To provide access to quality educational programming and enhance opportunities for enrichment through a variety of neighborhood programs for the increased success of children, youth, and families of northwest Denver. Northwest Denver Neighborhood Center Friends, (Friends) brings innovative programs to northwest Denver Public Schools, both by delivering them ourselves and helping develop and support other services that let our youth be successful in school and in life.
Northwest Denver Neighborhood Center Friends, (Friends) serves as a non-profit hub for fostering quality emergent and innovative educational and enrichment programming for in-school, after-school and summer programs for youth in Northwest Denver.
Friends has evolved from an advisory board into non-profit organization, formally incorporated in Colorado in February of 2012. It was initially created to bring in extra funding for the Neighborhood Center at Skinner Middle School. It has evolved into an organization that helps passionate principals, teachers, volunteers, and community businesses fund projects and develop programs for youth in the Northwest Denver community.
Friends has expanded to now encompasses a portfolio of programs:
Two pre-collegiate programs:
● The academic year pre-collegiate College 4-Y.O.U. program. College 4-Y.O.U. consists of weekly classes and college field trips each month. Research shows that a student's likelihood of going to college greatly increases if the student has physically set foot on a campus.
● The S.A.F.E. Camps: four week-long onsite summer college programs. The camp activities focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), with an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking. Camps feature academic activities, such as health science experiments, mechanical and biomedical engineering projects, and business plan development and presentation, to name a few.
The Neighborhood Center at Skinner highlights these programs.
● Aced It! (Tutoring/Homework help) and its attendance, grades and behavioral incentive program.
● Girls On The Run (GOTR) is an empowerment fitness program for girls.
● Community Connects introduces our students to the academic and vocational opportunities through hands on visits with local business connections.
● STEM Scouts introduces our youth to the STEM world by using experiments and development through professionals in related fields
● GOSH CAUSE - This offering provides support for teenage girls and boys. It focuses on self-image, self-reliance and social interactions through student led dialogue and exercises.
● Cooking teaches practical life skills and promotes health and good nutrition.
● Gardening - Students work alongside community volunteers to prepare, plant, and maintain Skinner's community garden.
Friends also supports the following projects;
● Career Education Center Middle College workforce apprenticeships
● Skinner principal-directed student incentives
● Teacher classroom resource support
Our after school program is offered throughout the school year for a total of 36 weeks, 13 hours per week and is open to all Skinner students. School-year programming is conducted between 3 and 5 pm. A typical day begins with healthy snacks. Students then move on to one of several offerings for that day.
Participating students consistently score between 8 - 12 percentage points higher on state tests in the areas of language arts, science, and math, than the overall school population. They also average a 10% better attendance rate. We have tracked college exposure program students and based on one year's program, 29 of 30 attending students applied for college their senior year in high school, even at schools where this was not required.
These are all created to target needs identified by school administrations, staff, the Neighborhood Center at Skinner, and dedicated individuals concerned with the academic and social opportunities for the Northwest Denver community.
"Both of my kids at Skinner attended afterschool programs at the Neighborhood Center, supported by Friends. Thanks to their involvement, they were able to stay on top of all their assignments and not fall behind. The tutors are very supportive and caring. Also my kids had fun in the After Hours Program and for me it was a relief to know that they were safe if I was running late to pick them up. Thanks to the College 4-Y.O.U. Program, my two children, now entering their Junior and Sophomore years at North HS, left Skinner very focused on attending college with very good knowledge of how college works.They really enjoyed visiting different campuses once a month and also attended the Summer Pre-Collegiate S.A.F.E Camps. They learned about many options of how they can pay for college, career paths and college life. Now I have an incoming 6th grader at Skinner and we are really excited to start all over again!"
~ Clarissa Fierro