Brandon Baker, Diana Baker and Oschuwa Coleman. Photography by Kathy Tran.

Kids-U, founded in 2002

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Who they are

Founders and longtime educators Paula DeGroat and Diana Baker started Kids-U to give low income children the same educational advantages as higher income peers. DeGroat and Baker based their programs in the low-income apartment communities to provide tutoring in math, language arts and reading for no cost. Kids-U’s first site was at the Deerfield Apartments in the Forest Lane and Audelia Road corridor. The first doors opened to 32 students in December 2002.

What they do

Kids-U provides out-of-school time programs for students. In the fall, it tutors kindergarten through eighth-graders in the three subject areas. To prevent the summer slide, the nonprofit provides a full-day, five-days-a-week summer enrichment camp. Kids-U offers a FACE (Family and Community Engagement) program that extends educational reach to adults with ESL and GED classes, adult computer literacy programs, financial literacy programs and parenting workshops. The nonprofit has also collaborated with the Northeast Division of DPD to add a crime watch program.

How to help

Starting July 1 each year, Kids-U hosts a backpack drive for all students. The nonprofit asks for donations of back- packs and supplies to students to have when they return to school in the fall.

“We realized that parents in higher-income brackets were able to afford tutoring for their students. Our theory was that if we gave the low-income children the same advantages that their higher income peers were getting, that they could be just as successful.”

— Diana Baker, executive director and co-founder

8515 Greenville Ave. Ste. N214, 214-503-3672