“Rehersing For Life” Help Teens Get Their Act Together Casa Milagro

By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

Teen lives will be changed forever and for the better this December through interactive theatre training at Winter Park provided by Casa Milagro (Miracle House) Youth Solutions. This unique organization has for 10 years has inspired youths to change negative experiences in their lives into positive behaviors as they take on the challenges of life moving forward. Your help through your donations will help turn bad experiences into good ones. (see link below)

Millie Duran, Executive Director and founder of Casa Milagro Youth Solutions

Millie Duran, Executive Director Casa Milagro Youth Solutions, said the non-profit organization was developed from the need for positive resources for children and teens afflicted by direct or indirect physical, mental, emotional, sexual, verbal, substance, and alcohol abuses and child neglect. These abuses can be attributed to domestic violence, teen violence, bullying, elderly abuse, gang violence, and juvenile violence. Perpetrators can be family, friends, neighbors, persons of trust, strangers or enemies. Youth witnesses to domestic violence and abused children are more likely to enter into relationships as they grow up, as victims or to become abusers, thus continuing the cycle of violence. Social and economic conditions play a corresponding role in the recurring cycle. Through healing theatre and role-playing, youth are provided tools and avenues to confront issues in an engaging, supportive space.

In December Casa Milagro is going to hold a Teen Engagement Workshop in Winter Park and taking 40 youth to be trained on the Forum Theater techniques. They will be training and developing youth to perform, as they do, for their organizations.

Interactive Performances Include

  • Teen Dating Violence Teen Dating Violence
  • Gang Intervention
  • Bullying
  • Disrespecting Other Genders

Duran said “We began 10 years ago after being inspired at a workshop of Augusto Boal, a Brazilian Theater Director who developed Forum Theater and Theater of the Oppressed.  We saw the need to reach our disenfranchised youth, providing them with the opportunity to express issues, feelings, and emotions.  Pregones Puerto Rican Theater had developed a program with the Forum Theater techniques, and they invited Boal to see their work.  Boal acknowledged excellence in the Forum Theater Pregones was delivering.  We brought Pregones from the Bronx to train our actors and our Board Members.  Boal’s techniques were being utilized in over 70 countries throughout the world for its effectiveness in engaging positive options to negative situations in an interactive and fun approach.” 

Su Teatro Executive Director Tony Garcia talks about the Miracles happening at Casa Milagro.

Duran added, “With the abrupt onset of COVID-19 and the importance of continuing our work, we began a virtual pilot program and followed-up with an 8-session virtual program for the Conejos County youth of families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  This led to us being asked to take the Forum Theater curriculum to the Justice Heritage Academy in Antonito Colorado. We extended the Forum Theater to further reaches of rural Colorado.”  

Please consider a donation in support of Casa Milagro Youth Solutions and our continued work with our youth. 

Gene Lucero, A long time supporter of Casa Milagro Youth Solutions

Local entrepreneur Gene Lucero, said “Ten years ago, when Millie told me about this new non-profit organization she was developing, Casa Milagro Youth Solutions, I was intrigued.  Knowing that we definitely needed programs for our youth, I wanted to be supportive of this venture.  I had space in our building on 38th and Lowell, the Lucero Financial Group and offered Casa Milagro an office and space for their rehearsals and board meetings.  Patty Baca was instrumental in obtaining funding from the Colorado Trust to bring Pregones Puerto Rican Theater from the Bronx to train them on Augusto Boal’s Forum Theater techniques.  I was able to step in throughout the five days of their training.  It was fascinating to watch the Pregones’ theater group with their instruction and training.   Their performance of ‘Texting for Life’ on teen dating violence was unlike anything I had ever seen.  This interactive performance was absolutely compelling because it clearly touched everyone.   Their Joker, the facilitator, asked questions of the spectators, drawing on the emotions that surfaced at various points.  Then interestingly, the spectators provided responses and then were asked if they would step in and replace the oppressed actor with a change of response and behavior.  This process was captivating and encouraged more responses from the spectators. In addition to the games, they opened with, the entire program was a surprising experience to witness.  

As an organizer for the 38th Avenue Annual Festival.  I offered a table to Casa Milagro to share with the community about their programs.  We had a group of students volunteering to help with the event.  At various points during the festival, the North High students were taking part in some of the games Casa Milagro was presenting and it was clear that they all had a tremendous amount of fun in participating. 

Millie would tell me about the youth at different locations they presented at and the reactions and responses that they youth provided.  It was obvious that youth of all ages enjoyed Casa Milagro’s programs and the opportunity to share their ideas, was significant to them.  

Through these ten years I have watched Casa Milagro grow and extend their reach to as many organizations with youth as possible.  They are always adding new scripts with new topics, but real-life issues that the youth relate to.  I am always impressed with what they are adding or engaging in.  They went to train the Forum Theater techniques to the Justice Heritage Academy in Antonito, Colorado to provide a program for a town that has little resources, particularly for youth.  On their first visit there, Millie had an opportunity to talk to some of the Volunteer Fire and Emergency crew.  They talked about accidents where children were involved with family members.    In addition to their concern for youth, Casa Milagro also recognizes traumas children go through daily in their lives.  Casa Milagro took a supply of new stuffed animals to the Volunteer Fire Department on their next visit to provide to children in any traumatic situation they encounter. 

 There is a distinct need for this program, and we are 100% behind Casa Milagro.  

Erv Lucero, Owner of Nana’s Kitchen will be giving away bowls of posole during a fundraiser of Casa Milagro Sunday December 4th.

We are supporting them, this time, as a fundraiser for the Teen Engagement Workshop

I am asking you to make a donation to Casa Milagro Youth Solutions, this amazing organization that continues to put our youth on top of their priority list with every step they take.  Each and everyday counts, Tuesday December 6th” 

Click on the image below to make your donation