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Nonprofit helps single parents get a college degree

Warren Village partners with Community College of Denver to create pathway towards college degrees

DENVER — When Megan Moriah Jule came to Warren Village, she was eight months pregnant with her second child and didn't see much of a future ahead.

"I didn't really have a lot of confidence in myself and I didn't really think I was smart enough to go back to college," Jule said.

Warren Village is a nonprofit dedicated to helping single-parent families succeed by educating the kids while supporting the parents living in apartments on its Denver campus.

"I didn't have a place to call home for a while and this is my home," Jule said. "I treasure it and it's everything to me."

Five years ago, Warren Village partnered with the Community College of Denver to help people like Jule go to college with hopes of obtaining a degree.

"We realized five years ago that increasing evidence was showing that our residents, once they left us, were not faring as well when it came to income and their overall future," said Ethan Hemming, the CEO of Warren Village.

College to Career allows parents like Jule to attend introductory courses across the street from Warren Village in the administration offices before going to the Auraria campus to enroll in more intensive classes. 

Hemming said with the kids safely learning at Warren Village, their single parents can overcome the barrier of childcare and tuition costs.

"And, there's other barriers: Transportation, resources, support, homework help, all those things, our family services team helps with," Hemming said.

Jule is studying to become a nurse.

"How can I help my children reach their own goals if I haven't reached my own," Jule said.

Ruthanne Orihuela is the provost and vice president of academic affairs for the Community College of Denver.

"We help students figure out where they are, no matter where they are, what their next steps are and help them move through it," Orihuela said.

She said College to Career is changing the trajectory of people's entire families.

"Taking those first steps, making choices for their family and for their family's future that are going to have impacts multiple generations from now," Orihuela said. "So, it's one success upon the other and from hope to empowerment."

Now people like Jule can believe they have a future.

"Life is so much brighter than it was even two years ago," Jule said.

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