Listen: At Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, recent migrant arrivals are showcasing their skills and making a few dollars along the way

· Jan. 22, 2024, 8:03 pm
Janecy Rodriguez braids hair for Layla (5) as she and other asylum seekers run stalls to sell goods and make some money in an otherwise empty suite at Stanley Marketplace. Jan. 16, 2024.Janecy Rodriguez braids hair for Layla (5) as she and other asylum seekers run stalls to sell goods and make some money in an otherwise empty suite at Stanley Marketplace. Jan. 16, 2024.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Janecy Rodriguez braids hair for Layla (5) as she and other asylum seekers run stalls to sell goods and make some money in an otherwise empty suite at Stanley Marketplace. Jan. 16, 2024.

Bright green, blue and yellow dog leashes made of recycled climbing rope sat coiled and neatly arranged on a table inside of a Stanley Marketplace storefront. Behind it stood Cristian Bolivar, dressed in a graphic T-shirt and a pair of purple wired headphones snaked around his neck. He hoped the icy roads wouldn’t keep potential customers away.

Bolivar and other vendors, selling everything from arepas to keychains, are recent migrant arrivals who are trying their hands at entrepreneurship thanks to the help of local volunteers who put on “Finding Their Way,” a fundraiser that is being hosted inside Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the month of January.

The effort is meant to put to use the skillsets of migrants in need of work. Other services include dance classes, boxing lessons, and even hair braiding.

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