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The Matthews Center Rolls Out the Welcome Mat

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Putting a stop in the revolving door at Denver county jail is no easy task. But what better way to begin making this effort than with a block party for those not lucky enough to have a strong family or friend to turn to after being released from jail -- a desparate time of need, when it can be impossible to find a job or even a place to live for someone with a record, no education and looming, ever-present criminal opportunity.

The Matthews Center for Excellence, 3030 Downing, is a transitional residence for women who were in jail or homeless, providing them with a place to stay while they reintegrate into society. The Center offers the recently released structure and stability through resources and referrals, including help finding food, shelter, jobs and legal services.

As part of their effort to stop recidivism, the fine folks over there are introducing themselves to the community at a bash that kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 14. According to the Center's Angela Hunter, attendees should "expect information, any type of information that they've been looking for," including contacts to help them pursue their GED's, counseling, spiritual and religious advisors, help with HIV, substance-abuse prevention tips and even juvie case info.

The new project is funded by the City of Denver and donors who'll be honored by a special display at Saturday's event. Hunter says a crowd of more than 1,000 is expected, and Mayor John Hickenlooper will be on hand for the ribbon cutting. There'll be games for the kids and free hot dogs and burgers, too

But, more importantly, the community will be there to help those who truly need it.

Get details at Matthewscenter@msn.com. -- Luke Turf

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