Everyday hero is anything but ordinary

Talk to adjunct law Professor David Schott, and it’s hard to figure out how all those lawyer jokes got started.

For his countless hours of volunteering and his enthusiasm for the law and Denver’s young people, Schott received the KMGH-7 “7Everyday Hero” award this week.

In addition to teaching trial practice at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Schott practices full time with a Denver firm. But that’s not enough.

Three years ago, Schott founded an outreach program for local youth called the Providence Foundation. The nonprofit aims to help students build self esteem and develop skills in law and leadership. Many of the students are drawn from underserved communities, but by incorporating support from private donations and grants, Schott and his colleagues lead summer programs, mentoring centers, a summer camp and mock trial competitions.

“It’s just about giving back,” Schott says. “The greatest thing we get out of this is the response we get from the kids, when we see the progress they’re making, how they enjoy taking part in this.”

The foundation awards scholarships and encourages students to pursue higher education, not just in law but in any area that builds their skills in critical thinking, analysis and teamwork.

Foundation executive director JoLyn Oliver says one of two mock trial teams Schott coaches in his spare time, Bear Creek High School, nominated him for the award, which has recognized outstanding service to the Denver community for a decade. Schott also coaches a mock trial team at Regis Jesuit High School.

“He has so many good ideas, and he’s so good at seeing that whole vision and making it happen,” Oliver says. “He goes where he needs to take this program to help the kids.”

KMGH reporter Mitch Jelniker selected Schott for his weekly Hero segment for his spirit of volunteerism. He interviewed students Schott has mentored and presented Schott with a plaque commemorating the award.

Schott says he accepted the award not on his own behalf, but on behalf of every person who has contributed to the Providence Foundation and mock trial programs with gifts of time and money. He says he’s encouraged by the Denver legal community, which continues to support the work.

“They never say ‘no,’” he says. “I love this profession. Attorneys look for opportunities to help. They want to give back; sometimes they just don’t know how.”

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