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“HIPPY Is Not Just a Program – It Is a Family.”


When she was 2 years old, Yaretzy wanted to be just like her big sister, Yanelly. When their mother, Jennifer, did special activities with her older sister to encourage learning, Yaretzy followed along.

Jennifer was Yanelly and Yaretzy’s first teacher, guiding them at home with support from Mile High United Way’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program. Once a week, our staff member Gloria met with Jennifer at the family’s home, providing resources and support to prepare the girls for a lifetime of learning and success.

Yaretzy watched her big sister thrive in HIPPY, before getting her own turn. Now, she is ready to succeed in kindergarten, thanks to HIPPY.

Yaretzy recently celebrated her accomplishments with friends and family at our HIPPY graduation ceremony as a part of our largest ever HIPPY class!

Yaretzy is ready to succeed in kindergarten thanks to HIPPY
Yaretzy (front center) celebrated her HIPPY graduation with her family.

Quality early care and learning creates a strong foundation, so children begin school ready for academic success. However, access to affordable early childhood education is one of Metro Denver’s most pressing issues. That’s where Mile High United Way steps in.

Through innovative programs like HIPPY, we’re addressing the early learning shortage by creating pathways for families to support their child’s development.

Our staff learn each child’s individual needs and help parents every step of the way. Families also receive wraparound services through our 211 Help Center and by attending community events like our Back to School Bash or Children’s Holiday Party.

More than ABCs and 123s

During this year’s graduation ceremony another HIPPY mom, Maria Isabel, shared how HIPPY has changed her family’s life.

“We are all better off because of HIPPY. It has provided resources we may not have received otherwise. HIPPY is not just a program – it is a family,” Maria said.

In addition to receiving diplomas recognizing their hard work, students received new backpacks and performed for friends and family. The highlight of the evening came when parents shared heartfelt messages to their graduating children.

One mother shared with her son, “I will never be done thanking [Mile High United Way] for this. You are the biggest blessing God has given us and I have faith you will do many wonderful things in the future.”

This year, we served a record 82 children through HIPPY, with staff conducting almost 2,000 home visits. HIPPY helps strengthen families and communities by empowering parents and caregivers to become their children’s first teachers.

This is just one way we’re expanding access to quality early learning and child care. We recently celebrated the opening of the Tamara M. Sparks Early Learning Center at Mile High United Way, which has child care slots for almost 60 children in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and the surrounding area.

We are also proud to invest in high-quality child care centers across Metro Denver, including The Rose on Colfax by Mercy Housing, FamilyTree GOALs and Warren Village at Alameda.

Learn how you can join our work to ensure every child has access to high-quality early learning.