- Z Place, an innovative learning center, today celebrates its opening in Green Valley Ranch.
- Z Place is expected to be a national model for “cradle to career” development.
- Mayor Hancock has been involved with Z Place since its inception.
An Oakwood Homes foundation is part of a team of some of the largest and most high-profile philanthropic organizations in Denver that today is celebrating the opening of what team members are describing as a comprehensive, community-based early childhood and family support center.
Z Place, as it is called, will provide a full range of innovative education and community services.
There will be a ribbon cutting today and an open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Z Place building on the Evie Garrett Dennis E12 Campus at 4800 Telluride St. in Green Valley Ranch, an Oakwood Homes community in northeast Denver.
Community leaders began discussing Z Place more than eight years ago.
In addition to the Oakwood Homes’ Foundation for Educational Excellence, other members of what is described as a “dream team” includes:
- The Piton Foundation.
- Anschutz Foundation.
- Daniels Fund.
- Colorado Health Foundation.
- Gates Family Foundation.
- City of Denver Office of Economic Development.
- Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation.
They united to fund the research, development and creation of Z Place.
With its “cradle to career” approach, the goal of Z Place is to serve as a groundbreaking education model that will positively impact thousands of Denver kids and their families living in the Children’s Corridor, a 41 square mile area covering Northeast Denver to Green Valley Ranch that houses more than 35,000 at risk youth.
Revitalization efforts are taking place in the corridor to elevate the lives and futures of families and children, ensuring that kids are kindergarten ready, have access to medical services and graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
Z Place houses best-practice wrap-around resources from a variety of sources including: Denver Public Schools, Clayton Early Learning, Young Americans Bank, Denver Public Schools Far Northeast Enrollment Center, Lowry Family Center, Reading Partners, The Urban League, Denver Health and Mental Health Center of Denver.
“Every day, 10 children are born in the 41 square mile area of Denver and Aurora that stretches from northeast Denver to Green Valley Ranch,” said Rich Martinez, President and CEO of Young Americans Center for Financial Education.
“As an organization that has served the Denver community for 25 years, we recognize that this growing community of youth provides a whole new outreach opportunity for us,” Martinez said. “We were thrilled to be included in Z Place as a partner and look forward to bringing hands-on, real-life financial experiences to the booming under-21 population in this area.”
There are five areas key to strengthening youth and families:
- Early learning.
- Youth enrichment and athletics.
- Health and wellness.
- Family support.
- Research and evaluation.
Each of these are supported by the schools and programs offered at Z Place.
“We anticipate that Z Place will serve as a national model of how to systematically improve outcomes for children by creating a new model of success — one that ensures access to high quality and affordable early childhood education and comprehensive support services to help children grow into self-reliant, healthy and successful members of society,” said Pat Hamill, founder of the Oakewood Foundation for Educational Excellence and CEO of Oakwood Homes.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock has been active in the planning of Z Place since its inception.
“Z Place is a unique coming together of well-respected community organizations to fill a critical early-learning gap in our community and schools,” Hancock said. “Z Place capitalizes on the strengths of our local community service providers, parents and volunteers, and will bring positive outcomes for generations to come.”
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