Our History

Since 1946, Denver Kids, Inc. has worked in partnership with the Rotary Club of Denver and Denver Public Schools (DPS) to support kindergarten through 12th-grade students in higher-risk environments – homelessness, poverty, attendance and behavioral challenges, single-guardian households – to help them graduate from high school, pursue post-secondary education and contribute to their communities. Today, more than 70 years later, Denver Kids continues to serve as a leader in youth development and dropout prevention, supporting more than 1,150 students in nearly 160 Denver Public Schools with Educational Counselors each year.

Founded as Denver Boys, Inc. in response to the aftermath of World War II and the growing prevalence of single-parent households. Boys were dropping out of school to help support their families when their fathers did not return home from the war. In order to combat this growing trend, Denver Boys, Inc. supported youth to gain employment while completing their high school educations.

By 1970, the rise in teen pregnancy and an increase in drug abuse and juvenile crime among girls made it increasingly apparent that female students were also in need of counseling, mentoring, and educational opportunities.  That year, Denver Girls, Inc. was founded by the Zonta Club of Denver and the Junior League, with the support of the Rotary Club of Denver and Denver Public Schools.

In 1993, recognizing that together they would be more effective and could reach far more students, the two organizations merged, becoming Denver Kids, Inc.

Serving both boys and girls in Denver Public Schools, Denver Kids, Inc., continued to impact youth and bolster graduation outcomes through empowering one-to-one relationships and interventions.

In 2019, Denver Kids, Inc. and Denver Urban Scholars merged, bridging nearly 100 years of collective mentoring and youth development experience, with the goal of improving outcomes and opportunities for children and teens by supporting them to make it to and through high school, prepared for what comes next.

With the combined expertise, Denver Kids, Inc. serves students starting in third grade and into post-secondary.

While the circumstances for youth have changed over the past seven decades, students’ needs are the same as they were in the early days of the program. They need someone to believe in them, to set expectations and hold them accountable to meet those expectations. They need attention, time, structure, love and respect. At Denver Kids, Inc., we work everyday to meet these needs.

Core Values

Integrity
We are truthful, equitable, and accountable in words and actions – even when it is hard.

Learning
We foster an environment of continuous learning with a growth mindset and train staff to be their very best.

Excellence
We focus on evaluating and strengthening our impact to be a center of excellence.

Leadership
We actively listen with curiosity, welcome feedback, practice empathy and hold each other accountable to bring out the best in others and ourselves.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
We develop respectful relationships by embracing all individuals with their unique backgrounds and contributions on our path towards equity.