang out in a ping pong room, library, meditation/prayerful room, aggressive/workout room, computer room, music studio, and a kitchen (they serve dinner free Mon- Thurs every week!.)Without places like this these young men often have nowhere to go or nothing constructive to do…and you know that doesn’t end well. Gangs and drugs are still a very real problem and for some of these young men they are a real temptation.
The afternoons and evenings are pretty unstructured at Street Frat, which I think fits well with the lives of the young men that go there. You don’t have to go all the time, you just pop in when you want and hang out as long as you want.
The organization was started in early 2013 and so far it’s been very successful, with 30 -50 young men stopping by per night! Many of them come all the time, making this a home away from a home which is exactly the point! Yoal Ghebremeskel, the Executive Director and only paid staff member, is there every day to insure the young men are fed and are following the house rules. While I was there getting the tour he would yell a greeting to everyone who came in and it’s clear he tries to know each young man and their situation individually.
This is just another example of a great organization in our area that we, as Stapleton residents, could potentially support. As I’ve said before, we’re blessed in Stapleton and I think we have the obligation to help others who could use a hand. I don’t say this to give you a guilt trip, (I know that many of you are doing more than I am in terms of volunteering your time or donating your money) I just bring it to your attention because it’s such a good cause so close to home.
I know we’re all busy and stressed and it’s tempting to say I have no time to help. But when I compare my “stress” to the situation of one of these 15 year old refugees living in a foreign country, trying to adjust to the culture, trying to learn the language and trying to fit in my stresses seem pretty silly. I don’t know about you but at that point in life I struggled with figuring out who I was and how I fit in socially and I didn’t even have any of the challenges these kids face as low income refugees in a new country?
So how can we help Street Frat in their mission of helping young men in the East Colfax area?
• Volunteer or Mentor. Do you have a skill you teach? Could you be a mentor to some of these kids to help them through some of their challenges? I bet if you talked to Yoal, the Executive Director, he could use your skills and knowledge!
• Donate. Street Frat has 30-50 kids come through on average per night, many of which eat a free meal. In addition to the food costs there have rent to pay, utilities to pay and Yoal’s salary to pay. Any donations are welcome, click here to donate.
• Provide food or Cook. Like to cook? To keep cost down most of the meals are rice based and meals with meat are a rare occasion.
I’m sure they’d love some help cooking or even dropping off occasional food.
To inquire about helping out or learning more about Street Frat you can contact Yoal Ghebremeskel at email@example.com or (720) 227-7317. You can also check out their website at streetfraternity.org.
Joe Phillips | Synergy Real Estate Team | (720) 545-9003 | firstname.lastname@example.org