Letter to Class of 2020 from a fellow senior

Dear Class of 2020,  We were all shocked to hear the news on Friday, March 13, that we would not be returning to school. We had walked down those halls, gone out to lunch with our friends, and sat in our last high school class for the last time without even knowing it. We were unsure of our future, or … Read More

DSF Alumna keeps young students connected during COVID-19

As a paraprofessional at Swansea Elementary, a typical workday for Liliana Flores includes storytime and show-and-tell. In her role, Liliana works with first-grade students. Though her school has transitioned to remote learning, Liliana is making sure her young students are still able to experience the highlights of first grade by keeping them connected. A students-first philosophy A DSF Alumna and … Read More

DSF Scholar Organizes Food Delivery

DSF Scholar Kai Suematsu is connecting local businesses with community members in need of food resources during the coronavirus crisis. As the co-founder of the Kobu Foundation, Kai mobilizes a volunteer team to deliver boxes of food to families who sign up on the Kobu Foundation’s website. Adapting in a time of need “At the time of the outbreak we … Read More

DSF Scholar Serves on Front Lines While Finishing College Degree

When DSF Scholar Maria Mendoza-Armendariz isn’t serving the community at the STRIDE Community Health Center as a patient navigator, she can be found at home, spending time with family or studying for her final round of exams. As a senior at the University of Colorado Denver, Maria balances a full course load while working full-time on the front lines through … Read More

DSF Alumnus Equips Community with Resources

DSF Alumnus Ousman Ba is helping families navigate systems to ensure they are receiving critical services during the COVID-19 outbreak. As remote learning is taking place and employment is impacted, Ousman helps organize outreach to community members in need in his role as program coordinator for the African Leadership Group (ALG). “Every Friday for the past three weeks, we’ve delivered 150 … Read More

Cooking Up a Career in the Food Industry

DSF Scholar Alma Torales-Gomez has all the ingredients needed for a successful career in the food industry. From the DSF Future Center at DCIS Montbello to the classrooms at Johnson & Wales University, Alma is well on her way to achieving her dream of opening a bakery. “I’ve always liked to cook,” shares Alma. “My goal is to open a … Read More

For DSF Alumna, Mentorship Matters

Impostor syndrome can make or break a first-generation college student’s experience. Like many students who are the first in their family to attend college, Diana Casillas tackled self-doubt in her freshman year at Colorado State University (CSU). In the transition to a new environment, Diana discovered that connections and community can make the difference between surviving—or thriving—in college.  “Being away from family was new,” remembers Diana. “My first year … Read More

From Program Requirements to Personal Connections 

Thuyvi Vo is well on her way to completing her master’s degree in public health and social work. To fulfill her internship requirement, Thuyvi supports students in the DSF Future Center at Abraham Lincoln High School as a volunteer. For Thuyvi, volunteering in the DSF Future Center is more than just a program requirement—it’s personal.  Following in her footsteps Born and raised in Denver, Thuyvi attended John F. Kennedy High … Read More

Shining the Spotlight on DSF Volunteers

Mandy Jameson Donor-Scholar Relations Volunteer  Creating Connections to Make College Possible Mandy Jameson brings 17 years of higher education experience to DSF as a donor-Scholar relations volunteer. Before stepping into her role as registrar at Colorado Early Colleges in Castle Rock, Mandy took advantage of a professional transition to explore opportunities to put her expertise to work in the community. ... Read More

DSF Scholar Embraces Changes and Challenges on Journey to College Graduation

As a senior at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), DSF Scholar Israa Hussein is expecting to graduate this fall. While the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and her priorities shift from day-to-day, she’s keeping her eyes on the prize: College graduation.   Facing uncertainty with determination This isn't the first time Israa has demonstrated bravery in the face of uncertainty. When the Hussein family left Iraq and arrived in the United States in 2009, Israa had not received any prior education. Immersed ... Read More