When asked what kept her going through tough times in high school, 18-year-old Rosmina Garcia started to cry and she explained her relationship with Education Counselor of seven years, Debbie Dawson-Thomas. “One night she came over to my house and she stayed for hours and just talked to me. I had only been in the program for 2 years and she was automatically there for me and would just let me cry with her. She has been a big support system, I call her ‘Auntie Debbie!’” She continues, “These relationships are what make Denver Kids special. Denver Kids doesn’t just help you with school, it helps you with everything.” Rosmina joined Denver Kids in 6th grade and recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson School. Last fall she started a new chapter in her life at the University of Northern Colorado and where she is studying Speech Pathology.
Rosmina was raised by her biological parents for a short time before moving in with her grandmother, who sometimes housed up to 15 family members at once. Fiercely independent from an early age, Rosmina reminisces on elementary school mornings where she would wake herself up for school in an effort to escape the crowded house. No one at home cared whether or not she went to school, but even as a little girl she knew school meant guaranteed food and safety. Once she started 5th grade she admits school became less of a priority; however, after joining Denver Kids, Inc. that quickly changed. “The desire to do well in school was probably the biggest difference I saw in myself after joining Denver Kids. I would always think, ‘What if Debbie comes in and sees me today? I have to be on top of things!’”
“And she was!” says her Education Counselor, Debbie-Dawson Thomas. “She was one of the most responsible students I have ever had in 27 years,” Thomas reflects.
“I’m big on not fostering co-dependency, and Denver Kids does not do that. This is a person who was made to realize the gifts that she has. I would argue Denver Kids recognizes all our students’ gifts and we help them, in turn, to recognize them too.”