Back to the books " Youth Foundation fundraiser |

Back to the books " Youth Foundation fundraiser

Cassie Pence
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyA fifth grade photo of Don Mengedoth, president and CEO of Millennium Bank, will compete in the Youth Foundation's "Can You Outsmart an Eagle County Fifth Grader?" fundraiser tonight at the Vilar Center. Millennium Bank is the main sponsor.

EAGLE-VAIL ” Put on those thinking caps, the Youth Foundation wants to know if you can outsmart an Eagle County fifth-grader.

Thursday at the Vilar Center, the Youth Foundation presents “Can You Outsmart an Eagle County Fifth Grader?,” a fundraiser “game show” based on the FOX show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

Fourteen local celebrity contestants, like Steve Gall of the Vail Daily, Steve Lee of KZYR, and a slue of bankers, will answer questions submitted by Eagle County teachers that come directly from their first- through fifth-grade curriculums. Each contestant is paired with two fifth-grade buddies to help them answer the questions if need be.

Once a question is asked, contestants can answer or “peek” at one of their fifth-grade buddies’ answers. If the contestant answers incorrectly, he can buy another chance for $200, then donated to the Youth Foundation, or each contestant has one “save” from their classmates.

Once a contestant has used up their three wrong-answer options, he is on his own to answer questions. After four questions, contestants have the option of “opting out” by choosing an offered prize instead of answering the asked question. But if you take the prize, you have to admit “you can not outsmart an Eagle County fifth-grader.” Those left for the final round will answer questions about Vail history. The grand prize is a season pass from Vail Resorts.

Tickets to the game show are $10, $5 for children and teachers. Moe’s Southwest Grill will bring dinner for $10 a person, and the Vilar Center is providing a cash bar. All proceeds benefit the Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing youth programs that will guide kids to develop a set of positive values, ethics and the literacy skills to become thriving adults, according to its mission statement. The game show reflects the type of programs the Youth Foundation offers.

“We serve children in need through education out of school. It’s an extension of the school day, but we want it to be fun,” Katie Bruen said, the foundation’s marketing and event coordinator. “We incorporate learning, but frequently they don’t even realize they’re learning.”

Some of the foundation’s programs include the Magic Book Bus, which travels throughout the community providing books and storytelling for preschoolers getting ready for kindergarten. Middle school students play Academic Soccer with the foundation, and it also offers the Neighborhood Net program, opening computer rooms in schools after hours for family use.

The programs are diverse from school to school, from photography to environmental studies, Bruen said, because the foundation hires teachers to create and run programs of their choice. The foundation then pays their salary and training, along with buying supplies and providing transportation for the kids.

“For the teachers, it’s added income consistence with teaching,” Bruen said. “They don’t have to take a second job in a bar or something.”

The Youth Foundation spends 4,000 hours a week with kids, interacting with about 3,000 children annually, which says a lot about the programs, Bruen said.

“We spend a deep four hours after school with the kids. We’re getting to know them, getting to know their problems and how we can help them,” Bruen said.

The kids the foundation targets are “in need,” which Bruen describes as any child who isn’t aware of the gifts they have to share. The Youth Foundation is teaching the kids what they have to offer.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or

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