Our Mission Statement

Third Way Center offers truth and hope to the most vulnerable adolescents and their families with complex mental health issues, by helping them work towards trauma resolution and enabling them to become productive members of society.

Our History

Founded in 1970

Hildegard Messenbaugh, MD, a noted Denver psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Medical Center, was approached by concerned members of the community about the growing number of adolescents living on the streets.

Within the Denver Community

Many of these young people fled turbulent and traumatic family situations, had trouble with the law, or had recently left other institutional settings. With Dr. Messenbaugh’s guidance and the support of the Denver community, an alternative to homelessness for troubled youth was formed.

Third Way Center Helps

This third way grew from one shelter for troubled teens to a continuum of services, offering a path to healing and wholeness that we are today. For nearly half a century, Third Way Center has helped transform the lives of thousands of teens, empowering them to build better future lives for themselves.

Hildegard Messenbaugh

“Trauma is curable. It isn’t just suppressable or manageable, it’s really curable.”

Learn More About Us

People are the heart and soul of Third Way Center’s mission

Accreditations & Affiliations

CAFCA leaders in child welfare
CDE Colorado Department of Education
Colorado Department of Human Services
Council on Accreditation
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI)
Department of Housing and Urban Development

Community Partners

Youth On Record Community Partner
ARC Thrift Store Community Partner
Goodwill Community Partner