Denver Kids, Inc.

Denver Kids helps students in Denver Public Schools, who face the challenges of higher-risk environments, successfully complete high school, pursue post-secondary options, and become contributing members of the community.

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Educational Counseling

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Families
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Our core service is one-on-one Educational Counseling. We provide this year-round program to over 1,150 Kindergarten-12th grade students in over 160 Denver Public Schools, averaging six to seven years with each graduate. It is not uncommon for Denver Kids Educational Counselors to serve as one of the most supportive adult relationships in our students' lives. They function as resource navigators, advocates, and the bridge between school and home. Educational Counselors personally see each student on their caseload twice each month, and more when needed. The Educational Counselor also meets with others in the school and community who can positively support the student, such as teachers, school administration, coaches, therapists, etc. and help them all work together toward the student's goals. Denver Kids' case management model is successful because of functionality, fluidity, and adaptability of the program, which allows each intervention to be tailored to the challenges and potential of each student. Examples of interventions include: establishing academic goals and accountability with students; navigating the DPS school choice process; advocating for special education testing; establishing incentive programs for improved grades, attendance, and behavior; and facilitating career shadowing and exploration of post-secondary education opportunities. Because we are committed to holistic, comprehensive support for each student, we also have four areas of wrap-around focus for our Educational Counseling program: Volunteer Mentoring, Future Options (post-secondary guidance and workforce readiness), Student Engagement (enrichment opportunities outside of school), and Parent Engagement (empowerment for parents to be engaged in their child's educational success).

The counselor works with students, parents, and teachers to connect students to necessary resources and to be their advocate. The counselor functions as both a link and a mediator with school staff so that the students can (1) understand what is expected; (2) have someone to help them learn to be responsible; and (3) be supported in their efforts to achieve academic success.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

DPS is the fastest-growing urban school district in the country, serving 90,000 students. Of these students, 72% live near or below the poverty line, with over 1,800 more students living in poverty added each year. Poverty is the number one risk factor for academic failure. In DPS, freshman students of color living in poverty graduate only 50% of the time. When served by Denver Kids, the odds rise to 3 in 4. The majority of our graduates are the first in their families to graduate high school and more than 90% go on to pursue a post-secondary option.

The long-term goal is to empower our students to become contributing members of the community and end the cycle of generational poverty one family at a time. It is a critical mission for them and for our local economy.

Mentoring Program

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Families
General Public/Unspecified
Single Parents
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Denver Kids, Inc. offers a one-on-one mentoring program to enhance and support the work done by our Educational Counselors and ensure the care and development of the whole student. Denver Kids, Inc. students are referred for a mentor by their assigned educational counselor.

Individuals wishing to volunteer who are 16-18 years of age qualify for our Junior Mentor Program. These students are required to complete an application, initial interview, driving record screening, provide three adult references, attend a New Mentor Training and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Individuals wishing to volunteer who are over the age of 18 qualify for our Adult Mentor Program. These individuals are required to complete an application, an interview, fingerprinting through FBI and NCMEC databases, driving record screening, provide three personal and business references and attend a New Mentor Training.

Denver Kids, Inc. offers ongoing support to our mentors for their relationship with their student through the work of the assigned educational counselor. In addition, mentors are supported administratively by way of a monthly volunteer newsletter. This provides information on all upcoming events and activities along with additional resources and ideas available for mentors and students for community engagement. Denver Kids, Inc. offers planned activities for mentors and students to participate in together and separately, offering them a means of building community with other Denver Kids, Inc. students and mentors.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2017-18, Denver Kids had over 250 mentors.

Future Options Program

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

The Future Options Program at Denver Kids, Inc. exists to present post-secondary options to all students participating in Denver Kids, Inc. Post-secondary options include vocational programs, programs offering certificate degrees and two and four-year degrees. Initially, the program works to expose all students to the option and possibility of college through college campus tours, one-on-one discussions and educating parents on the importance of college and how to navigate the process.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2017-2018, Denver Kids had a 79% high school graduation and completion rate last year with 96% of those graduate pursuing post-secondary education.

Student Engagment

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

The Student Engagment program provides opportunities for our students to engage in learning outside of the classroom. The intention is to offer students activities where they can gain life skills, learn valuable lessons, and become contributing members of their community. All events offer our students a variety of opportunities to engage with others in a positive way and to learn and experience new things that will help them grow into well-rounded, responsible people.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

• Denver Kids Educational Counselors served 1,150 students in 2016-2017. Each student interacts with their Educational Counselor at least twice a month. The Educational Counselors, in conjunction with the Enrichment Services programs (Volunteer Mentoring, Future Options, and Parent & Student Engagement) coordinates opportunities for students to experience additional post-secondary opportunities, college campus tours, summer camps and programming, and after-school activities.
• The Denver Kids summer programming engages students, providing Denver Kids led activities and partnered with different community organizations to ensure that our students were engaged, safe, and learning.
• Denver Kids continues to maintain (including recruitment and retention) over 250 mentors per year.
• Post-secondary guidance and career exploration assistance is provided to all Denver Kids high school students.

Parent Engagement Program

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Single Parents
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Denver Kids provides a support system to our students' families, encouraging participation in their children's education as well as maintaining a home environment that facilitates learning. This may include helping parents navigate the school choice system, learning how to advocate for their child's learning needs, and understand the transition process into middle school and high school. In addition, our Parent Liaison serves as an excellent resource for information on parenting classes and support groups, community resources, and one-on-one support in times of crisis and transition.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

• Denver Kids Educational Counselors served 1,150 students in 2016-2017. Each student interacts with their Educational Counselor at least twice a month. The Educational Counselors, in conjunction with the Enrichment Services programs (Volunteer Mentoring, Future Options, and Parent & Student Engagement) coordinates opportunities for students to experience additional post-secondary opportunities, college campus tours, summer camps and programming, and after-school activities.
• The Denver Kids summer programming engages students, providing Denver Kids led activities and partnered with different community organizations to ensure that our students were engaged, safe, and learning.
• Denver Kids continues to maintain (including recruitment and retention) over 250 mentors per year.
• Post-secondary guidance and career exploration assistance is provided to all Denver Kids high school students.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.