Dear Team DPS,
In DPS and across our city, we want to do everything we can to connect our students to school and community programs that are enriching and safe. And it’s especially important in combating issues of youth violence, which have recently been affecting neighborhoods in Far Northeast and Southwest Denver.
That’s why Mayor Michael B. Hancock and I joined forces yesterday to announce that the City of Denver will be matching our district’s $100,000 commitment — for a total of $200,000 in new microgrant funding to engage community partners in the effort to help end youth violence in Denver.
Our city-schools partnership is an investment in afterschool programs, pop-up community events, additional support staff, extracurricular educational opportunities, trips to explore the great outdoors and other activities to promote safe and healthy youth development. This funding is just one piece of a community-wide effort to do more to reach out and care for our young people.
In DPS, we recently released an application for the Extra-Curricular, Well-Being, or Academic Opportunities for Students grant, which will provide additional funding to schools to enhance or expand school-based services through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Through this program, teachers and principals can apply for up to $5,000 to support youth programming.
Effective afterschool programs can improve classroom behavior, school attendance and future outlook, and can reduce the likelihood that a student will drop out. And crucially, participation in afterschool programs has been associated with reduced drug use and reduced criminal behavior.
The City of Denver’s microgrants are focused on boosting summer engagement services for youth. Teachers, principals, community organizations and community members can apply for up to $10,000 from Denver’s Public Safety Youth Programs to offer safe and healthy activities for students.
In addition, the city will also be waiving event fees for funded programs that may occur in city facilities, including recreation centers and parks.
“Keeping all of Denver’s young people healthy and safe is one of our most important duties as a school district and as a city. With summer quickly approaching, we have an opportunity to get resources out into the community to support enhanced programming in partnership with Denver Public Schools,” Mayor Hancock said. “This is one more step in the city’s commitment to not only reduce youth violence, but enrich the lives of our young people.”
On behalf of DPS, I’m grateful to Mayor Hancock and the City of Denver for their partnership in expanding and strengthening our outreach to children and families. Together, we must all wrap our arms around our community and do everything possible to keep all of our kids safe.