Who We Are

Young women wearing white shirts smiling at the camera
Heart & Hand founder with a young boy at a community event
A young boy dressed in a suit holds up a certificate, with three people standing behind him
A woman with her arms around a girl, both smiling at the camera

Our Story

In 2010, Nikki Cady was volunteering with youth in homeless shelters throughout Northeast Denver. One day, as she walked around the room of kids completing art projects, she asked one young girl about her painting. The girl told Nikki that she was leaving the shelter the next day and didn’t know how she would see Nikki again. She explained that the painting she made was of the center she hoped Nikki would open, so that she could find her again. That day, Nikki decided to start the Heart & Hand Center.

Beginning in a small house on the corner of Welton and 28th, Nikki and one intern, Blaine Heydt, offered afterschool programming for about thirty local youth. From the start, Heart & Hand was known as a place where young people could show up, receive a high five or a hug, get something to eat, and know they were safe. What began as peanut butter sandwiches and art projects, quickly grew into structured afterschool programming offered at schools throughout Northeast Denver.

Nikki served as Executive Director of the Heart & Hand Center for 5 years, before stepping back to a part-time role. Today, Nikki remains on the Heart & Hand leadership team and Board of Directors. Heart & Hand’s first employee, Blaine, currently serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Heart & Hand is proud to continue to provide workshops and resources in the Heart & Hand “Center” on Welton Street, although we now support nearly 300 students across four programs and three sites.




A volunteer doing a secret handshake with a young Heart & Hand participant




A volunteer doing a secret handshake with a young Heart & Hand participant


Heart & Hand relies on a strong team of staff, board members and volunteers to provide the highest quality programming to our community.

Meet the team
Community members standing at the front of a building, many wearing matching t-shirts


Our volunteers, partners and investors are critical to making Heart & Hand's transformative work possible.

Meet the partners