Mr. Rogers-themed Riverwalk Theater fundraiser supports teacher Betty Nobles | VailDaily.com

Mr. Rogers-themed Riverwalk Theater fundraiser supports teacher Betty Nobles

Fred Rogers was an early childhood educator and was best known for his program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."
Special to the Daily

Last August, Betty Nobles was one of many whose homes were destroyed in the Beaver Bench Condo fire. Authorities concluded that a cooking accident could have caused the blaze, which rendered at least six units damaged and uninhabitable.

Nobles still hasn’t been able to return to her home.

Nobles is a teacher dedicated to improving the lives of children throughout the Vail Valley. She’s worked at the Family Learning Center in Edwards for 15 years.

“My mom was a babysitter and my daughter was a nanny. It’s always been in my family and I’ve always just really enjoyed working with the kids and watching them learn and grow,” Nobles said.

After the fire, she found a helper in Grant Smith, the owner of the Riverwalk Theater. His son attended the Family Learning Center, and he offered to help Nobles assess the damage and get her home back together. He has a background in construction, and visited the home and helped her figure out what insurance would cover. Together, they realized repairs would cost much more than Nobles could afford.

Then he had an idea. Smith asked her over the summer if she would be comfortable with hosting a fundraiser at the theater.

“I was kind of embarrassed,” she said. “He had said, ‘well, Betty, you’ve done a lot for the community and it’s okay to reach out.’ He just made me feel like it was alright. I definitely needed the help. He’s been awesome about it.”

So she agreed.

Grant Smith and his wife bought the theater a year and a half ago and hope to have more community events in the future.
Special to the Daily

This afternoon, starting at 12:30 p.m., the Riverwalk will show “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” The documentary about Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers in his early childhood television program “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” came out last year and won the hearts of critics and fans alike. The movie has an 8.4/10 rating on IMDb, an 85% on Metacritic – where reviews are weighted based on the publication and critic writing the review – and a 98% liked rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The documentary is not to be confused with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is also screening at the Riverwalk. This film is a dramatized version of Mr. Rogers’ (Tom Hanks) effect on journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), who profiled him for the November 1998 issue of Esquire magazine.

At the event, Rocky Mountain Taco will be serving up burritos, and the usual snacks and drinks will be available for purchase at the Riverwalk snack counter. Smith hopes that people will come for the movie and stay for the love of Eagle County’s supportive community.

“My wife and I bought this business a year and a half ago and we are trying to do more community-centric events. That was a goal coming in and I think we’ve been able to do that over the past year and a half,” he said.

And it’s quite fitting that Smith was able to book last year’s Mr. Rogers’ documentary to raise money for another early childhood educator. When asked about what Mr. Rogers meant to her, Nobles said she related to his softness.

“I just like to get on their level and be as understanding as I can and not categorize them because they’re all different,” she said.

If you go …

What: Ms. Betty’s Neighborhood Fundraiser

When: Sunday, Dec. 1, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Riverwalk Theather, Edwards

Cost: $15 suggested donation to help Betty Nobles rebuild her home

More information: Visit riverwalktheater.com.