For 35 years, Colorado UpLift has been building long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth. During the 2015-2016 school year, UpLift reached more than 5,600 kids and anticipates growing that number to nearly 6,000 in 2017. We are also proud to say that as of January 2016, we are serving Aurora Public Schools in addition to Denver Public Schools.
Since 2008, Denver’s at-risk youth population has increased approximately 50%. In fact, of the 29 school served by Colorado UpLift, over half are among the lowest rated schools in our district according to the School Performance Framework. Colorado UpLift students also live in the highest crime rate neighborhoods in Denver. Twenty-three out of the 29 schools served by Colorado UpLift have a higher mobility rate than the average Denver Public School (DPS), leading to inconsistency in a child’s life. This third-party research underscores the challenges our staff face everyday working with inner-city, at-risk youth.
In 2013, the Middle School Initiative (MSI) was launched to increase Colorado UpLift’s presence with DPS middle school students by hiring additional full-time staff to teach accredited classes five days a week. This has significantly increased weekly contact to over 60 middle school classes a week, and added new students to the program. In fall of 2016, East Middle School became the first middle school from Aurora Public Schools to join UpLift.
The strong leadership serving on Colorado UpLift’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Development Board has allowed us to continue growing this organization. We are also fortunate to have a group of professionals on our management team, along with passionate and accomplished teacher/mentors who regularly comment, “this is what I’m meant to do.” We are breaking generational cycles of poverty and failure, and providing opportunities for students to set goals they never dreamed possible, giving them hope and encouragement for a better life.