Founded in 1988, Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation (CIHAD), educates and empowers youth to achieve their greatest dreams by leveling the playing field to opportunities. CIHAD helps to close the educational gap by providing individualized social, emotional, and academic support to youth in under-resourced communities. By leveraging proven methods accounting for the whole child and by giving youth equal access to the resources they need to succeed, they can see more possibilities, ignite their innate potential, and attain their dreams.
CIHAD removes barriers to academic success from kindergarten to career through a comprehensive support model focused on four key components:
- Mental Health and Social-Emotional Support
- Extended Learning Programs
- Workforce Development and Post-Secondary Support
- Family and Community Engagement
In 1981, Eugene Lang, a wealthy New York philanthropist, returned to his former elementary school in Harlem to speak at a sixth grade graduation ceremony. He knew many of the young graduates faced a difficult future. He didn't fully understand just how difficult, until, as he walked to the podium, the principal noted that only 25% of the students he was about to speak to would ever graduate from high school. Stunned, Lang tossed out his prepared speech and instead made an impromptu pledge to provide college tuition to each of the sixth graders who graduated from high school. The philanthropist later expanded his offer to also provide the students with a range of comprehensive support services. The experiment paid off; six years later, 90% of the students in that first sixth grade class graduated from high school.
News of this remarkable story soon spread across the country. One of those who heard about the project was Chris Romer, (son of Colorado's then-governor, Roy Romer). Chris, realizing that a similar program could help address Denver's student dropout problems, helped establish CIHAD in 1988.
"CIHAD is always there, you help me when no one else will. You push me to be successful." - Chantel Ramirez, Denver Active 20/30 Class of 2006
"In retrospect, the lessons I learned from Colorado I Have a Dream have been instrumental in my success during my childhood and beyond. They are values I will transcend to my mentees, friends and family. The Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation changed my life for the better and I am thankful and proud to be an alumnus of such program that holds all its dreamers to the highest standards." - Omolayo Dada, Rocky Mountain Class of '09