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Denver nonprofit hoping to make a positive impact in schools

City Year Denver connects students with success coaches to help them achieve their goals in school and in life.

DENVER — A Denver nonprofit is helping students feel welcomed and connected to their school communities.

City Year Denver serves more than 500 students across seven schools in Denver Public Schools. They use Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, which is a student-centered learning model that emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school. 

Through this, City Year Denver's goal is to have students connect with success coaches who are between the ages of 18 and 25.

"They feel a lot more comfortable I think to come to you with social problems, emotional problems…they feel more like you can relate to them because you won’t judge them because you’re also younger," said Whitney Watson Grant, a math student success coach for City Year Denver. 

Even the teachers at the schools see the difference in having someone younger connect with the students. 

"As someone who’s been in education for almost 30 years, I have a different relationship with kids, but when you have someone who’s a few years older than you that have recently come out of what you are experiencing, they listen to them a little bit more sometimes," said Dr. Darkeri Davis, the principal at George Washington High School 

The goal of the coaches is to help students build on their strengths and develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life. 

"Sometimes teachers…they think in their perspective and having this ‘young adult’ people, it's really helpful because they kind of understand us," said Veronica Espina, a freshman at George Washington High School.

According to the nonprofit's website, 88% of City Year Denver partnered schools improved the DPS performance framework rating from 2014-2017.

The City Year program is now in more than 29 cities, including Washington DC, Los Angeles, Tampa and more. 



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