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Creative connection made possible by CRI mentorship program

For 46 years, Community Resources, Inc. has supplemented the education of Denver Public Schools students through a variety of programs, including its innovative Academic Mentors Program, which connects local professionals with students interested in their particular fields of expertise.

When East High School senior Riley McGill applied for a CRI mentorship this fall, she hoped to be paired with a professional graphic designer. Now almost finished with her mentorship with graphic designer Matt Hickson, she says she feels lucky to have been selected to participate.

“I think the most impressive thing is the great ideas we’re coming up with and actually producing,” Riley said. “I plan to follow graphic design for a career, and this has definitely opened my eyes to the different areas of graphic design I can go into.”

Matt, who currently serves as the marketing and design manager for a grant program that operates within the Community College of Denver, said he and Riley meet once a week at CCD. He added that getting involved as a mentor was easy thanks to CRI.

“Laura Kent is such a pleasure to work with,” he said, referring to the CRI Academic Mentors Program manager. “The experience has been great so far!”

In addition to building on what she’s learned in her school’s graphic design classes, Riley is focusing on typeface design with Matt. Early in the mentorship she designed a personal brand logo and began designing her own typefaces, all of which will be combined in a unique portfolio made of acrylic.

Matt said that by the end of the mentorship he hopes Riley has “a beautiful new portfolio with great examples of her work” but also that she feels “more confident and able as a designer.”

“Everyone learns and designs differently,” he said, “and I would never presume to tell Riley how to do either. If all I do is help her find her own voice and style, I will be very happy.

“Aside from that, I hope Riley leaves this mentorship feeling like she has a resource she can reach out to with questions about life, design, and everything in between. I see a bright future for Riley, and I’m excited to just be a small part of that.”

In addition to connecting students with volunteers through its Academic Mentors Program, Community Resources, Inc. also hosts in-school family nights featuring everything from the arts to health to mathematics as well as special events such as fire safety programs and arts days as well as science and career fairs. The CRI Classroom Speakers program also brings volunteers into schools to share their skills and knowledge with students.

To support CRI, please visit its donation page and schedule a donation for Colorado Gives Day (December 4). To learn more about CRI programs and how to volunteer, visit the CRI website or contact Sue Edwards, Executive Director, at 720-423-1222 or


“Cooking Colfax:”: An Extraordinary School and Community Collaboration

Senior student Evan Wells is heavily interested in every aspect of film, but sometimes struggled to find his niche. Through Community Resources’Academic Mentors Project, Wells was matched with a mentor – local film producer Dave Wruck.

This partnership led to Wells creating a short film called, “Cooking Colfax.” His production highlights the culinary mentorship of an eighth-grade Morey Middle School student who was also mentored at To the Wind Bistro, a local neighborhood restaurant.

Thanks to the Big Brain Club for its support of this exciting project.

Henry Rogers, a high school junior in Denver Public Schools, recently had the opportunity for a wonderful mentorship in the field of technology as part of CRI’s Academic Mentorship Program. Many thanks to the Big Brain Club and Aspenware, a progressive technology company, for their support in making this mentorship possible.

Watch the video below for a inside look at this special mentorship.


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