At-risk kids receive education boost

Leadership program awakens opportunities

Fourteen high school students from some of Denver’s most at-risk communities graduated from the 19th annual Porter-Billups Leadership Academy at Regis University June 26. The program, that helps prepare students for college, is a joint effort of longtime Regis University men’s basketball coach, Lonnie Porter; and National Basketball Association All-Star and Denver native Chauncey Billups. Both men, who distributed certificates at the graduation ceremony, grew up in inner-city neighborhoods.

The academy works with youth from grades four through 12 to develop leadership, critical thinking and conflict resolution skills through a rigorous three-week academic program each summer. There are currently 126 youth participating in the program founded by Porter in 1996; with Billups joining in 2006. In addition to the intense summer curriculum, students and families receive year-round support to further encourage their educational ambitions.

“The ultimate goal of the academy is to awaken students to the opportunities available to them and empower them to own their decisions by making thoughtful contributions to shape their futures,” according to Porter. “The program is working.”

Since the first graduating class in 2002, 98 percent of students participating have completed high school on time, and 92 percent have continued to college. More than half, 53 percent, have graduated with a college degree. Regis University also assists academy graduates with scholarship opportunities. To learn more about the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy, visit

Porter-Billups Leadership Academy | By the Numbers

Complete high school on time: 98%
Continue to college: 92%
From families where parents have not completed college: 85%
Students of color: 90%
From families with incomes below federal poverty guidelines: 36%
Students participating for 6 to10 continuous years: 48

COMING UP: Help Julia Greeley’s cause by going to a Rockies game

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If Julia Greeley were still alive today, we bet she’d be a Rockies fan.

The Julia Greeley Guild has once again partnered with the Colorado Rockies to help raise money for Julia’s cause for canonization, which recently advanced in Rome.

By attending one of the following Rockies games, baseball fans can not only get lower level tickets at a discount, they can also play a small role in supporting Julia’s possible sainthood one day.

Sunday, May 23 vs. D-Backs @ 1:10 p.m.
Sunday, June 6 vs. A’s @ 1:10 p.m.
Friday, June 18 vs. Brewers @ 6:40 p.m.
Sunday, July 4 vs. Cardinals @ 1:10 p.m.
Sunday, August 8 vs. Marlins @ 1:10 p.m.
Saturday, August 21 vs D-Backs @ 6:10 p.m.
Sunday, September 26 vs. Giants @ 1:10 p.m.

For more information and tickets, contact 720-352-4995 or

Featured photo by Owen Lystrup on Unsplash