DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Kids Inc. is a local non-profit organization that’s helping to alleviate the dropout problem in Denver Public Schools.

Evelyn Orozco is a high school senior that has been put on a promising path.

“It has helped me since seventh grade, helping with college and family problems, and they are focused on you,” said Orozco.

She is one of about 1,000 Denver Public Schools students from at-risk backgrounds who are provided with an educational counselor from Denver Kids Inc.

The counselor stays with them for years helping with school, family issues, navigating social problems and making sure they don’t drop out.

“I love the fact she is one who makes me realize I need to get stuff done — college apps, ‘How are your grades, why don’t you get it up?’ “, Orozco said. “It makes me feel like someone actually cares.”

In Orozco’s case, that someone is Denise Flanders, one of 30 counselors with Denver Kids Inc.

“They should all have a chance. We’re giving Evelyn that chance, that support she needs and hope to get more kids,” said Flanders.

Evelyn is on track to be the first in her family to go to college, and the first in her family to graduate from high school.

The Denver Kids Inc. program is working. Approximately 90 percent of its kids graduate high school, way above the DPS average.

“We’re going to change the conversation on the dropout crisis. It’s solvable inside our lifetime,” said Glenna Norvelle from Denver Kids Inc.

“It’s estimated every dropout costs our community hundreds of thousands of dollars in welfare payments, unemployment costs and criminal justice dollars — money we save when these kids make it to the finish line.”

Orozco’s future, and the future of many others, is in focus thanks to Denver Kids Inc. building relationships and success stories.

“She helps me with everything. She is there for me she’ll talk to me,” said Orozco.

“I’m her cheerleader, I’m her paid cheerleader is who I am. She is an inspiration, she has done more to inspire me than I could ever do for her,” said Flanders.

Orozco will graduate next spring. She plans to become an FBI profiler.

Denver Kids Inc. administrators believe there are thousands more DPS students who could use their help.

LINK | Denver Kids Inc. Website


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