Doyle Robinson, co-founder and executive director of Sox Place, knew it was inevitable that he'd have to move his drop-in center for Denver's street youth out of the building at 2017 Larimer Street where's it's been for the last four years. And he recently got word that the non-profit will have to be out by the end of May to make way for a bar that will be run by the owners of the nearbyGinn Mill
, who also recently took on the former Chelos space at 2012 Larimer Street.See also: Doyle Robinson has found his place -- in with the outcasts
"That's okay," Robinson says. "We're not really worried. We knew it was coming, but when you hear the news it's like somebody punches you in the gut."
Robinson has been scoping out another home for Sox Place, which originally opened a dozen years ago at 2017 Lawrence Street. But it's been tough finding a location, because there's so much development going on downtown. "Plus," he adds, "we have a commercial real estate developer who's been helping us for the last couple of years, and he says because of the legalization of weed the warehouses are being snatched up at outrageous prices."
Robinson hopes to stay near downtown because that's where the kids gather; he's also looking west of downtown, between Broadway and I-25, and in the area south of the Auraria Campus and north of Sixth Avenue.
"We'll try to stay to stay where kids can still go," Robinson says. "Our kids come from all over the metro area. But they come downtown and they do what they do from there."
Anywhere from twenty to fifty kids will be at Sox Place at a time. Robinson says the facility provides kids who might be homeless, at-risk, runaways or addicts with sense of home. They come in to watch TV, get on the Internet, play video games or pool; Sox Place also serves a hot meal all afternoon long.
Robinson got the initial idea for Sox Place about fifteen years ago, when he discovered that street kids had a great need for socks. When he opened the center a few years later his son Jordan came up with the idea of calling it Sox Place.
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Sox Place is funded by private donations and gets no government grants; Robinson says that it's always understaffed and underfunded -- but he still has plenty of passion for creating a safe place where kids can go.