Customer Photo of Alex Castro

Alex Castro

Founder of Life Recovery Centers in Denver, Colorado

For 12 years, Alex Castro worked as a juvenile probation officer in Denver’s Drug Court and as a sex-trafficking diversion officer for the District Attorney’s Office. He likens the impact of that work to applying a Band-Aid to a gaping wound. He knew he could make a bigger difference.

“Being an immigrant, LGBTQ, bilingual, bicultural and educated, I have many gifts to offer and feel called to do this,” Alex says.

Motivated to provide bilingual mental health services that focus on an individual’s trauma recovery — rather than past mistakes — Alex bought Life Recovery Centers in 2015. In the business’ first year, Alex refinanced his home, obtained a loan from DreamSpring for startup costs, and drew no salary. For income, he continued working in the Denver justice system until his business gained enough traction.
“DreamSpring has supported me 100 percent from the beginning. Other lenders would not qualify me because I didn’t have a business plan. When I told DreamSpring my goal and what I was about, they approved me, and I’ve worked with them ever since.”

Come 2020, Alex had moved the business from a shared workspace to his own 1,300-square-foot office. Five full-time employees and 12 trauma-trained contract clinicians were serving about 350 clients weekly. But the waiting list was growing, as economically vulnerable families — particularly families of color — were disproportionately affected by the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, dramatically increasing need.  

Throughout the pandemic-related challenges of the last few years, Alex credits his success and survival to DreamSpring and the two $23,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans it provided. The funding helped Alex retain employees, hire additional contractors for the increased caseload, pay for a telehealth portal for virtual treatment, and become credentialed to accept all major insurance companies and Medicaid.