About Us

Who We Are

Dallas Community Lighthouse is Founded

Diana Baker and Paula DeGroat co-founded Dallas Community Lighthouse (DCL) to address the crisis of children in Dallas County not completing their education. With the goal of making a positive impact on dropout rates in Dallas; their target audience was low income children in grades Kindergarten through eighth (K-8).

Partnership with Deerfield Apartments

Dallas Community Lighthouse began operating at the Dallas Deerfield Apartments owned by Bank of America. The property provided its’ clubhouse as our dedicated space at no cost to us, a measure of their foresight and commitment to the community. We began offering after-school tutoring in Math, Language Arts and Reading with 32 students (the maximum number of students the space could hold), four staff members, and an unparalleled excitement that would propel us forward to providing a necessary service for a desperate community.


The Program Expands

It only took a few months to realize the students’ needs were greater than we had imagined and the environment posed a greater challenge to the children than we thought. Our site quickly became a haven where students gathered with caring adults to receive homework assistance, tutoring, afternoon snacks, and most importantly encouragement. As a result, it was quickly determined that an after-school program was not enough:  the children would also need something to do in the summer, families needed to become a community, and the environment needed to be safer. The solution? You guessed it — we added summer programming, monthly community dinners and a Neighborhood Crime Watch program to our offerings.


Dallas Community Lighthouse becomes Kids-University

In 2013, DCL changed its name to better reflect its mission. Affectionately known as Kids-U, Dallas Community Lighthouse became Kids-University with the same mission, vision and goals as before. By that point Kids-U was serving over 200 students at eight sites. In 2015, Kids-U completed its’ strategic plan and as a result of much brainstorming and research, Kids-U recalibrated and is now on mission to improve the lives of low-income children by concentrating on education while addressing issues that affect the whole child.

Going Strong

As of September 2018, Kids-U serves over 400 students at 13 sites in the DFW metroplex with after-school programming and summer camps, also hosting community dinners and Crime Watch. Kids-U also has a host of partnerships that provide our students’ families adult education (GED, English as a Second Language, and financial literacy) and other services, extending to individual and family counseling.