Over 20,000 Children in Colorado have a parent in state prison.6
65% of all incarcerated Americans did not receive a high school diploma or equivalent.7
The dramatic increase in prison spending is one of the reasons Colorado ranks near the bottom of all US states for investment in public education, adding to a cycle of incarceration and poverty.8
Students living in low-income and underserved areas are facing a complex set of experiences and circumstances. These youth lack positive relationships in their life. The lack of support and guidance results in unacceptable graduation rates across the nation. These dropout rates lead to serious national issues:
- An alarming cost to society for every student who does not graduate
- Increased teen pregnancy rates
- Increased crime and incarceration rates
- Increased unemployment rates, while an exceptionally high percentage of employed youth remain unprepared for the workforce
UpLift is building relationships that help students throughout Denver and Aurora prosper economically and socially. With your support, we have the opportunity to take this explosive program to more schools across Colorado, serving new students by the thousands.
envision a future
We talk about transformation a lot at Colorado UpLift. For many, it’s an abstract term, but, for us, transformation is a wonder we witness day by day. We transform lives by building positive relationships with our youth, creating new possibilities, and empowering our students to overcome obstacles. It’s that simple. However, if we want to be truly effective in transforming lives, we must step back and visualize the ultimate goal of imparting a sustainable, transformative impact on the community as a whole. Big goals require a big vision and intentional strategy. As an answer to this, UpLift created a community transformation plan.
When we embarked on this plan in February, 2018, we knew it was something momentous. We also knew that because our potential effect was so great, an intentional growth strategy was going to be necessary to keep us on track. Because of this requirement, we quickly aligned our trajectory and decision-making with an idea called “critical mass,” well-articulated by Malcolm Gladwell in the book, Tipping Point. Gladwell describes “a moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” as he talks about what is needed to truly transform a group of people. “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do” (Gladwell). This creates a vast opportunity for anyone, including UpLift, to produce a real, long-term, and transformative impact in a community. UpLift took the broad concept of critical mass and intentionally implemented it within each of our 20 schools to structure its growth towards community transformation.
The Law of the Few tells us that “any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” I’m here to tell you that our Teacher/Mentors have a rare set of social gifts that lifts urban youth to new levels. They are connectors, they are mavens, and they are moving us towards a critical mass.
Today, UpLift has a saturation rate of 3.7% within DPS. By 2022, we’ll be at the tipping point of 15%. By 2025, we’ll be at 25%. This is the critical mass we need to not just transform lives, but to transform the Denver & Aurora Public Schools and their surrounding communities.
Transformation can mean a lot of different things, but to UpLift, it means new possibilities from a community that works for everyone, and it starts with you.
how we take action
3 – Statista
4 – Mentor Colorado