Kathy A. is a resilient Denver native who wished to visit one of her city’s oldest public attractions. She’s faced numerous challenges throughout her life, but hasn’t let them hold her back from leading a constructive life and giving back to others. Kathy’s Wish of a Lifetime was to go to the Denver Zoo for the very first time.
Kathy’s entire childhood was spent in City Park, home to the Denver Zoo. Her foster home was located across the street from the park, and after being kicked out at age 17, she became homeless. For the next several years, Kathy struggled to make ends meet, lacking the support and companionship of family and friends. Living homeless in City Park, Kathy couldn’t help but notice the hundreds of families and school groups visiting the zoo day in and day out.
Eventually, Kathy was able to get a job at the Curtis Street Laundromat, and with the help of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Colorado, she got an apartment in Downtown Denver. Over the course of her life, Kathy has had very little opportunity to venture outside of Denver, noting that she’s only left the state of Colorado once. Today, Kathy spends most of her time doing puzzles and helping out at Halcyon House, the apartment complex where she’s lived for 13 years.
Katie Mc Credie, the Social Services Coordinator at Halcyon House, said that Kathy is a standout volunteer within the community. She stops by almost daily to ask how she can be of service to the management staff and her fellow residents at Halcyon House. She delivers meals to handicapped residents who are unable to leave their rooms, she’s served breakfast and lunch in the dining hall, and she helps handout newsletters, program notifications, and put notices up in the community.
After discussing the possibility of visiting the Denver Zoo with Kathy, Katie said that she’s never seen Kathy so excited about something before. To Kathy, this simple request meant so much more to her than a casual trip to the zoo – it was the realization of a lifelong desire, one that was disrupted by an unfortunate upbringing and a constant struggle with finances.
On December 15th, 2016, Katie, Kathy, and Wish of a Lifetime staff members visited the Denver Zoo for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience. The day started off with a giraffe feeding, followed by a meeting with the Western Lowland Gorilla and Sumatran Orangutan zoo keepers, and then a feeding with the Eastern Bongos and Cape Buffalo. Kathy’s group was chauffeured through the zoo on a golf cart, which helped them make the most of their time at the zoo. After the behind-the-scenes tour, Kathy was not finished! She walked around the zoo to see the exhibits that she missed on the tour. Thanks to the Denver Zoo for making Kathy’s Wish an experience to remember.