High School Graduation and College Enrollment in Denver, Colorado

Canaan is a young man whose hard work and years of continuous support from Mile High United Way have helped him along the path to self-sufficiency – and a life-long dream.

In high school, Canaan struggled with mathematics. Despite this hurdle, his continual effort and drive was recognized, prompting his guidance counselor to connect him with the Mile High United Way Pathway Scholarship Program, designed to help first generation minority students achieve academic success. That’s when great things began to happen. Through Mile High United Way, Canaan received the financial support, one-on-one counseling, and academic tutoring he needed to not only finish high school, but also attend and graduate Metro State University.

 “I could not be more proud of my son,” Canaan’s father said. “The day he graduated, it felt like I was graduating.”

Today, Canaan has achieved his dream of becoming a police officer with the Arvada Police Department. After completing the 22-week training, Canaan received his police officer badge on Dec. 10, 2015, from the Jefferson County and Lakewood Police Department Combined Academy. During the ceremony, Canaan not only received his badge, but he also knelt down and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kelsey, to which she responded with a resounding yes!

“Mile High United Way gave me the support, courage and strength I needed to reach my goals,“ Canaan said. “But the most important thing they gave me was love and a sense of community and belonging.”

Canaan’s success didn’t come by coincidence – it took years of hard work and the support of a community to help him accomplish his goals and become a self-sufficient adult.

As an Arvada Police Officer, Canaan is now working to make great things happen for the community that helped him get to where he is today.

Mile High United Way works to ensure children enter school prepared and ready to learn; children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade; youth graduate high school on-time and ready for post-secondary education; and individuals and families have the opportunity to progress toward self-sufficiency.

In 2015, Mile High United Way served 32,240 children through literacy and kindergarten readiness programs, to give all children a strong start in life.