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One Good Turn

Offering dignification

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; photo courtesy of One Good Turn

One Good Turn nonprofit

Pictured above are Rock Canyon High School students, Kaylee Mejia (left) and Sophia Sobota (right) working in the kitchen at Café 180 as part of their Senior Studies class.


Driving around the metro area it is not uncommon to see someone at a street corner holding a sign asking for money. It happens frequently outside of Castle Pines and recently has been a topic of conversation here in the city (see related article on page 6). One Good Turn, a local nonprofit in the Denver area, has been helping members of low-income, marginalized communities for the past nine years.

The mission behind the nonprofit is to help those with barriers to employment, whether that be related to language, mental health, homelessness or other disabilities. According to the website, One Good Turn looks to help “members of the community achieve long-term self-sufficiency by providing access to resources and by providing an empowering and inclusive environment that fosters connection and recognizes that everyone has something to offer.”

One Good Turn does this work through its four branches, Café 180, Housing 180, Jobs 180 and Counseling 180, each offering access to healthy meals, affordable housing, job training and counseling. The premise behind each entity is to provide these services in exchange for volunteer services completed by the individual seeking help.

Executive Director Sarah Lesyinski feels so strongly about what is happening at One Good Turn, they coined a word that describes the work perfectly, dignification. What this means is that “everyone has value and a place,” said Lesyinski. “Everyone has something to give and receive,” she continued.

It all started with the restaurant, Café 180. Diners pay what they can afford. If that is nothing, they can volunteer for an hour cleaning windows, sweeping or other necessary tasks. Daily, the restaurant runs with two paid staff members and ten volunteers. The volunteers can come from high school students (see related article page 31), those in need of community services hours, individuals seeking job training through state transition services, court mandated work programs and others looking to help a good cause.

With the restaurant’s success and the homeless population on the rise in the Denver metropolitan area, the other branches of One Good Turn were put in place.

Lesyinski, said that 90% of the people they help are experiencing some degree of homelessness. She attributes this to the ever growing number of people moving to the area and the ever increasing prices of the housing market.

On January 23, One Good Turn will introduce the newest branch of its philanthropic endeavors through Counseling 180, with the grand opening of Shyft. Mental health challenges, unemployment and homelessness are often related. The mission behind Shyft is to help individuals incorporate mindfulness, self-learning and life skills. Workshops and classes will teach hard and soft job skills, life skills, programs for self-learning and insight, yoga for somatic awareness and trauma sensitive yoga, leadership support and others. As with all branches of One Good Turn, services are offered on a sliding financial scale.

To learn more about One Good Turn, visit



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