Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wartburg West Experience by Miranda Fadden

For anyone who wants to experience a bigger city but maybe cannot handle NY or DC, Denver is the place to come! Denver has been filled with many great opportunities. Last Monday, I got the chance to shadow Faith Winter who is currently running for a seat in the House of Representatives. Over the course of the semester I will be helping with her campaign and getting an inside look as to what comprises a campaign. On Monday, we started out by going to a luncheon in honor of Wendy Davis, a current Senator for Texas. Davis has become a rock-star in the political world. Winter introduced Davis and following several speeches, Winter took me around and introduced me to various up and coming new women in politics.

After the luncheon, I went back to Winter’s house and I got to work directly on her campaign. She writes thank-yous to everyone who personally donates to her campaign. After seeing the more glamorous side of politics by meeting Davis I was also able to see the not so glamorous side of writing many, many thank-yous. It has to be done though to make for a good campaign so it was nice to see the different sides. Next we went to the city council meeting for Westminster, in which Winter is currently a member. The meeting was considered a study session where ideas were being discussed to see where the council should go next. The meeting was very long but interesting because I hadn’t known much about what city councils do. They discussed many issues/projects such as whether or not cell phones should be permitted in the courtroom to the new rail-station that will be built in Westminster.

By getting the chance to shadow someone like Faith Winter, it allowed me to broaden my experience here in Denver as well as broaden my knowledge base. I am interested in pursuing a career in science and health care and therefore never really knew much about politics and what it really takes to be a woman in politics. After having only one day with Winter in the political world, I can now say that I want to know more. Without the time spent working on a campaign such as this one I may have never become interested in politics.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Going West by Valentina Jordan

It past the half way mark of the semester, the snow is melting, and graduation is just around the corner. It seems surreal that my Denver experience is coming to its end, the city life and all of the perks that come from being one of the few in the amazing crew. For me, my Denver experience was more than  I was expecting, more than the social activities, events, and freedom that come with being in a metropolis. It was the sense of “real life” and the awakening that not everything will always be like it has been in the past four years of my Wartburg career. Life does not start at 7:45 am, with a chapel time, and 10 minutes in between events. There is no complaining, or looking for ways to change our schedule just so it fits the best of our social and personal needs. It has been through my Denver experience that I have started a reality that both our school and family have prepared us for throughout our lives.  It has taken years of trial and error to get to this point, a point in which we have to trust our past, and believe in our dreams in order to start fighting for what we believe in. I would be lying if I said that the never-ending activities, restaurants, bars, concerts, and even snowboarding ( agh this one is hard) are the highlight of my time with Wartburg West. It has been my internship and how I have been able to take the next step towards becoming a professional. Meeting people that believe in my abilities and trust my professional judgment has allowed to to gain self confidence and realize that we are by now so ready to take this first step into life. I am by now convinced that Wartburg West was the best transition for me, and my career.

My Experience by Levie Zummak

 My experience at Wartburg West thus far has been nothing short of amazing. I was a little skeptical at first coming out here leaving my family and close friends behind, but so far I have loved my student-teaching placement and have enjoyed my time outside of the classroom as well. The weather here has been fantastic, the other students and faculty in the program has been supportive and kind people and I’m getting to meet alumni that represent the true beauty and integrity of Wartburg College.

My student-teaching placement at East Denver High School has been challenging, yet thrilling at the same time. Teaching at a true inner-city school is something that I would have never been able to do back in Northeast Iowa and I’m grateful for the opportunity. At East, I get the chance to work with students struggling with math and focus on building my math communication and classroom management skills.

Although I’m at the half-way point of my time here in Denver, it feels like I just arrived last week. I love Denver and I love this program and I highly encourage any Wartburg student that is the slightest bit interested to come out here and experience everything for yourself!   

Monday, February 3, 2014

Big Impact for Brady Van Sickle

This past week I helped volunteer with the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative “Point in Time” Survey. Of all the things that I have done so far in Denver, this has had the biggest impact on me as a person. While doing the survey I sat down with a lot of great people that were going through a rough time in their life. I learned a lot about the varying reasons that cause a person to find themselves without a home, and it got me thinking about how easily it can happen to anyone.

The other thing that had a big impact on me was how positive almost everyone was. Being without a place to call home is probably the hardest thing a person can experience, and for the most part everyone I talked to were fairly positive, and highly optimistic. It just taught me a valuable lesson about finding joy in the hard times, and being appreciative of what you have because nothing in life is a guarantee.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Experiences in Denver with Admirable People by Chelsea Brown

I match stride with my supervisor walking next to me, while gazing above at the colossal white building with symmetrical pillars which is our destination. We reach the front door, ring the bell, and are allowed to enter. After signing in and receiving nametags, we head to the counseling center for a meeting full of concerned and dedicated parents and employees. This impressive building is actually a public school placed in the near northeastern area of Denver. The Cole Arts & Science Academy, known by the students, parents, and teachers as CASA, currently provides opportunities for 540 preschool through eighth grade kids.
However, when looking at the numbers more closely, you will find that the statistics transform into an animated portrayal of life in this neighborhood. Approximately 93% of the kids attending CASA receive Free and Reduced Lunch, 94% of the kids are minorities, and 50% are English Language Learners. These high percentages describing students at CASA reveal only a glimpse of the realities they face; yet it shows that these kids deal with more stress and obstacles than I have ever experienced in my small hometown in rural Iowa.
The outward appearance of this school is grand and elaborate, representing both the hope of a well-fought-for education and the despair of challenges faced by the students inside struggling to overcome the barriers put up by poverty, discrimination, and stigma.
You may be thinking that I am being overly dramatic; however, I feel that the amount of emotion that I put behind words can never present the actuality of the situation in Denver. The community members I have met through my internship would want me to tell their story with the same pain and passion expressed in the struggle of their everyday lives. Not because they want to be felt sorry for, but because they want to fight for change for their families and communities.
At my internship at Together Colorado I have seen a lot of diversity, fear, tears, and unjust situations. I have also seen incredible strength, hope for changed situations, and powerful new ideas. The most important thing I have learned thus far as a community organizer is this: it is our job to listen as a fellow human being and to encourage and empower.

(Statistics found from

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Adventures Bring New Opportunities by Katie Reinhardt

The first week has almost come to a close here in Denver and I would have to say it has been a success. As I begin my internship placement at Comedy Works, I have so much to look forward to. I know the time will fly by while we are busy with schoolwork, internships, and exploring the city. The first couple days were a little overwhelming; all I could think about was that I will be living and working in this city for almost four months! Wow! What a change it is from small town Waverly, where I have lived all of my life. Since being here for two weeks now, I have begun to feel more at home. Thank goodness!

Denver is said to be a place with many opportunities that bring many different people together. As I walk down the streets, I have noticed that there are an abundance of homeless people asking for money while locals and tourists walk right on by. It just goes to show that there are so many different lives being lived here, from poor people to middle income to the wealthy. It is all here. That is what I find interesting about this city is that you can literally find whoever from block to block. One might say that Colfax, the street we live on is one that you don’t want to travel by yourself; I would say it is one of those streets where you can find everything; modern buildings, dirty parts, poor stores, etc. Just walking this street truly opens my eyes to what else is out in the world that I have been na├»ve to.

I am so excited to what this experience here in Denver will teach me. I am ready for new adventures and new opportunities that will help me grow as a student and person. Bring it on Denver!

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Denver Synagogue by Summer Anderson

            Recently, Rachel and I attended BMH-BJ: The Denver Synagogue. We arrived a little before 9:00 a.m. because that’s when the service started. We found it a little odd that it was just a few others and us. A Layperson, someone that is like a deacon, came to us because he could tell we were not Jewish and informed us that most of the congregation doesn’t show up until 9:30-10:00, but he, Jay, was very willing to help us learn about what went on during the Shabbat service. He described the siddur, which is a book that contains the prayers that are recited during the service and the chumash, which contains the five books of Moses.
Jay had one of the synagogue’s teachers sit by us and explain what was happening during the service. She also gave us a tour of the synagogue and showed us where they have the traditional services with men and women seated on separate sides and the classrooms where the children spend their time during the services.
Jay invited us to read the nation’s prayer in front of the congregation, so Rachel went up and read it and did a great job. It was very nice of him to ask us to do that. He also let us look at the Torah when it was being read, which was very fascinating. He explained that they have to insure the Torah for thousands of dollars, because they are all handwritten with duck quills and it takes almost a year to finish one.
My favorite part of the service was when the Cantor sang the prayers. Jay informed us that he was a Holocaust survivor and that they had several in the congregation. Cantor Zach was actually retired, but the present Cantor was on vacation. The prayers were all sung in Hebrew and it was very beautiful. He was also the cutest old guy ever!

The Denver synagogue is the largest conservative synagogue, not the only one in Denver by far.