Beginning in a small house on the corner of Welton and 28th, Founder, Nikki Cady, and one intern, Blaine Heydt, offered after school programming for about thirty local youth. From the start, Heart & Hand was known as a place where young people could show up, receive a high five or a hug, get something to eat, and feel safe. What began as peanut butter sandwiches and art projects, quickly grew into structured comprehensive after school programming offered at schools throughout Northeast Denver.
Over the last decade Heart & Hand has expanded services to include elementary and middle school programming, a college and career mentoring program and family support. We have reached over 1,000 lives in our community and support over 225 students in our after school and summer programs.
The youth and families served by Heart & Hand confront many economic, social, and political challenges, yet they come from a vibrantly diverse community. Heart & Hand's program participants represent the following demographics:
88% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
50% of families live in households with incomes under $25,000
97% of students' families utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
31% of students have a parent or guardian who has been incarcerated
97% are students of color
37% of families list sticking together or unity as one of their strengths