Close to Home

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Warren Village is proud to be part of the CLOSE TO HOME campaign & the Warren Village/”Hand Up” Collaborative – a grassroots network of community organizations & individuals that have come together to increase understanding and move Coloradans to speak up and make a meaningful difference in addressing homelessness.  Increased public engagement paves the road to identify, pilot, implement, and sustain solutions such as affordable housing, supportive services, and employment/education opportunities.

The members of the Hand Up Collaborative are:

    • Warren Village (Chance LeBeau, Tori Ambrosio, Whitney Larson, Mike Robbins)
    • CBS/Channel 4 (Elaine Torres)
    • Community College of Denver (Ismael Garcia, Meloni Crawford)
    • Bank of the West (Jody Mcnerney)
    • Bake the World a Better Place (Shane Sanders)
    • Women with a Cause Foundation (Susan Kiely, Monica Kosanovich)
    • Susan Delaney Rodger (community philanthropist)
    • Annette Davis (former Warren Village resident)
    • Whitney Whitson (former Warren Village resident)

 

Many Stories of Impact for the CLOSE TO HOME campaign were shared by former Warren Village residents.  We are so proud of their courage & willingness to share their stories of perseverance and resiliency, and how the hand up from Warren Village was life transforming.

HISTORY. The idea for the CLOSE TO HOME campaign began in a listening tour conducted by The Denver Foundation in communities across the seven-county Metro Denver area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties). Residents said far too many people cannot meet their basic needs, especially housing, hunger, and a lack of safety or access to basic medical care. They said we need to increase understanding, compassion, and get more people engaged to solve these challenges.

5 Things You Can Do to Make a Meaningful Difference in Addressing Homelessness.

      1. PLEDGE – Take the Close to Home Pledge.  Show your interest in learning more, and help to elevate the issue.  We’ll share your commitment with decision makers to help drive change.
      2. LEARN – Toss the stereotypes.  Homelessness is closer than you think.  Kids in our neighborhood schools, workers in local businesses, and even family members and friends are spending their nights couch surfing, sleeping in cars, or out in the streets.  Learn more about who is affected, why, and potential solutions.
      3. SPEAK UP – Your words matter.  Speak up when you hear people say things about homelessness that are unkind, untrue, or simply not helpful to bringing about change.  Change begins when we change the conversation about homelessness.
      4. SHARE – Make it viral.  Share the stories of those who went from housed to homeless at #CloseToHomeCO through your social channels, in conversations with neighbors and in community forums.  Consider what you would do in similar circumstances.
      5. ACT – Your actions matter.  Seemingly small actions add up – sign the Pledge, post on Facebook or Twitter, volunteer or donate.  Together, we can help today and drive policy changes that make homelessness history in Colorado.

Homelessness is Close to Home

    • 322% – increase over the past decade of school-aged children known to be homeless in Metro Denver.
    • 51% – families and children made up more than half of homelessness in Metro Denver.
    • 43% – Metro Denver residents with family members or close friends who have experienced homelessness.
    • 97 Hours a Week – the amount of time a minimum wage worker needs to work per week to afford a 2-bedroom rental unit.

www.closetohomeco.org

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Woman With a Cause

 

by Joanne Davidson, https://www.coloradoexpression.com/featured-stories/woman-with-a-cause

Susan Kiely uses her personal experience, her faith and her boundless energy to make the world a better place for many others

The view from an apartment on the 24th floor of the Four Seasons Private Residences Denver offers a panorama of mountains and plains, a beautiful and breathtaking sight that, when you come to think of it, is a metaphor for the life’s mission of the woman who lives there.

Susan Kiely, founder and chief executive officer of the Women With a Cause Foundation (WWAC), wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. But a difficult childhood—she was born to an unwed mother and has never met her biological father—followed by her own marriage to a successful corporate executive has equipped her with the resolve, vision and means to help make life easier for women in need. Women who, like her, have lives touched by poverty, abuse and mental illness. And, also like her, have life stories that include survival and learning to forgive.

Susan Kiely’s devotion to helping the underserved stems not only personal experience, but also from her strong faith, enriched through a Catholic education, ongoing Bible study, a degree from Denver Seminary and becoming an ordained minister, an internship at Denver Rescue Mission’s Champa House, conducting parenting classes at Agape Christian Church in Five Points, and serving as chaplain at the Volunteers of America’s senior citizen residence, Sunset Park.

The volunteer service that she says “brings me so much joy” has not gone unnoticed.

Excelsior Youth Center acknowledged Kiely’s life trajectory by naming her its Triumphant Woman for 2013; other awards include Service with Style, from the Colorado branch of the Volunteers of America, Denver Health’s Angel Award, and Food Bank of the Rockies’ Heart of Gold Award. Her latest honor came in October, when Denver’s Inner-City Health Center presented her with its Rev. John Shaw Legacy Award. The ceremony took place on a night when she was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas with her family, so she asked one of her Women With a Cause graduates to accept on her behalf. “Everything I’ve done, whatever I’ve accomplished, is not about me,” she explains. “It’s about the women we help.”

Leo Kiely, whom she met when he was in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and she was teaching inner-city Head Start classes by day and taking graduate classes at night, has held a succession of increasingly high-powered jobs with Ventura Coastal Corp., a division of 7Up, Frito-Lay and MillerCoors. She rolls her eyes heavenward and smiles as she describes how they met. “We both hung out in the same bar,” she recalls. “We’d made eye contact a few times, and after awhile Leo introduced himself. That was at the end of January in 1970. We became engaged on Valentine’s Day and were married on May 16.” Leo, she says, “Was the first person who loved me unconditionally. He thought I was beautiful and the most interesting person ever.”

He retired as MillerCoors’ chief executive officer in 2011, and remains busy today making movies with their son, Bill, a Hollywood-based producer-director, building houses in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and investing in such business ventures as D Bar restaurant.

Two of the Kiely-produced movies can be seen on Netflix. Barely Lethal stars Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Alba, and Adderal Diaries features James Franco. Another, starring J.K. Simmons and with the working title of The Bachelors, is “in the can” and awaiting release on the film festival circuit. Once that is done, the movie will have its world premiere in Denver as a benefit for Women With a Cause.

“I have such an incredible respect for my husband,” Kiely says. “He shares so many of my visions and provides such encouragement. When he proposed—and I think I’ve told this story a million times—he said, ‘Marry me and I’ll make the money that will let you save the world.’

“Sure, he has helped me get a lot of my projects off the ground, but it’s not just a case of him making the money and me hanging out at the country club writing checks. I like to make a direct impact, to be very involved in each and every aspect.”

The inspiration for WWAC—an all-volunteer organization made up of women who use their gifts and talents to help alleviate poverty and change the lives of women worldwide—came in 2005, after Kiely attended a World Vision AIDS Day breakfast. She was so touched by stories of economic and personal hardships experienced by women in developing nations that she literally took action immediately. Initially, WWAC established two centers in rural areas of India where women from the Dalit and other oppressed castes were taught to sew. “After teaching 800-plus Indian women how to sew and support themselves and their families for the rest of their lives by making and selling clothing, jewelry and tote bags we turned that operation over to Operation Mercy, India.” WWAC also has helped establish a primary school in Uttamary, India, and conducted similar programs in Ethiopia, Ghana and Thailand. There, women—many of whom were escaping the sex trade—learned to construct, market and sell goods that helped support the shelter they had found at the faith-based New Life Center in Chiang Mai. In recent years, WWAC has shifted its emphasis to empowering local women.

The WE Initiative, which WWAC launched in 2011, assists women who are homeless, from low-income households, or have served in the military establish careers in dental hygiene, the nursing profession or the hospitality industry. “Women With a Cause is so much a part of me, but it’s not about me,” Kiely says. “It’s about our women and their families… offering up services that weren’t available to my mother and me: things like education, job training, quality daycare, safe housing, mentoring and guidance toward healthy lifestyle choices.”

In 1947, Kiely’s mother found herself single and pregnant by a married man. “This was in New York City, where she could have had an abortion, but she chose not to. Even back then, New York was a progressive city, but even still, it wasn’t acceptable for a single woman to be having a baby. So we moved to Chicago, where she had family, and I was born.” Kiely describes her mom as someone who was “very bright, with great math skills and a great command of the English language. We spent the first couple of years of my life in Chicago before moving to Philadelphia, where her mother’s twin sister lived and could babysit Susan while her mother worked as a bookkeeper in a store that sold televisions.”

Things remained “pretty stable,” until her mother lost her job. Then began a series of moves up and down the East Coast as her mother went from job to job. When her mother managed a motel, Kiely cleaned its rooms. When she worked in a bowling alley restaurant, Kiely washed dishes and worked the cash register. “My mother expected me to be a little adult, and she gave me responsibilities no child should have. By fourth grade I was working. By fifth grade I could balance a checkbook. “I was also tall, skinny and dyslexic, which led to bullying. I missed out on a lot because we moved so much; by the time I reached high school I had attended 13 schools.”

When her mother did marry, it was to a man that Kiely bluntly describes as a pervert.

“He abused me from the time I was 5 until the time I was 12. But the more I look into it, I realize that he had been a victim of abuse, molested at the private boys school that he attended.”

Kiely now realizes that her mother suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Still, “She was very mindful of getting me to understand that all people must be treated equally.” A cross-burning at the home directly across from where she was living in Levittown, PA, while she was in fourth grade, “Was the first reality for me that life could be difficult, and it was just one of many experiences that prepared me to try to make the world better.”

Today, Kiely, who turns 70 in January, and her husband divide their time between Denver, where in addition to her work with WWAC she serves on the boards of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Emily Griffith Technical College and the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, and Hermosa Beach, CA, where she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. The last thing she wants to become is “A crotchety old lady unwilling to embrace change. I want to die having young people say ‘She was so much fun.’”

BIO: Joanne Davidson “retired” after spending 30 years as society editor of The Denver Post. She keeps busy by writing articles on a freelance basis for The Post, as well as for Colorado Expression and Denver Life magazines.

Legacy of Learning-Emily Griffith Technical College

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https://www.egfoundation.org/legacy-of-learning/

We celebrate our community's education champions.

Our annual breakfast celebrates the local movers and shakers in workforce education.

We recognize the individuals and companies committed to lifelong learning and providing opportunity for all who wish to learn — regardless of background, age or circumstances.

Past keynote speakers include LinkedIn City Program Manager Laura Williams.

2017 LEGACY OF LEARNING AWARDEES

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SUSAN KIELY  
WOMEN WITH A CAUSE | FOUNDER & CEO

Susan received her bachelor’s from Gwynedd Mercy University, a master’s in Youth and Family from Denver Seminary and also graduated from DU’s Graduate School of Social Work.

In 2006, Susan founded Women With A Cause, a nonprofit dedicated to “women helping women help themselves.” Women With A Cause works internationally and locally to provide women with tools achieve self-sufficiency.

Susan has served on many nonprofit boards, and is a member of Emily Griffith Foundation’s board of directors. In 2015 she chaired EGTC’s 100th Anniversary Celebrations.

Susan was recognized for her service in 2008 by the city and county of Denver with Sept. 24 being named “Susan Kiely Day”. Her awards include being named one of the top 25 influential women in the state by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Frances Weisbart Jacobs International Award by the United Way, University of Denver’s International Bridge Builder’s Award (with her husband), and an honorary Doctor of Human Letters from Gwynedd Mercy University. 

COMMUNITY OUTREACH Women With A Cause Foundation – Mentor

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April 7, 2017 

http://www.luxhomesdenver.com/community-outreach/women-with-a-cause-foundation-mentor

Women With a Cause provides economic development programs that focus on education and skill training for women to enable them to be lifted out of poverty and lead them to self-sufficiency. Inspired by a World Vision AIDS Day Breakfast in 2005, Women With A Cause founder, Susan Kiely, learned about the plight of women in the developing world and a journey began. Women With A Cause is dedicated to providing training in areas where there are job opportunities for women.

Women With A Cause

January 29, 2017, http://newburymagazine.net/women-with-a-cause/

About Us

Women With a Cause provides economic development programs that focus on education and skill training for women to enable them to be lifted out of poverty and lead them to self-sufficiency.

History of Women With a Cause

Inspired by a World Vision AIDS Day Breakfast in 2005, Women With A Cause founder, Susan Kiely, learned about the plight of women in the developing world and a journey began.

Women With A Cause is dedicated to providing training in areas where there are job opportunities for women. In Hyberabad, India WWAC developed training centers to provide classes in sewing. In Yetebon, Ethiopia a center for women has been established that provides computer training. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia we are partnering with the Mother and Child Rehabilitation Center to educate mothers in sewing, tailoring and hair styling.

In Denver Colorado, Women With A Cause is partnering with, but not limited to, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Regis University, University of Colorado School of Nursing, Metropolitan State University School of Hospitality, and Emily Griffith Technical College. These partnerships will provide opportunities for homeless and/or low income mothers, as well as, female veterans to take classes.

Women With A Cause is an all-volunteer organization made up of women who use their gifts and talents toward alleviating poverty and changing the lives of women around the world.

Accomplishments

  • Built two training centers in India
  • Helped establish a primary school in Uttamary, India
  • Launched “one of a kind” silk jacket business in Hyderabad, India
  • Launched a program that educated over 800 Indian women in the area of sewing and self-empowerment through financial education and micro lending techniques
  • Enabled dozens of women from the United States to go to India and teach sewing skills to impoverished women
  • Created patterns for non profits that teach and employ poor women in Thailand and Ghana.
  • Established computer training center in Ethiopia
  • Equipped a sewing/training center, as well as, hair styling classes at The Mother and Child Rehabilitation Center in the capital city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
  • Created awareness of Third World conditions for women through events such as International Women’s Day and workshops
  • Established the WE Initiative that will provide education for homeless and/or low income mothers and single female veterans
  • Partnered with Denver based 501c3 agencies to build temporary and permanent housing for homeless and low income women.
  • Partnered with The Rose Andom Center to improve the lives of domestic violence victims by combining community resources in a single safe location.

Get Involved

BECOME A MENTOR

MENTORS AGREE TO:

  • Be in touch via phone, text or e mail with your mentee at least once a week
  • Meet up with your mentee once a month
  • Listen to your mentee. Allow your mentee to formulate ideas through active listening
  • Give personal examples from your own life where you have learned through mistakes (please do not get too personal)
  • Go over course work and if you notice that she is not fulfilling her school obligations and/or is slipping in her course work, suggest that she notify WWAC and ask for a tutor
  • Listen more than talk
  • Not judge; accept your mentee in spite of her past mistakes
  • Help your mentee study or review her coursework
  • Enjoy an outing with a mentee and her child(ren) such as a museum, zoo or park. WWAC has money available for such excursions
  • Check in with your WWAC facilitator if you see any red flags concerning your mentee’s progress

A recent Comfort Dental Graduate enjoying time with her mentor.

Mentors are amazing guides!

Our mentors help our scholars navigate the work-life balance.

HELP WITH A FUNDRAISER:

  • Create, plan, and orchestrate a home party to introduce WE SCHOLARS to your friends
  • Assist at one of our yearly parties as a helper
  • Invite your friends to one of our Meet Our Scholars home parties
  • Help us find grants and company donations for our program

HELP WITH CLERICAL WORK:

Data entry

  • Thank you letters & tax receipts
  • Invitations
  • Social media

DONATE

  • $100 will supplement a family’s childcare expenses.
  • $50 will pay for college textbooks.
  • $25 will supplement a family’s monthly income.
  • Give Monthly: A $25 a month donation goes a long way.

Your monthly commitment to the WWAC Foundation will allow us to continue our work of educating women in order to help lift them and their families out of poverty.

WE Scholars meet with a WWAC specialist who helps the mother receive:

  • Food stamps
  • C Cap (Child Care)
  • Pell Grants- financial aid with educational expenses
  • Section 8 or low-income housing

WWAC Foundation provides:

  • Financial assistance for education
  • Money to pay for books and supplies
  • Monthly stipend to supplement living expense

We accept online donations securely through master charge and visa, as well as PayPal. Women With A Cause Foundation is an approved Public Charity under the Internal Revenue Code Number 27-12111132. Funds received are used for tuition, books, and supplemental living expenses. Our international work has enabled over a thousand women to provide for their families.

WOMEN WITH A CAUSE

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By Laurie Dunklee, January 13, 2017

REGIS — Women with a Cause and its primary partner, Regis University, are changing the lives of single women and their children for the better. The program helps single mothers and women veterans get on their feet and reach self-sufficiency through degree scholarships and mentoring.

Started in 2012, Women with a Cause has helped a dozen women get their degrees in nursing and other professions and find good-paying employment. Six more women are currently in school.

“It’s so satisfying to see what this means to them and their children,” said Tristen Amador, associate dean of Regis’ Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions and liaison with Women with a Cause. “It brings tears to my eyes to see them get good jobs after graduation. It transforms their lives and the lives of their children.”

Regis awards two scholarships each year in its nursing program for WE scholars in the Women with a Cause (WWAC) program. The WE Initiative aims to elevate, empower and educate women in need. “Students enrolled in our nursing program and the WE Initiative are eligible for school,” said Amador. “Often they have taken prerequisite courses at a community college but they took a break to have children. Enrollment counselors help them through the admissions process, while WWAC supports their transition.

“There are lots of requirements for them; it’s not a handout. Some of their schooling is funded with grants and loans, which is okay because they’ll have good-paying jobs to pay the money back. We want them to be invested in their future.”

WE scholars experience various difficult circumstances that lead to their needing help, Amador said. “A lot of times they are leaving a bad or abusive relationship and taking their children. They lose their source of support, and if they have no family they can end up homeless.

“It’s difficult for them to make a change without help. It’s hard to study when you are worried about where to live, or about food or childcare. Nursing school is not easy and if you are stressed it is even more demanding. WWAC volunteers help our scholars with access to housing, food and childcare to help them get back on their feet.”

Other support includes access to legal help for women needing child support; and help in reducing medical bills.

Mentoring is an important component of the program. “We’ve realized that mentors are critical because a mentor is in touch with their scholar and knows if there’s a problem right away,” Amador said. Regis faculty are among the volunteer mentors who help WE scholars.

Other WWAC partners include Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, University of Colorado College of Nursing, and Metropolitan State University School of Hospitality. Comfort Dental provides grants each year in dental hygiene studies for two qualified students. WE scholars can earn certificates at Emily Griffith Technical College in such areas as culinary arts, cosmetology and office administration.

Women with a Cause was started by Susan Kiely, a Denver volunteer powerhouse who also supports programs for homeless shelters, food banks and seniors. Kiely takes the WWAC program to India, Asia and Africa to help impoverished women.

Anna Suchkova graduated from Regis in nursing in 2016. A Russian immigrant, she had left an abusive relationship, taking her three small children. She tried to support her family as a certified nursing assistant, but working double shifts five days a week wasn’t sustainable. Now embarking on her nursing career, Suchkova says, “I’m inspired to take care of people, save lives, and be a good example to my children.”

According to the WWAC website, providing comprehensive help for one woman costs an average of $27,000 each academic year. Many scholars are the first person in their families to pursue education beyond high school.

Support for WWAC comes from “lots of fundraising,” says Amador, including calling on the personal networks of board members, including Kiely. “Our largest fundraiser is the holiday party. We get more grants each year as well.”

WWAC’s first fundraiser of 2017 will be at Bar Fausto, 3126 Larimer St., Jan. 22 from 4 p.m. to closing. Bar Fausto will donate a portion of the evening’s food and cocktail sales to WWAC. For more information see WWAC’s Facebook page.

To learn more about WWAC, or to donate, see womenwithacausefoundation.org

Congratulations Women With a Cause Foundation

Published March 23, 2015 | By Kathryn McQuade

http://mcquadefoundation.org/congratulations-women-with-a-cause-foundation/

Women With a Cause Foundation in Denver, CO has been awarded a $20,000 grant  to support women and their children while they attend classes that lead to a career path.  Women with a Cause provides economic development programs that focus on education and skill training for women to enable them to be lifted out of poverty and lead to self-sufficiency.  Women With a Cause is an all-volunteer organization.  Congratulations and I look forward to watching your success.

At Home with Susan Kiely

Devoted philanthropist, volunteer and Excelsior Youth Center's 2013 Triumphant Woman

By Irene Rawlings

http://www.coloradohomesmag.com/March-2013/At-Home-with-Susan-Kiely/

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Don Riley

Susan Kiely believes in the simple yet powerful idea of “women helping women to help themselves.” So much so that she started a nonprofit foundation that pursues that exact mission. Women With a Cause, the organization she began in 2006, teaches women around the world to sew, run their own businesses and become financially independent.

Finding the inspiration to start the nonprofit came about somewhat fortuitously. Kiely, an ordained minister with a master’s degree in youth and family ministry, was planning a trip to New York City in 2005 to indulge her twin passions of theater and art. Around the same time, she received an invitation to the World Vision AIDS Day Breakfast—also in New York and coinciding with her trip. 

 “Maybe it was kismet, maybe it was the hand of God...but as I sat there listening, it dawned on me that working with women who have been affected by AIDS might be my life’s next chapter,” Kiely says. So she traveled to India, home to one of the world’s largest populations of HIV/AIDS victims, to explore the possibility of creating jobs for affected women to help them support their families. Not long after, Women With a Cause was born. She established two centers in the country where women make and sell items, like gorgeous, handmade silk jackets. After they complete their training (more than 800 have participated to date), these women are encouraged to form financial micro-groups to lend money to other women starting businesses. 

Women With a Cause is doing good in other parts of the world, too. In Ethiopia, Kiely developed rural chicken farms, allowing families to sell eggs at village markets, and opened a computer-training center for women interested in finding government or private sector jobs. And back home in Denver, WWAC has partnered with several Colorado universities and colleges to provide education and opportunities for formerly homeless women. 

In addition to her work with WWAC, Kiely devotes her energy to a variety of meaningful causes—from the Junior League of Denver to the Volunteers of America, to the Alzheimer’s Association and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. “I don’t say ‘yes’ to volunteering unless I can devote the time to do it well. But I say ‘yes’ a lot,” she smiles. The causes she supports are defined by her passions—theater, art, books, family, children and, of course, women’s issues—and by her deep spiritual convictions. 

This generosity is inspired by her own difficult past. Raised in modest circumstances by a single mother who relocated every few months in order to find work, Kiely attended 13 different grade schools by the time she was 11 years old. Today, the philanthropist is grateful to have more stability. “I have been fortunate,” she says. “My husband has been very successful, and I never needed a paying job.”

And so Susan Kiely devotes her time, knowledge and money to helping others. “Most of my friends are active in the community. We have fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously,” she says, “but we are not frivolous. We spend our time well and hold each other accountable.” 

We were just wondering...

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My children...my son and daughter. I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be a good parent because I didn’t have a good role model in my own mother. One moment she was as high as a kite and the next she would be crying. These days, she’d probably be diagnosed with bipolar disorder and could get treatment.

Is there a secret to your long marriage? 

Oh, gosh, it has been more than 43 years! Every marriage has its ups and downs, and Leo and I have worked hard at ours. But the core of our relationship has always been respect. There is no one I respect more than my husband. He’s a person of integrity and he feels the same way about me. 

Your perfect Sunday. Go

It starts with church, brunch with my husband and reading the paper. On a nice day, I take the dog for a two- or three-mile walk, then I might go to the Tattered Cover and buy some books. I love to read historical novels. 

What is your idea of happiness? 

I don’t believe in happiness. I believe in peacefulness. Happiness is fleeting but peace lingers.

Tell us what you like best about your home.

I love color and pattern. I’m a traditionalist and my husband loves modern design—I’ve always enjoyed mixing the two together. We recently moved from a 10,000-square-foot house in Golden (where we were always entertaining) to a 2,000-square-foot residence at The Four Seasons in Denver. To say that we pared down is an understatement.

What is your favorite possession?

Framed pictures of my grandchildren,which I have all around the house. 

My husband has always been very generous with gifts, and recently I’ve started giving things away, which has been very freeing. When you travel to developing countries and see how little people have, you realize that you don’t need many things. 

 

To learn more about Women With a Cause and the organization’s efforts to help women in Denver and around the world, visit womenwithacausefoundation.org

 

Excelsior Youth Center honors Susan Kiely as ‘Triumphant Woman’

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http://www.villagerpublishing.com/50725/fleurish/fleurish-excelsior-youth-center-honors-susan-kiely-as-triumphant-woman/

The Triumphant Faces gala for the Excelsior Youth Center keeps growing every year and that pace picked up Feb. 22 for this year’s benefit as confirmed when guests were asked to raise their hands if this was their first Excelsior gala and at least 100 people raised their hands. More than 500 people were there, using the entire massive Hyatt Convention Center grand ballroom with a dance floor and stage for the Pointer Sisters whose concert rocked the rafters.

We call that a success and bow to the leadership of Lois Paul, Megan Fearnow and Kasia Iwaniczko MacLeod who lead the effort.

Honoring Susan Kiely as the newest Triumphant Woman was another terrific decision. Formally titled Rev. Susan Kiely, on video she recounted years of sexual abuse by her stepfather and emotional stress from her mother. She went on to create the Women with a Cause Foundation, which so far, has educated more than 800 women in India, helping them learn to sew and become small business entrepreneurs.

The Denver Seminary graduate has a University of Denver Certificate in Gerontology and other educational and personal successes.

Not only that, Kiely is a warm dynamo who can in seconds motivate others to open their wallets at chosen charitable events. Husband, Leo Kiely, retired CEO of Miller Coors, fully supports his wife’s efforts, donating the beer for guests during the gala reception.

Excelsior Youth Center is the largest residential facility in the U.S. treating women ages 11 to 18 to conquer past mistakes and abuse and go on to bright futures. The problem is that California and Colorado, from where most girls come, only pay Excelsior about 83 percent of the cost of their residential treatment. That leaves about $1,000 in expenditures per girl per month that the center has to fund on its own.