The Center for Spirituality at Work unites diverse people for spiritual transformation and social justice. We envision a world in which everyone has a place and a voice at the table.
We have been challenged to make a fundamental "option for the poor" - to empower the voiceless, to stand with the defenseless, to assess life styles, policies, and social institutions in terms of their impact on people in poverty. This option strengthens the whole community by ensuring the participation of those whose voices have been unheard.
The Center for Spirituality at Work brings people together to find creative solutions to societal issues. Our training and support empowers members of the mainstream community to serve those on the margins. As a community-based nonprofit, we are not affiliated with any religion or religious agenda.
Dr. Vie Thorgren, the Center's founder, holds degrees in education, counseling psychology, and spiritual theology and has an extensive background in program design, implementation, cross-cultural work, and interfaith dialogue. Twenty-two years ago, she hosted a downtown forum to determine if the Denver business community had an interest in spirituality in the workplace. Although only 50 people were expected, a crowd of over 250 attended a luncheon program to discuss the practical implications of social justice in the marketplace. As a result of the community's demonstrated interest, the Center opened its doors in 1996 and began offering workshops, seminars, and training programs to both individuals and business groups.
Throughout the years, we have been able to support other local nonprofits, offering their staff and volunteers retreats on self-care, ethical communication, and conflict resolution. We've responded to the needs of local hospitals for workshops on a spirituality of work. We've connected businesses with service opportunities in the community and helped them reflect on the connection between their corporate mission and a mission to also serve those in need.
In 2019 we have a great deal to celebrate. We mark 23 years as a community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and have taken the next step in the evolution of our organization by hiring a new Executive Director as Dr. Vie Thorgren prepares for retirement. Amanda Lopez comes to the position with a background in Operations Management as well as 20 years' experience with CFSAW, as a volunteer and as a staff member. Vie Thorgren continues with the organization as Programs Director through 2019.
We rejoice in 32 years of training spiritual directors locally and internationally. Over 700 graduates from our Formation Program for Spiritual Directors serve on six continents, providing soul care for people in poverty, for refugees, for at-risk youth, for those who are homebound, and for those who are in prison. Locally, our graduates are involved seven days a week providing soul care for incarcerated women through our spiritual direction program at Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Others are involved with our Second Responders program, offering spiritual care during and following local tragedies. Still others provide a listening presence for people who are homeless.
We celebrate 20 years of Making Choices, our decision-making skills and mentoring program for women during incarceration and re-entry. In the fall of 2019 we will celebrate the 36th graduation at Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Nearly 800 women have completed this program. The majority are now on parole or have completed their sentence, with many of them giving back through volunteer work with CFSAW or other organizations.
Our Healing Art Program is in its second year, serving approximately ten women per 5-week class. The program fosters self-understanding, personal discipline, and emotional healing.
We celebrate two years of Elder Wisdom programming, designed to nourish the spiritual, social, and intellectual life of seniors, while equipping seniors for transformative presence and meaningful service with others.
Wendy participated in Making Choices' first class in 1999 at Denver Women's Correctional Facility. "Recidivism was my middle name," says Wendy. "I didn't apply the tools they offered and ended up in and out of prison numerous times for forgery and theft to support my drug addiction." Today, Wendy is a homeowner through the Habitat for Humanity program. Holding down two jobs, she is focusing on how to fulfill her next dream of obtaining a bachelor's degree in human services and becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. "With what I've learned in Making Choices, my life now is about living each day to the fullest and moving forward within myself. I feel reborn and believe that anything is possible."
- Wendy, Making Choices program graduate
The Center for Spirituality at Work gave me my life! I was 50 years old, and I didn't know how to make decisions -- I didn't know I had a choice. My life was based upon reaction, not action. Now I choose who is in my life, and what I want to do with my life, and I'm happy. I don't have much but what I have is my own. I've learned that I don't need anyone in my life to fulfill me, because I fulfill me. I'm working on my counseling certification, and want to be a mentor someday.
- Jackie, Making Choices program graduate
I've been searching for new territory - a place where I can contribute and also learn something completely new. Oh my, the Denver Women's Correctional Facility is certainly new territory for me! As a society, we seem to accept that a certain number of us will be "throwaways." For lack of a clearer vision for their rehabilitation and support, we imprison people who have violated our social norms. Nearly 1,000 of these individuals reside at Havana and I-70. We need to be honest; prison is about punishment. These are not women we invest in as a society. They are women we warehouse. Then eventually we cut them loose with no resources, no skills and no money and expect them to find their own way -- or not. Making Choices changes that. My first experience was mentoring a bright, engaging young woman with so many strikes against her that I stopped counting. She never had a safety net. But she was talented and hopeful, excited, eager and motivated. The Making Choices curriculum allowed her to envision the woman she wanted to become and gave her skills to set goals and reach them. This was all new territory for her. It was my great joy to coach her and to watch her discover her strengths and her potential. With the help of Making Choices, she began to weave her own safety net. We were both transformed by the process.
- Jo, Making Choices Mentor