Gold Crown enrichment programs help kids learn by using creativity

After school program challenges kids to learn

LAKEWOOD - Mention the name Gold Crown and most people think youth sports. But it also means "education enrichment" - thanks to 7Everyday Hero Fran Baker.

Fran is the director of the enrichment programs at the Gold Crown Foundation. A foundation perhaps best known for its youth basketball and other sports programs.

But inside the its Lakewood field house are two "enrichment rooms," thanks to Baker.

"I said: 'Can you give me a little bit of room in there?'  I’m a former teacher and I’d like to do some enrichment programming for this neighborhood because I taught in this area for many years," said Baker.

That was 10 years ago. Ever since, Baker, has spent hours guiding a technology class and an art class in partnership with Jefferson County Schools.

"We do one trimester with middle school kids, so that's 12 weeks.  They come every day.  And we do an after-school program. So from three to seven we have our computer clubhouse.  So, we hang out with kids from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day," Baker laughed.

"The time commitment, the passion that she has to make each individual child's life a little bit better, is what makes her special," said Bill Hanzlik, CEO and co-founder of Gold Crown Foundation.

The Gold Crown enrichment programs challenge students to be creative as they learn.

"They are learning how to fail.  And make the most out of those failures through art and technology," said Baker.

Baker's tough love approach helps students work toward their full potential and perhaps a future job.

"She is nice.  She cares for you like she's your mom," said Samantha, a student.

"Fun and kind and loving.  And she cares about all the kids here," said Layne, a student.

To learn more about the Gold Crown Foundation go to www.goldcrownfoundation.com