Dream Time

FRI, 1/16

Why do we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year? Some would say it's for the kids, for whom, especially, Dr. King's vision still means something. That idea takes on a unique poignancy each year at the YMCA/Denver Nuggets Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, where young Denver-area dreamers have a chance to express their feelings about the MLK legacy by reading winning essays written for an annual contest. This year, Elijhah Buchanan of Smith Elementary School and Shacree Banks of Smiley Middle School have the honors: They'll both get to share their thoughts on the theme of "Moving Beyond the Dream" over eggs and toast today at the Pepsi Center's Ridgeline Restaurant, 1000 Chopper Place. Both kids are participants in the national CASASTART program, administered locally through various organizations, including the YMCA. CASASTART is dedicated to nipping substance abuse and delinquency in the bud for high-risk youngsters ages eight to thirteen. The outreach provides case management and organizes after-school activities, field trips and events that include family members. Participants typically spend about two years in the program, during which they're required to set and meet goals. It's a case study in learning to live beyond a dream, and YMCA program director Jessica Thornton says it's working.

Attend the breakfast, which also includes a talk by Irv Brown of Radio 950 on the life of former NBA star Michael Ray Richardson, from 6:30 to 9 a.m. today; the $20 admission fee benefits the East Denver Family YMCA. For reservations, call 720-524-2714. -- Susan Froyd

A Healthy Dose
Kidz Kulture! opens its treasure chest
SAT, 1/17

What kid couldn't use a little culture? The answer's too obvious: Of course, they all need some. And if it's free, all the better. To that end, Parker's cultural coordinator Cady Dawson put two and two together and came up with Kidz Kulture!, a monthly entertainment series for families. "The Wild, Wild West," an inaugural event that will include storytelling and a rootin'-tootin' art project with a Western theme, kicks it all off this morning from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Parker Mainstreet Center, 19650 East Mainstreet, Parker. And -- you guessed it -- there is no price tag. Dawson says that has been taken care of by the Parker Cultural Commission and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, with participation by the Parker Library and Parker Artists Guild, which will both provide some of the programming. Future events, to be held on the third Saturday of every month throughout the year, include Afro-Cuban drumming in February and bagpipers in March; for more information, call 303-805-3275 or log on to www.parkeronline.org/cultural. -- Susan Froyd

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd