Moving Families Out of Financial Crisis
Launched five years ago with a $200,000 grant from Bank of America, the College to Career (C2C) initiative has seen tremendous growth, success, and interest among Warren Village residents. C2C is an initiative that empowers families to achieve financial self-sufficiency. The program started in response to the growing cost of living in Denver mixed with the average wages of residents remaining steady at $20,000/year, creating a financial crisis for our families.
College to Career offers robust wrap-around services and supports to residents through three dedicated Warren Village Family Advocates, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Career assessments
- College enrollment services
- Financial aid education
- FAFSA applications assistance
- Textbooks and school supply assistance
- Evening study hall hours with childcare
- Extended access to the computer lab
- Potential for a third-year housing extension to complete education program
- Partnership with Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)
Since the launch, 74 residents have attained certificates or degrees and many more are well on their way, with 65% of all residents aligning with the C2C initiative.
Community College of Denver (CCD) Partnership
Another component of the C2C program is our partnership with the Community College of Denver (CCD) that provides funding for two on-site classes per semester. These statewide guaranteed transfer classes provide Warren Village residents with an opportunity to experience post-secondary success in a supportive environment, close to home. Ninety-eight residents have participated in on-site CCD classes during the past 5 years, with an 81% passing rate, despite coming from difficult backgrounds similar to a resident named Jasmine.
Jasmine endured a life of homelessness, all beginning with her mother’s drug addiction. Despite her challenges, she never gave up, but Jasmine could not escape the clutches of poverty. At 26, she was solely supporting two young girls by working two jobs and enrolling in online classes. However, with no access to child care, Jasmine slowly fell behind on rent, and things began to fall apart. Upon her arrival at Warren Village, her confidence was at an all-time low but she was determined to return to school. Her first semester was tough, learning to balance all of the new responsibilities of the program, parenting, and the demands of school, so it was not her most successful semester. Despite her grades Jasmine reflects back to that semester as the beginning of her success.
“Taking classes on site made the transition easier because I knew the rest of the students in the class were going through the same things and that helped a lot.” says Jasmine. “I would not have stayed in school if I hadn’t started at Warren Village.”
Jasmine leaned into the supports offered through C2C, including the advice of her on-site CCD History instructor and committed to continuing school. She recalled her history teacher’s lasting impact, stating that “he gave us the space to feel comfortable.” In May 2019, Jasmine will graduate from CCD with an Associate’s Degree in Pre-Social Work. She will continue her education at Metropolitan State University in the fall. During the past 2 years, she earned a 3.185 GPA and a KEYS scholarship; she participated in the college’s work-study program; became a member of TRIO, the college’s student support services group; and became a member of the Political Science Club.Posted on