INSPIRED IMPACT™ is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of purpose-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Brent’s Place provides a long-term home away from home for children and their families facing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses who have traveled far from home in search of a medical miracle. We provide care in two key forms:
1. Home Away From Home: Brent’s Place currently has 32 fully furnished apartments located just blocks away from Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. All apartments meet our Safe-Clean requirements specifically designed in conjunction with the bone marrow transplant team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Our strict standards reduce exposure to dust, dirt, mold, dander, bacteria and other airborne toxins found in each and every public space – including hotels, traditional hospitals and other rental properties that currently represent the only alternative for immune-compromised patients far from home. We believe maintaining an intact family structure is crucial to each family member’s health and well-being, so our apartments are suitable for the entire family.
2. Tailored Support Programs: Physical shelter is not our only focus. We offer a wide variety of uniquely tailored programs and services to create a more home-like environment. Our comprehensive programming includes homemade meals, craft activities, yoga, music lessons, movie and game nights, homework tutoring, birthday celebrations, holiday gatherings, and family outings. Emotional and psychological support is also provided with access to a clinical psychologist.
Taken as a whole, our programs ensure that the many physical, emotional and social burdens these families face as a result of their loved ones’ illnesses are thoughtfully addressed. And, since the expense associated with oncology care is significant, families never receive a bill from Brent’s Place.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
When a child is faced with a life-threatening medical crisis, it impacts the entire family, especially if it’s necessary to travel hundreds of miles from home for the best, and possibly only, chance of survival. It can affect family relationships, emotional health, finances and, on a basic level, day-to-day life for every member of the family. The housing and programs we provide work in concert to alleviate major stressors and allow our families to take care of themselves, focus on their healing and hopefully return home intact.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
At a very basic level, we are trying to make every day better. We are trying to make what can be a dark and difficult time a journey filled with joy and hope. We hope that our families get to live a full and rich life and experience happiness despite the life and death struggle that they face. More than 200 families will call Brent’s Place home this year, and we will provide more than 14,000 room nights across more than 450 visits. In addition, our family services staff will provide close to 900 support programs and activities during those stays.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
While many of our staff and volunteers come to Brent’s Place because of a personal experience with cancer or other life-altering medical conditions, everyone at Brent’s Place is quickly in awe of the patients and families we serve. Their spirit and courage drive each of us to do more in hopes of making their journey better in some way.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
We know that the difficult journey we witness is not unique to the population we currently serve or the Rocky Mountain region we cover. Our hope is to expand our reach and do more both in our current market and in other areas where families must travel for life-saving treatments. We want to do more and serve more families in need. At this point, we have not put limits on what that may mean or where that may take us.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
We rely heavily on the community for support like our non-profit peers. I know that our Founder would agree that we could not possibly have gotten here without the support of so many with their time, treasure and talent. The leaps that we would like to make will take expertise we may not have, financial resources beyond what we raise now and new volunteers whose passions drive our continuous improvement. No contribution is too small or dream too big.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Continuing to evolve as we grow and change has been and will continue to be a challenge. We look so different from the organization I joined eight years ago, and our team continues to shift and improve the organization in an effort to increase our impact while maintaining the special culture we have created here.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
I think a sincere focus on making an impact is a great place to start. I believe it all starts with culture and finding people that truly want to make something better. I can say with conviction that everyone at Brent’s Place asks one or all of these questions when making a decision: 1) Will it improve our families’ situation? 2) Will it help us serve more families? 3) Is it necessary to maintain the quality of the service we already provide?
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
If you are interested in being part of Brent’s Place you should call 720-343-2800 and arrange to see what we do and talk to a member of our team about where you can get involved. We have a way for everyone to help our families in some way.
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