Of all the community organizations I’ve had the honor of working with in my career, one in particular is close to my heart: the Denver Preschool Program (DPP).
It started in 2003 when then Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper asked me to join a group of local leaders who would eventually propose an idea to raise support for a sales tax that would fund high quality preschool programs in Denver, Colorado.
As a Latina with two children under 5, caring for my sister’s infant while she worked, I deeply understood how finding affordable child care is a challenge for many Denver families with young children
According to a 2015 report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, Hispanic children are less likely to attend preschool even though we represent the largest ethnic group in the United States. Denver mirrors this trend; it was clear that high quality preschool was needed.
We pulled together and pushed the initiative forward, explaining a new way to support early care and education.
In 2006, Denver voters approved the dedicated sales tax, which created DPP; in 2007, DPP funded its first class of preschoolers; and this month DPP will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Today, as I look back on our labor of love, I am amazed at how many lives DPP has touched. From the 46,000 families who’ve received $92 million in tuition support, to the 250 preschools in which DPP has invested $13 million quality improvement dollars, it’s been heartwarming to witness what our community has accomplished.
That’s why I’d like to thank you, Denver, for listening to our voices, and believing in the value of preschool so that all our children can have a brighter future. To know that the entire city treasures them as much as we do makes a big difference. ¡Mil gracias a Denver y DPP por 10 años de exito!
To learn more about DPP, visit dpp.org.
By Diana Romero Campbell, Ph.D.
Diana Romero Campbell, Ph.D. is President of Scholars Unlimited in Denver, Colorado.