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Tennyson’s Legacy

By: Bob Cooper

Tennyson Center for Children has been a major part of my life since 1971. When I arrived as a recent college graduate in the fall of that year, Don Brewer had been leading this children’s home for over a year and was transitioning it from an orphanage to a treatment center for neglected and abused children.

Don had the vision to see this home, founded in 1904, as an agency designed to meet the needs of children in 1971. In a way, this was nothing new for Colorado Christian Home. The founders, John and Mary Warren, had originally envisioned a training school on their farm in Loveland, Colorado. After a few short years, they realized the current needs of children: a safe place to live in Denver, Colorado.

When Don arrived in 1970, he saw a landscape of children’s services in which orphanages were closing left and right. At one time there had been 14 church-related orphanages in Denver. By the time he arrived, only two remained. Don guided the Board to see the current needs of children in our community and set out to create programming and funding to meet those needs.

From the mid-1980s through 2014, first as Program Director and then following Don as the Executive, I tried to emulate his visionary work as we created programs for families and children in Community Based Services (CBS).

What I have always appreciated about the Tennyson Center community is the Board, staff, and supporters and their willingness to change and adapt to whatever needs child and families present — and to create programs to meet those needs. Change is hard. It can be very unsettling. Old ways are familiar. We can learn new and better ways of serving when we are open to it.

I love watching the Tennyson Center staff and the Board embracing new and exciting ways of serving children and families. They are doing visionary, ground-breaking work that continues a legacy of leadership in the field of child and family services. I especially love the thousands of people in our community who so generously share their time, talents, and treasure to make it all possible.


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