The organizers, volunteers, guests, sponsors and dancers who turned out at the Vail Valley Jet Center on Thursday for the Vail Valley Partnership’s Youth Foundation’s Star Dancing Gala helped make the event feel full of hope, gratitude and promise for the future. The community came out in force and stepped up to make dreams come true for local youth. The theme of the evening, “Dare to Dream: Change the World,” encourages all to dream big, stretch and reach for the stars in whatever they are fueled to pursue.
The Youth Foundation serves more than 3,000 children through early childhood education, after school, summer and scholarship programs for students from infancy through college providing experiences in the arts, athletics and education.
There are individuals and businesses in the valley that have supported The Youth Foundation for many years including Alpine Bank, Gallegos Corp. and R.A. Nelson. Chupa Nelson is one of the founding members of The Youth Foundation as well as a celebrity dancer.
“For The Youth Foundation to continue to be successful and grow and evolve, it needs participation from the community, enlarging our donor base and volunteer base. ... We can create an incredibly diverse and culturally cohesive community that honors and respects differences,” Nelson said.
With his daughter Rachel’s encouragement (Rachel said her dad danced like Mick Jagger), Nelson agreed to perform in support of the organization he worked hard to help create. Nelson took to the stage and showed off his moves to the rocking Rolling Stones tune “Jumpin Jack Flash” with professional dancer Maria Barry.
Nick Sagar, who danced the rhumba with pro dancer Meredith Steinke to “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” said, “As responsible citizens here in the Vail Valley we need to support VVF’s Youth Foundation because it gives our kids a real opportunity to have an equal start in life.”
Through the generosity of many and the true dedication of a few including VVF’s vice president of education, Susie Davis, and The Youth Foundation staff; the children in the valley will be able to explore more education-based experiences further enlightening them and providing them avenues to ignite passions and pursuits.