Seventy-three Miles for 73 Years
Touching thousands of lives over the last 26 years, Restoring Connections trains volunteers to serve people on the margins of society. Our volunteer opportunities emphasize relationship and skills development through mentoring and soul care. Please join us and make a difference.
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
Restoring Connections 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
Restoring Connections 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 lifestyles, 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.
Restoring Connections 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, Restoring Connections' 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-seven 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, Restoring Connections 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 2022 we have a great deal to celebrate! We mark 26 years as a community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and in September, we will once again be able to provide soul care in-person at Denver Women's Correctional Facility.
We rejoice in 35 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. Still others provide a listening presence for people who are homeless.
In 2020 we celebrated 21 years of Making Choices, our decision-making skills and mentoring program for women during incarceration and re-entry. Nearly 800 women completed this program. The majority are now on parole or have completed their sentence, with many of them giving back through volunteer work with Restoring Connections or other organizations. When we started Making Choices in 1999, there were virtually no programs being offered for the women in Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Now, not only are there a wealth of programs, but there are other organizations offering strong programs focused on decision-making and life skills. We were sad to see the program close due to the pandemic, but will continue to provide soul care mentoring at Denver Women's Correctional Facility.
We celebrate four 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.
Restoring Connections, RC, Center for Spirituality at Work, Vincentian Center for Spirituality and Work
Tax id (EIN)
Public & Societal Benefit
AddressP.O. Box 102168
Denver County, CO, US