A Year-Long Project: Project Homeless Connect

“Project Homeless Connect was the most inspiring event of humanity that I have been part of in a while. We need more compassion and acceptance in our world today, and being at the event reminded me of all I have and all I can give to others. Thanks to everyone who organized and was a huge to small part of this tremendously valuable event!”

This quote from one of our 35 ACC volunteers at Project Homeless Connect says it all.

Sponsored on November 15, 2018 by Mile High United Way, Denver’s Road Home, and the City and County of Denver, over 750 volunteers helped connect those in need to an array of offerings, ranging from ID services, housing information, resume workshops, haircuts, legal assistance, and various healthcare service—like massage and diabetes testing—to specific help for veterans, children, and pets. Plus, 157 people were offered jobs on the spot. ACC is proud to have been a provider and sponsor for this remarkable event, each of us becoming more educated about homelessness, as well as better understanding issues of diversity since culture, race, age, learning and physical challenges, gender, sexual orientation, and religion were all represented in one day.

On that sunny, unseasonably warm, 60-degree day, ACC helped our most vulnerable population access much-needed resources to become self-sufficient for themselves and their families. But this annual, one-day event—open to people of all ages who are experiencing homelessness or facing housing instability—did not begin and end on November 15.

Beginning back in Fall 2017, ACC’s Service Learning Center began collaborating with Phi Theta Kappa, Student Life, our Library, and various other departments to collect 1,000 coats for the Fall 2018 event. We fell short of our coat count, but our community did step up, and generous students, staff, and faculty donated 450 coats right up to the night before the event took place.

Phi Theta Kappa students Savannah Lewis-Sweed, Carli Rodriguez, Josephine Thibodeau, and Ryan Holmes.

Phi Theta Kappa students Savannah Lewis-Sweed, Carli Rodriguez, Josephine Thibodeau, and Ryan Holmes.

It was quite daunting to collect and store hundreds of coats for two and a half semesters, but it was worth it to know some of our teachers were planning worthwhile Service Learning assignments for their students. Dina Hornreich’s Interpersonal Communication student, Rachel Anderson, and Karen Rojenko’s Nursing student, Josh Mickelson, spent time volunteering at our ACC Coat Table at the event by showing up at 7:30 a.m. to help set up and staying through the morning to hand out coats while learning about the many families looking to stay warm this winter. Chris McKellip’s AAA assignment focused on Service Learning, helping Jonathan Rumley and Carol Capuano learn first-hand about the homeless situation by guiding guests through the many services offered, while Tamara Haynes, being a licensed cosmetologist, adorned 15 guests by cutting their hair.

ACC students Rachel Anderson and Josh Mickelson

ACC students Rachel Anderson and Josh Mickelson

If collecting and storing hundreds of coats was a task, how did we plan to get them to the Denver Convention Center 10 miles north of ACC? That was easier than realized, knowing how helpful and collaborative our departments are across campus. Brendan Bieker and Adrian Medina from our Facilities Department drove us and our dozens of trash bags filled with coats of all sizes in two enormous pick-up trucks to the event center in the middle of afternoon traffic—and back—with no complaints at all.

Loading up the ACC coat donations the day before the event. Pictured are Brandon Bieker, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, and Adrian Medina

Dropping off the ACC coat donations the day before the event. Pictured are Brandon Bieker, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, and Adrian Medina

But at 10 a.m. on November 15, it was show time, so we had to have our coat area set up and ready for the more than 1,400 guests who would soon be arriving at our table, planning for another Colorado winter. Good thing a small group of our volunteers entered the event center nearly three hours earlier that morning energized because we needed a lot of time to tear apart those bags and organize the coats neatly in sections on our 24 tables for men, women, and children—along with a miscellaneous items’ table of hats, gloves, and even t-shirts. We instantly knew we had more tables than coats, but then we introduced ourselves to Linda and her staff of three from Coats for Colorado who brought another 750 coats. We also worked also alongside Juanita from Servicios de la Raza and two friendly folks from Home Aid Colorado who dispensed 1,000 pairs of socks. We even gave away over 20 of those plastic bags that originally held the coats—without rips or holes—to some guests asking for ways to store their new coat or socks or whatever else they were procuring for themselves.

English and Literature faculty Juliet Hubbell and Assistive Technology Specialist for Student Access Services Enrique Castro Franco volunteered at ACC’s Coat Table. Their blue volunteer t-shirts tell guests that they are bilingual.

ACC Library and Learning Commons Director Lisa Chestnut and eLearning Specialist Cherri LaMarr volunteered at the ACC Coat Table

ACC’s Workforce and Community Programs staff volunteered at the ACC Coat Table. Pictured: Kelly Locascio, Amber Toliver, Julie Beggs, Anthony Silio, and Shao Yeung

But serving the community while hearing people’s stories about living in Denver without a place to call home is more than supplying coats to those in need. Brad Bartholomew, a member of our photography faculty, incorporated a unique and valuable Service Learning project for his class by bringing 12 students out to their own booth so they could learn to take high-quality portraits and communicate with the public. Brad had this to say: “We had a wonderful and positive experience. I had many students say that it was one of the most positive things they have ever done. They thanked me for getting them involved. I set it up, but they did all the work. We were all proud to represent ACC as we helped our neighbors.” And ACC was not alone in educating students about poverty and inequity, as Regis University’s Service Learning students worked the Welcome area to pair up volunteers with over 1,400 guests that day.

ACC Photography professor Brad Bartholomew and his Commercial Photography students

ACC’s Portrait Studio at Project Homeless Connect

Humans were not the only ones receiving care and support that day. Quite a few dogs—small and large—were getting checkups and immunizations, picking out toys and snacks and bags of food, taking time to be petted by volunteers representing non-profit animal shelters, and even getting baths. And one or two got to have their portraits taken by Brad’s students while posing with on their humans’ laps.

Some dogs accompanied their humans to Project Homeless Connect this Fall 2018

By 3 o’clock, the event was over and people were meandering out the door with smiles and new outlooks on life. At our now-empty coat tables, the remaining five volunteers had only three coats left that Servicios de la Raza—which serves as an integral chamber in the heart of Metro Denver’s Latinx community—took with them for their upcoming Thanksgiving event.

Reflecting back on the event just a few weeks after it ended, it felt good to leave knowing so many people that we live alongside in our communities would be warm this winter, because in spite of the balmy temperatures we had for the event, a big cold front with lots of snow was heading towards Denver in the next few days. It was also sad to think so many individuals, especially the children and dogs we saw, needed to have those resources in the first place and couldn’t simply spend that day nestled in their own, safe homes. Sometimes, we take what we have for granted, but it’s good to know we can help again in other areas of support next year. Any ideas? See you next Fall at Project Homeless Connect 2019!

ACC Service Learning Center Coordinator/Communication faculty Diana Hornick and Math faculty Heidi Barrett

by Diana Hornick and Josie Mills

Service Learning at Project C.U.R.E.

Front of Project C.U.R.E. Denver Warehouse

Front of Project C.U.R.E. Denver Warehouse

Entrance to Project C.U.R.E.

Entrance to Project C.U.R.E.

I learned so much during my time at Project C.U.R.E. I discovered how much I enjoyed being out in the community. I was skeptical at first because it was the first time I had done something completely by myself without taking someone with me. I ended up liking going in alone. It allowed me to open up to others, which meant the most to me. I realized how much I genuinely cared about my community and being an active member. Although it was a little intimidating at first because many of the volunteers were already established, they made me feel a sense of belonging and answered every single question I had. I found that I am an effective communicator when I focus and try to understand what the task means on both macro and micro levels of society. Being a part of something bigger than myself allowed me to see the bigger picture and look at why the others were volunteering and why this work meant so much to them.

“Mid-sorting” table inside Project C.U.R.E. Warehouse

Warehouse full of medical supplies waiting to be sorted or shipped

“Dual-sorting” area where items are sorted again.

I worked with Michelle for my first experience service learning at Project C.U.R.E. in the “mid-sort” section of the warehouse. This station was dedicated to determining what we need to keep from the medical supplies donated to Project C.U.R.E. from medical offices. Since many of the items may not be used in the countries that may not need them or they do not have access to electricity we ended up throwing away many supplies. Michelle had been volunteering at the organization every Wednesday for the past year. She’s a retired nurse who knew how to effectively communicate with someone like me who had never volunteered before or knew what any medical supplies were when we sorted through everything. Michelle’s communication skills helped me focus and work on my communicating and listening skills.

“Kits for Kids” medical kits are assembled in this area

She gave me the confidence to make decisions regarding things that I thought were acceptable to keep without asking. All the volunteers at Project C.U.R.E showed me how selfless my community is and how the work being done is just as important as interacting with others in the community. I saw the same volunteers every Wednesday at the time. I now understand why they do it and I will be back to help because of the positive experiences I had there.

“Mid-sort” boxes on pallets prepared for sorting

Wall that tells people what trash is. There are so many items donated that cannot be used.

Boxes that have been sorted through and others that need to be sent out.

During my experience service learning at Project C.U.R.E, I learned that I am a better communicator than I had initially thought. I went into the situation with something I wanted to work on such as listening and showing people I am listening attentively. It all came so naturally when we all started talking and asking questions about the work and each other which brought us together. Being in an environment where I wasn’t afraid to ask for help showed me how my community supported me and others they had never met before.

by Leah Buchart, ACC Student

ACC Distinguished Faculty 2018-2019 Profile: Dawn Viola

Dawn ViolaDepartment
Interior Design

Years teaching at ACC
13

Total number of years teaching
16

Undergraduate degree
BA Studio Arts – University of Colorado

Graduate degrees
Master of Architecture, University of Colorado; Master of Science, Construction Management with an emphasis in Historic Preservation.

Professional awards & published work
As ACC’s NKBA Coordinator (National Kitchen & Bath Association), our program has won national awards for program of excellence eight times and our students have placed nationally in the student design competition nine times.

Current committee work
Perkins committee

Fun fact about me
I couldn’t decide between teaching Art and going into architecture upon graduating with my undergraduate degree. I chose architecture but ended up teaching design – I guess I found a way to do both

My most memorable moment at ACC
I am hoping it will be the June 2019 Study Abroad trip to Italy. I can’t wait to explore the architecture and interiors with my students!

Congratulations, Dawn Viola, one of ACC’s Distinguished Faculty for 2018-2019!

My Experience at Dumb Friends League

Lily - Denver Dumb Friends League dogThis is Lily! She was a puppy that I cared for when I first started volunteering. I bonded with her throughout the weeks and ended up adopting her! I adopted her on my 3rd day volunteering and she is now 10 months!

Dumb Friends League play roomThis was one of the playrooms that the dogs got to play in. As you can tell, I took a lot of interest in Lily. Sometimes we allowed dogs to play together so they get to bond. I got to monitor them to make sure nothing happened. This was always fun and exciting to watch!

Angel - pitbull mixThis is Angel! He is a pitbull that I learned to love and adore! He is the sweetest puppy I have ever met. He loved to play fetch and tug a war. Everyone has this idea that pitbulls are these scary and dangerous dogs. I am a 5’3, 110-pound teenager and I couldn’t have felt safer with Angel.

Someone I worked with was a gal named Alex. She was such a bright and happy soul. She helped me learn throughout this experience. She has been working here since 2012 and is now a leader here. She has adopted 3 dogs and 2 cats (yay!) here. She and her fiance, Ryan, take some of the dogs on hikes and walks when they have free time. the location I volunteered was surrounded by mountains and fun hikes (for humans and the dogs!).

Another person I met was Amanda. She was a teenager who volunteered on the weekends. She has been volunteering here for the past 4 months and has learned a lot. She helped “mentor” me here and help me get the hang of things quickly. She first volunteering for a school project but fell in love with it and has continue to volunteer (like me!).

Something I learned about my community was how well we work together. When we volunteer together, we are able to achieve great things. A task that would’ve taken 3 hours only took an hour with extra volunteers. Something else I learned about our community is some people are awful! Throughout my volunteering, I saw too many abused dogs. We had to care many dogs back to health and watch them learn to trust and love again. It was extremely tough for me to see animals in that condition. I have always been an animal lover and seeing dogs abused and crying, really took a toll on me. Throughout my couple months of volunteering, I was able to see the struggles they face at a simple yet intense shelter.

Something I learned about myself is I am such a shy person! I have always been a shy person. I’ve been at my job for 3 years and I totally forgot how scary it is to start at a new place! I was awfully shy when I first started. Once I met someone around my age that I could connect with, I started to open up a little more. I learned that I’m a great listener and communicator while I volunteered. I listened extremely well to instructions and the commands that needed to be done. After I got the hang of it, they started to have me help new people. I wasn’t in charge, whatsoever, but I was able to help the new volunteers when they needed it! This was truly an honor because I was able to master and help a shelter that truly impacted people and animals!

by Hannah McNeese, ACC Student

ACC Distinguished Faculty 2018-2019 Profile: Denice Pardee

Denice PardeeDepartment
Accounting, both as a faculty member and program chair.

Years teaching at ACC
14; I was a part-time instructor for nine years and have been full-time faculty for the last five.

Total number of years teaching
I have been teaching for 14 years. Teaching is my second career; my first – for over 15 years – was in financial management at various healthcare organizations in Colorado.

Undergraduate degree
BS, Accounting, MSU Denver.

Graduate degree
MS, Health Administration, CU Denver

Professional honors & credentials
Leadership Academy, 2015-16; Master Teacher, 2017; Distinguished Faculty, 2018-19.

Current committee work
Outside of ACC: member of American Accounting Association (AAA), Teachers of Accounting at Two-Year Colleges (TACTYC) and Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). At ACC: Professional Development Advisory Board, Faculty Senate Executive Team, Workload Committee and Peer Review Committee.

Fun fact about me
My favorite color is purple. For those that know me, this is no surprise.

My most memorable moment at ACC
When my students visit to inform me about a new job, a job promotion or how they’re doing at a four-year university. Hearing about my students’ success is why I teach at ACC.

Congratulations, Denice Pardee, one of ACC’s Distinguished Faculty for 2018-2019!

Get a Human Approach to Biology in Spring 2019

Biology students at ACC during labDid you know…?

The biology department has a course that covers basic human anatomy and physiology with a focus on wellness, nutrition, and disease prevention? It has lots of amazing labs like blood typing, EKGs, DNA fingerprinting, urinalysis, and even a CADAVER WORKSHOP!

It’s BIO104 Biology – A Human Approach.

There is a traditional version and a hybrid version. Both have a lab that meets once a week. There are two sections running Spring 2019:

BIO 104 101
Lecture: Monday/Wednesday, 9 – 10:15am
Lab: Wednesday, 10:30am – 12:20pm

BIO 104 301
Lecture: Online
Lab: Tuesday, 4 – 5:50pm

It’s a GT (guaranteed transfer) science class. This would be great for you if you are in one of our healthcare programs or need a transferable lecture/lab science course. Talk to your advisor about how to apply this class to your degree or certificate!

by Rachel Willard, ACC Biology Faculty

ACC Distinguished Faculty 2018-2019 Profile: Chris McKellips

Chris McKellipsDepartment
English

Years teaching at ACC
7…the first five I was an adjunct, and the last two as full-time faculty.

Total number of years teaching
15 total, including part-time, full-time, high school and college.

Undergraduate degree
Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Minnesota (but my first year of college was completed at Rainy River Community College). Then attended University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) to complete secondary teacher prep program.

Graduate degree
M.Ed. in Adult Education from Colorado State University.

Honors & awards
Well, I won a bubblegum blowing contest against the students when I taught high school English at the American School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Also, I was awarded All-College Instructor of the Year in 2013-14 (Liberal Arts and Professional Programs).

Current committee work
Curriculum Committee (this is my 2nd year), Program Chair of CCR/AAA, State Discipline Co-Chair of AAA, Professional Development Advisory Board, Elevate Advisory Board, Campus Redesign, IEC, Pathways Academic Mapping Group.

Fun fact about me
From the roof of the house I grew up in, I could see Canada, and I would go back and forth across the border weekly. Also, I’m not sure how many banjos I have.

My most memorable moment at ACC
One of our class readings in CCR 092 is set in a coal mining town. Students in the class were voicing what they knew about coal, and their disgust with it being dirty energy, etc. I told them that all their electricity here in Denver comes from coal, train cars of it each day, and they were surprised. I went into detail: “You couldn’t charge your cell phones without coal, couldn’t blow-dry your hair or keep your soda cold; we wouldn’t have these lights on if it weren’t for coal.” And as if on cue, all the lights on the first floor went out and we were in a windowless room in pitch black darkness. After a second, everyone began laughing, assuming it was something I had engineered. In reality, it was our building’s safety system clicking into gear due to a fire scare on the third floor; in a few minutes, we all had to leave the building. Perfectly timed!

Congratulations, Chris McKellips, one of ACC’s Distinguished Faculty for 2018-2019!

October is College Application Month

students at Discover ACC spring 2018October is College Application Month, and Arapahoe Community College is ready to help you Move Mountains every step of the way.

No matter where you may wish to pursue your higher education, you’ll want to begin by completing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be eligible for grants, work study, student loans and other financial aid programs.

Did you know that ACC helps any college-bound student with the FAFSA? We host FAFSA labs for students and their parents all the time…for free! Students who complete their FAFSA by November 9, 2018, may even be eligible for a College Application Month scholarship giveaway.

If you’re applying to a two-year or four-year school in Colorado, visit the College and University Checklist and Application Link webpage. Find your institution and click Application Info. This will direct you to each institution’s application page. If you’re applying to several schools, consider filling out the Common Application, which is accepted at colleges and universities all over the country.

Navigating career options can seem overwhelming, but with the help of the College in Colorado Career Cluster Survey, you can begin aligning your interests with our guided pathways, and you’ll be well on your way to developing your plan for success.

Think you’ve identified a possible career path? Now’s the time to figure out what kind of education or training you’ll need. Keep in mind that the ACC Castle Rock Collaboration Campus is scheduled to open next fall, providing a seamless pathway from high school diploma to associate degree to bachelor’s degree, all under one roof!

Looking for a great way to familiarize yourself with all of the student resources at ACC? Mark your calendars for Friday, Oct. 19, and join us for Discover ACC! from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Littleton Campus. Our ACC Admissions team and student ambassadors will be on hand to talk about transitioning to college, financial aid, degree pathways and much more.

ACC will also visit dozens of local high schools throughout October, and for the fifth consecutive year, we’ll have representatives at Denver Public Schools’ College Application Day. As many as 1,200 DPS students will be in attendance, many of whom hope to become the first in their immediate & extended families to attend college.

Additionally, Tuesday, Oct. 30, is Colorado Free Application Day. The ACC Career & Transfer Center is hosting a pizza party at the Littleton Campus that day, and several in-state universities will be on hand to meet with students about degrees and transfer options.

Questions? Connect with ACC today at 303.797.5637 or admissions@arapahoe.edu. Our friendly, helpful staff will be glad to assist you.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

Study Abroad Japan Experience

In June 2018, a group of ACC students set out on a study abroad adventure to Japan to study ceramics, drawing, painting, and photography and learn about Japanese culture. Here is what one of our students, Savannah Lewis-Sweed, experienced.

Lewis-Sweed and partnerMy favorite thing about the trip to Japan was immersing myself in nature that I was unfamiliar with. Growing up in Colorado, I had the privilege to explore trails and mountain scenes and going to Japan was an even greater privilege. Since the climate there is usually rainy, moss and small leafed plants grow everywhere. Japanese building surrounded by vegetationThe air seemed to linger with the scent of gentle rain. I would love to return and see Mount Fuji and explore the anime centers of Tokyo. One of my accomplishments was I made these little thank you notes to go with these miniature wheel-thrown pots my girlfriend, Vanessa, had made for the special people we encountered in Japan. It felt good to collaborate and create something small, but meaningful. In Japan, tips are not accepted, but small gifts are a great way to show appreciation.

water pouringPrior to the trip I was anticipating what I would learn about myself. In Japan, I was able to trust others and accept that my quiet nature greatly benefited me in several social situations. I learned a lot from listening and I believe that lesson will benefit me in the future. While learning about myself, I also learned about Japan’s culture. Despite the large crowds, it was hardly ever loud. Everyone spoke at a respectful volume. Savannah and VanessaThe subways, streets and even the alleys were spotless. Hardly ever will you find stepped on food, gum or even cigarette butts tossed in the streets. The city even has cleaning crews who wash the sidewalks and roads. The people who live in Japan take pride in leaving public places clean and litter free. Although there were many attractions and exciting foods to try, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the trip nearly as much without my girlfriend, Vanessa. She has always supported me in my decisions and helped me through several firsts on the trip to Japan. I also had the wonderful opportunity to bond with people I had never talked to before and discovered that we have more in common than just ceramics and a love to create. Together we were able to enjoy every moment in Japan and always had each other’s back.

purple flowerThe kindness and thought put into every moment in Japan made it difficult to return home. After being in a different culture for so long, it was challenging to face reality. There wasn’t a transition period from a country of lush and love. Arriving to DIA didn’t feel familiar or as comforting as I had anticipated. Upon returning home, I was faced with this persistent feeling of struggle and strife to truly see if I wanted to change, if I really wanted to be a person who was kinder, more patient, and considerate of myself and the energy I bring into the room.vegetation There were certainly moments once I was back home where I felt like the worst version of myself. It was an emotional and mental tug of war, one side wanting to give into my inner selfishness, where the other was begging the other side to see reason and trust that adopting a giving nature, doesn’t mean being left with nothing in the end. I was forced to face my actions and to see myself as my girlfriend, friends and peers saw me. I compare it to when reptiles shed their old skin in order to make room for their new skin. The process is uncomfortable, but the journey is worth the destination. Any opportunity for growth should be taken and understood that allowing events and experiences to change you is not an easy process, because if it was easy, everyone would do it. It has been nearly three months since my return from Japan and I can say with confidence I have gratefully accepted how a study abroad trip to Japan has changed me.  

by Savannah Lewis-Sweed

Discover Your Pathway at ACC

Discover ACC! Save the Date. Friday,  Oct. 19 - 9:30am-1:30pm - ACC Littleton CampusExplore 7 guided pathways to your future during our “Discover Your Pathways” breakout sessions at Discover ACC! on Friday, October 19 from 9:30am – 1:30pm at ACC’s Littleton campus. High school students, guidance counselors, and other chaperones, RSVP today for Discover ACC!

With over 100 degrees and certificates to choose from, our pathways can help you find a focus, stay on track, and take you one step closer to achieving your dream. Take a deeper look into these pathways by choosing 2 breakout sessions that fit your interests.

ACC Pathways

  • Arts, Communication & Design
    • Architectural Engineering
    • Art History Transfer
    • Commercial Photography
    • Communication Transfer
    • Interior Design
    • Journalism & Contemporary Media
    • Multimedia Graphic Design & Illustration
    • Music Audio Technology
    • Music Transfer
    • Studio Art Transfer
  • Business
    • Accounting
    • Business Transfer
    • Construction Management
    • Retail Management
    • Business Administration
  • Global, Human & Social Studies
    • Anthropology Transfer
    • Economics Transfer
    • French Transfer
    • History Transfer
    • Philosophy Transfer
    • Political Science Transfer
    • Psychology (AA) Transfer
    • Sociology Transfer
    • Spanish Transfer
  • Health
    • Emergency Medical Services
    • Health Information Technology
    • Medical Laboratory Technology
    • Medical Office Technology / Medical Assistant
    • Mortuary Science
    • Nurse Aide (CNA)
    • Nursing
    • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Math & Sciences
    • Biology Transfer
    • Chemistry Transfer
    • Fermentation Sciences Transfer
    • Geography Transfer
    • Geology Transfer
    • Mathematics Transfer
    • Physics Transfer
    • Pre-Engineering Transfer
    • Psychology (AS) Transfer
  • Public Services
    • Criminal Justice Career or Transfer
    • Early Childhood Teacher Education Transfer
    • Elementary Teacher Education Transfer
    • Emergency Service Administration (BAS)
    • Law Enforcement Academy
    • Paralegal / Legal Assistant
  • Technology
    • Automotive Service Technology
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Game Design and Development
    • Computer Network Technology
    • Engineering Graphics Technology

Along with our pathways, you’ll get a chance to connect with college resources, meet ACC students and staff, explore degree and certificate options, and learn more about ACC. You’ll also get the opportunity to learn about the services ACC provides students and alumni, including career counseling and assessments, academic advising, employment services and career fairs. Plus, every senior will be entered for a chance to win an ACC scholarship!

See the agenda and learn more about Discover ACC!