DENVER (CBS4) – City Year Denver, a nonprofit that helps underserved public school students in Denver, hopes an annual giving day in Colorado will help fund its efforts and increase its profile.

The organization runs on a $3.2 million budget. But its director says Colorado Gives Day, an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online giving, makes a significant difference in the organization’s coffers.

“We get about half of our support from the private sector, so on a day like Colorado Gives Day, the opportunity for support from the community is the difference-maker for us,” said Jeff Park, City Year Denver’s executive director.

One of its volunteers, Azura Gwinn, signed on to spend her year with AmeriCorps at Centennial Elementary.

“I think that everyone needs a mentor and everyone needs someone who believes in them and gives them that positive encouragement, and I know that I wouldn’t be who I am without that help,” Gwinn, 22, said.

Volunteers at eight different Denver Public Schools help students who need extra support in attendance, behavior and school work.

City Year Denver has had success. In just three years, 55 percent of students helped are now at grade level in math, and 67 percent are in English.

The organization believes keeping kids on track at this age prevents them from dropping out later.

“They love me and hate me at the same time, so that’s great,” Gwinn joked.

LINK: City Year Denver