Third Way Center is not the place I would have voluntarily chosen as my home as a teenager, but it was the best place for me to be at one of the darkest times in my life.
I’m writing to you today, nearly 20 years later, asking you to join me in helping teens who are in that same dark place - by giving them the opportunity to change who their past has destined them to be.
My story starts with the trauma of physical and emotional abuse at an early age. To be fair, my parents had trauma of their own. My father was a Vietnam veteran who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mother struggled with mental illness. Their personal demons made it impossible for them to provide me with the safe, stable home children need. I had no direction, no stability and no hope for something better. I was left to make my own self-destructive choices.
After I was removed from my parents’ home, no one in the foster homes and youth corrections facilities where I was placed asked about the trauma I had endured. Instead, the emphasis was on the mistakes I had made and encouraging me not to repeat them. In some of those places, I learned new ways to make my life more difficult from people who were in situations similar to mine.
Then I arrived at Third Way Center. I learned that I had the power to build a better life for myself. I was given the help I needed to overcome my trauma, learn new skills, and recognize the power I had to make better choices. For the first time in my young life, I could see new opportunities and new potential and most importantly a positive future.
Today, I am an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army, a successful entrepreneur, business owner, and leader of the #1 Keller Williams Real Estate Team in Central Colorado. I give back as a community volunteer and member of Denver Active 20/30 Foundation. I have surrounded myself with intelligent, successful, supportive, caring people who have much in common with the person I am today. If it hadn’t been for the staff and programs at Third Way Center, my resume would read much differently. It’s terrifying to think where I may have ended up.
And that’s why I’m writing to you today - asking you to invest in hundreds of other teens who are in a dark place similar to where I was nearly 20 years ago. They are at that point in their lives where they can either believe their past has destined them to pain and failure or recognize they have the ability to build a successful future.
I will never regain my lost childhood and nothing will make up for those painful early years of my life, but every day I’m living to my potential, working to make our community a better place, and helping to give the teens at Third Way Center a chance to follow in my footsteps.
Please join me by making a tax deductible contribution to Third Way Center. Your gift helps young people today so they can help make the future of our community better for all of us.
The Bartic Group