Many people are first introduced to the Central Park community by a real estate professional who is familiar with the neighborhood and able to speak to its numerous benefits. But unlike most neighborhoods, in Central Park that network of brokers is comprised of a relatively small group of individuals who also happen to be longtime residents. Over the last 14 years, four such REALTORS have collectively helped their clients buy or sell over a thousand homes in 12 neighborhoods (and several for themselves), helping to make this community the best-selling master planned community in the state. Jody Donley of New Perspective Real Estate, Jay Epperson of RE/MAX of Cherry Creek and Diana and Michael Kearns of RE/MAX Alliance have been instrumental in creating the fabric of the community since its inception by helping people find their next home and build their life in Central Park. Moreover, they have taken their commitment to the community well beyond their business dealings, and are also the heroes behind some of the community’s most noteworthy fundraising and community-building efforts including The Community Food Drive, REALGiving2016 and the Annual Community Garage Sale. They now spend countless volunteer hours on these efforts that have become annual events.
“The broker community in Central Park has always been very tight knit because we work so closely together year after year,” said Jay Epperson. “We all decided we wanted to give back to this incredible community that has done so much for us, so came up with our own unique ways to do that which turned out to be easy because residents here generously support good causes.”
Community Food Drive:
Today marks the first day of the 6th Annual Community Food Drive which runs through October 10, 2016. Started by Jody Donley with New Perspective Real Estate, The Food Drive helps families and children who suffer from hunger and poor nutrition in and around the Denver community. The Drive benefits the Food Bank of the Rockies and neighborhood school pantries.
“As local residents, we are committed to making our community the best place to work and call home,” said Donley. “Last year, we collected enough food and money donations to provide 31,656 meals!”
This overwhelming success was due to the great participation of the Central Park community, sponsors and volunteers. They started the program in 2011 and in the first year raised an impressive 1000 pounds of food. Over time the process evolved and became more streamlined. They began delivering empty grocery bags to every doorstep and barrels to local schools to be filled, ultimately increasing donations to 20,000 pounds of food. This year they anticipate 40,000 pounds of food donated for the Food Bank of the Rockies and neighborhood school pantries.
The REALGiving campaign began in 2010 when Jay Epperson and a few other local neighborhood Realtors decided to make boxes of food for Thanksgiving for five families in need at Bill Roberts. Since then REALGiving has grown into a giving campaign that last year raised over $7900 to provide 110 families in need with a loaded King Soopers gift card for Thanksgiving. It kicks off on November 1st and runs through November 16th. This year, an estimated 140 families will receive support directly for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the first food pantry and backpack program was created at Westerly Creek, REALGiving has partnered to support the families in need at Thanksgiving and provided any extra funds raised back to the pantries to support their food bank purchases.
“This effort all came about from a realization that there was a need right here in our local schools and a strong desire take care of those closest to home,” said Epperson. “The success of this campaign could not be done without the support of the neighborhood Realtors, neighbors and the Westerly Creek PTA powering of the secure donation site. With all the connections that we have and the tremendous support that we have in the community I look forward to being able to reach the grand goal of raising over $10,000 for REALGiving 2016.”
This year, our 7th RealGiving campaign will grow to support families in need and food pantries at Northfield High School, Isabella Bird Community School, and Ashley Elementary.
Community Garage Sale
The Community Garage Sale started in 2006 in an effort to bring neighbors together, get them outside and improve community outreach. “We all moved into this great new neighborhood and then we found that we had furniture that didn’t fit the house or clothes that didn’t fit the kids,” says Diana Kearns. “A big community garage sale was a no-brainer. The first few years I think it was the best place in northeast Denver to buy a stroller!”
Over the past 11 years the Garage Sale has become become a community marketplace, bringing neighbors together to buy, sell, and swap items – with a reputation within Denver and beyond. According to Michael Kearns, “We started the Community Garage Sale with about 75 homes participating, and for the past few years we’ve been around 400. It’s not just a Denver event – we have ‘regulars’ who come to the Sale each year from Kansas and Nebraska.”
The Central Park community is among Denver’s most dynamic and vibrant—filled with passionate people who believe in strong community involvement and improving the world around them. Central Park is home to an eclectic mix of growing families, young professionals, empty nesters and numerous stand-out community leaders who are making positive change throughout Denver, the region and the world. Several local realtors are among this group…