Erin Porteous has been a vital part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver’s leadership since 2006. Named Chief Executive Officer in 2016 at just 34 years old, she has worked relentlessly to increase nonprofit visibility and inspire community investment by building and expanding on the organization’s programming, financial support initiatives, and partner engagement strategies.
In Erin’s words:
I envision the work we do as leveling the playing field for all kids. Kids are all born with a different set of cards, and some are dealt a really tough hand to play. As leaders, coaches, mentors, and guides, it is our job at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver to use our dedication, resources, and passion to open doors for kids and with kids.
As an emerging thought leader, Erin is a former recipient of Denver Business Journal’s “Top 40 under 40,” a member of the Young Presidents Organization, and was a featured contributor in the 2019 Biennial of the Americas, penning an article detailing the importance of social empathy for kids today.
In addition to her professional endeavors here at home, Erin is fiercely committed to helping those in need across the globe and has served through humanitarian and volunteer work in South Africa and Brazil. She is also a life-long reader and now spends countless afternoons exploring Denver’s public libraries with her two young daughters.
What's the last great book you read?
What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. At Boys & Girls Clubs, many of our young members have faced a myriad of obstacles in their young lives. Dr. Perry's illustrative and uncomplicated narrative helps inform the way we think about trauma and frame the way we build our programs for kids.
What are you currently reading?
Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
What kind of reader were you as a child?
Every summer my parents required that my brother and I read ten books before we went back to school (my dad was a teacher, and I'm thinking that had something to do with it!). At the beginning of summer, it always seemed like a daunting task, but by the end I was grateful to be immersed in so many types of stories and tales. Roald Dahl was one of my favorites!
How do you currently use Denver Public Library?
The library is a weekly field trip in our household with two little ones under the age of five. From the interactive music classes and Storytimes they host to pajama readings in the evening for tots to open play areas for little ones to explore and discover, Denver Public Library provides endless hours of entertainment and enriching learning for my daughters (and me).
What do you think is the most important role of public libraries in our current time?
In a way, our public libraries are much like our Boys & Girls Clubs: safe spaces to explore new worlds, try new things, and go on adventures of the imagination. Libraries are absolutely essential for our children, particularly in communities that have historically been under-resourced. Our libraries play a central part in ensuring equitable access to information in our communities. They also make sure every child has the opportunity to experience the joy of reading.
What is the role of public libraries for the kids, families, and communities you serve at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver?
Public libraries are hubs of information and exploration for the communities we serve, particularly for those with less access to outside-of-school enrichment activities. A good portion of Denver – and Colorado, for that matter – does not have consistent and reliable Wi-Fi, so libraries not only open worlds through books but also open the door to a world of information through the internet. Public libraries go so far beyond being an “optional” resource. In communities across Denver, libraries offer non-negotiable resources that help level the playing field for all kids and families.
Does Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver have a relationship with Denver Public Library?
Yes! And it is one we are very grateful for. We have worked alongside the City and County of Denver on the Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD) program, serving on the planning committee along with DPL and several local nonprofits. Together, we worked to bring local authors into our Clubs, which was an incredible experience for our members. We were also thrilled to host the DPL mobile library in the last couple of years, where our kids had the chance to pick out several free books and also received STEM kits! DPL is incredibly creative and generous in their work through myriad ways that span beyond their brick-and-mortar buildings.
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