Education & Youth Programs

DICP’s educational programs provide a rigorous education curriculum, a supportive network of adult mentors, and pro-social activities.

The La Academia Coding Institute provides computer coding and computer science programming to underserved youth in the Denver metro area.  The LACI offers a hybrid curriculum built around Code work’s all-encompassing computer science curriculum and more specific coding curriculum and hands-on projects from The Raspberry Pi Foundation.  We work with partner schools to provide programming during elective or out-of-school time at no cost to the partner school. Coding and computer science skills are a growing necessity for employment, and the LACI prepares young people to pursue coding and computer science after high school.

The La Academia Puentes program is a post-secondary bridge program, run through a volunteer committee, with the goal of increasing the percentage of graduates who have successful collegiate and post-secondary careers. Puentes offers one-on-one mentoring as well as test-preparation and content-area classes to prepare and guide students to an appropriate post-secondary education, including college, trade schools, and professional certification programs. All students are assigned a mentor who is with them through high school graduation and stays with them through their college careers.


Steve Johnsen Scholarship


La Academia was founded in 1971 and originally went by the name La Academia de la Gente. The school was started by Steve Johnsen as a small program of the Denver Inner City Parish with less than 10 students. Over time La Academia grew, but its innovations and success were always based on its small size, low student to teacher ratio, and strong relationships. The goal of La Academia was, from the start, to be a place where students could find success and build on that success after graduation. In the 1970’s, options after graduation were a bit different than they are today. But one thing remains true: the more education you get after high school, the more options you will have in life.

Thousands of students have attended La Academia over the years. Graduates have continued their education in certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges, and universities. La Academia has supported its students, through the Puentes program, with applications, assistance with filling out financial aid documents, and micro-scholarships for books and fees. Following this long tradition, the Denver Inner City Parish is excited to offer the Steve Johnsen Scholarship. The scholarship is designed to provide substantive and long-term financial support for recipients pursuing post-secondary education. 

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The Steve Johnsen Scholarship promotes the Denver Inner City Parish’s mission of loving and supporting individuals and families in our community and empowering them to break the cycle of poverty. Post-secondary certificates and degrees provide educational support that leads to better employment. The number and financial amount of the scholarship awards will vary by term. The scholarship money is for the equivalent of one academic term (for example: a single semester or a multi-month certificate program) and winners are encouraged to reapply pending continued enrollment.


Eligibility Details

The scholarship is available to former La Academia students, relatives of former La Academia students, and friends of DICP who are involved in other DICP programs. Applicants must be accepted and enrolled into a post-secondary educational program that offers a credential upon completion; this credential can be a certificate, a licensure, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) and providing a copy of FAFSA or the Student Aid Report (SAR) to DICP in the application. 

This Term's Applications are Closed

Check back here for updates about our recipients and our next round of applications in the spring!

Our Summer 2021 Recipients

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Valentina Nunez
Valentina is finishing her Associate’s degree in nursing this semester. Upon completion, she plans to jump right into a 4-year program
to get her RN credential. Valentina works full time at Children’s Hospital Colorado as a bilingual administrator. This is the second time she’s received a scholarship.

Lizbeth Martinez
Liz will be graduating from Concordia University Chicago this December with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She plans to move back to Denver to work part-time while pursuing a graduate degree in social work at either MSUD or DU. This is the first time she’s received the Steve Johnsen Scholarship.

Stephanie de la Rosa
Stephanie will begin her freshman year at Metropolitan State University of Denver this August. She is a first-time recipient of the scholarship and the first non-La Academia student to receive the scholarship.

Damaris Vicarte

Damaris is beginning her final academic year at the University of Colorado Denver. She is finishing her 4-year degree in Business Marketing while working part-time. This is the second time she’s received a scholarship. Please see her attached thank you letter to the scholarship committee.

Our 2020 Recipients

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