Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, Dec. 5: Read about the Eagle County nonprofits that are participating
EAGLE COUNTY — Eagle County Gives, a coalition of more than 40 Eagle County nonprofit organizations, is gearing up for an online giving event on Tuesday, Dec. 5, as part of the statewide Colorado Gives Day movement. The goal is to recognize and increase philanthropy through the ease of a designated online giving day.
The participating nonprofits provide a range of services to the valley, including youth programs, educational services, housing, health programs and cultural enrichment, and all share a common goal of enhancing the quality of life in the valley. Donations help these organizations provide basic human needs in the valley, protect the environment and help pave the way for both current and future generations.
Here, in no particular order, we profile some of the participating nonprofits that will be looking for donation support this year.
Small Champions is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing and improving quality of life by providing sports and recreation opportunities for eligible Eagle County residents ages 5 through 21 with cognitive, physical and multiple disabilities, including but not limited to, cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, blindness, deafness, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.
Small Champion participants are only able to experience the thrill of learning these sports with specialized equipment and instruction, working one on one with an instructor specially trained in adaptive teaching techniques and equipment to accommodate a wide variety of disabilities. The organization provides programs that would otherwise be unavailable to participants without significant cost to their families.
Small Champions gives Eagle County children the opportunity to be part of a group that meets often to learn and have fun while pursuing their dreams and goals and instilling in them the confidence, determination and growth that will help set the direction for their entire lives. Small Champions programs provide participants with a peer group and allow their families to forge friendships enabling them to help one another.
Learn more at http://www.smallchampions.org.
Founded in the Vail Valley 25 years ago, SOS Outreach has evolved from humble beginnings to become a national leader among outdoor-based youth development organizations. Last winter marked the historic milestone of 50,000 at-risk youth in SOS programs, illustrating the growth and success of the organization since its inception in 1993.
Utilizing a progressive curriculum, SOS programs are unique in their integration of outdoor adventure sports as a vehicle to provide the values-based leadership curriculum that contributes to long-term success of more than 5,000 participants annually. Through a holistic spectrum of programming ranging from one-day introductory experiences with a new outdoor adventure sport to a year-round, mentor-based leadership program, SOS empowers youth to reach their full potential — in education and in life.
“My SOS (mentor) group has helped me become a stronger, new me. Not only do I smile, but I have found myself reaching out for help instead of holding it in. SOS is not only an organization for kids, but is a rescue center for most,” said Elizabeth, an SOS graduate.
Headquartered in Edwards, SOS operates additional program sites in Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan and, most recently, Illinois and Minnesota. Learn more at sosoutreach.org.
Eagle River Youth Coalition
The Eagle River Youth Coalition is dedicated to making youth a community priority. ERYC keeps an eye and pulse on youth, their behaviors, how to positively influence them and how to make their voice heard. ERYC is known for its impactful parenting programs, its commitment to youth through various initiatives, its seminars for business and nonprofit community members and its overall dedication to community collaboration.
In the past year, ERYC has expanded its prevention education to reach more families through workshops and classes, engaged more community partners than ever before and expanded its youth substance-use prevention programs across the community so more young people can receive prevention education. Parent education has doubled in offerings and expanded to serve youth and parents so they can learn skills together that will enrich their communication and relationships.
ERYC has professional development classes that cover topics from marketing to social media, philanthropy to strategic planning and prevention strategies to positive youth development. When youth and parents learn together, they can both embrace positive changes that enhance communication and build stronger family relationships. When the community works together to improve the lives of youth and families, it is strengthening its bonds as a community.
Learn more at http://www.eagleyouth.org.
Bright Future Foundation
Domestic violence and sexual abuse have a devastating impact on women, children and men, regardless of background and circumstance. Bright Future Foundation’s mission is “Making Futures Bright” by changing lives affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Bright Future annually provides more than 670 local survivors and their families with prevention, crisis intervention, advocacy and long-term healing services. Core programs include a 24/7 bilingual crisis hotline, counseling and legal services, youth violence prevention and community-based mentorship. Additionally, Bright Future maintains a housing assistance continuum that includes the Freedom Ranch Safehouse, Ensuring Freedom Housing Initiative and Rapid Re-Housing.
Bright Future is currently recruiting enthusiastic and dependable adults for its Buddy Mentor Program. Buddy Mentors matches caring, compassionate adults with children who will benefit from positive support and guidance. Bright Future also serves community youth with the school-based, EmpowerMENt and EmpowHERment Programs, which promote positive up-stander behaviors, healthy relationships and gender equality.
Survivors need a safe place to go and a compassionate community to turn to in their time of need. Bright Future Foundation helps individuals to build trusting connections and relationships, develop their self-esteem and self-sufficiency and empower their futures.
The Literacy Project
More than 25 years ago, an Eagle County Schools task force identified parental illiteracy as a major barrier to students’ educational progress, especially when parents were unable to help with homework assignments. Colleen Gray was brought on board in 1990 to help bridge that gap, and The Literacy Project of Eagle County was born.
That first year, The Literacy Project served 20 individuals — a number that has grown exponentially as the population of limited English speakers has grown in Eagle County. The Literacy Project helps adults and children acquire English reading and speaking skills to help them thrive in our community, providing various programs to support literacy education and serving more than 600 adults and children in 2016.
Programs are based on the whole language philosophy of teaching, which emphasizes individualized lesson plans based on social needs and using real-life materials such as newspapers and job applications. With the help of volunteers, the education community and other supporters, The Literacy Project helps to improve the life experiences of everyone participating.
Learn more at http://www.literacyprojecteagle county.org.
The Cycle Effect
The Cycle Effect empowers young women through mountain biking to achieve brighter futures and build stronger communities, believing that keeping girls on a healthy path through riding bikes will help get them to college. The program embeds life skills to forge a successful path toward educational, economic and family success.
The Cycle Effect keeps participants engaged in after-school and summer activities and works with young woman in Eagle and Summit counties between the ages of 11 and 18, 75 percent of which are lower-income Hispanic. The organization offers more than 80 days of programming year-round to each girl, working with her two days a week after school. This includes providing all of the bikes and safety gear, nutritional guidance, fitness, building grit, coaching and mentorship, as well as pre-collegiate resources, goal setting, leadership skills and community service projects.
The Cycle Effect mentors girls through the college admissions, scholarship and application processes, and 100 percent of girls who have graduated from the program have gone to college, with 80 percent being the first in their family.
Participants learn to transfer determination and overcoming obstacles from mountain biking to their everyday lives, improving self-esteem and overall health. Learn more at http://www.thecycleeffect.org.
Eagle Valley Humane Society
The nonprofit Eagle Valley Humane Society was established in 1974 to address the needs of homeless animals in Eagle County. Funding for the organization comes from personal and corporate donations, grants and fundraisers. The Eagle Valley Humane Society has three employees, and many dedicated volunteers also participate by fundraising, providing foster care, socializing the animals, doing office work and more.
Foster families care for all homeless dogs, puppies and kittens to prepare them for adoption, providing special attention in a home environment. Many of these animals are very young, without a mother, and need to be bottle-fed. Some require daily medication or socialization. There are also foster volunteers who work with feral kittens to help them become friendly kitties. Eagle Valley Humane Society has an adoption center in Eagle, where the public can visit adult cats that are ready for adoption.
The humane society does more than take in dogs and cats and find them new homes. Learn more at http://www.eaglevalleyhumanesociety.org.
Vail-Summit Orthopaedic Foundation
Founded in 2013 by the physicians at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, Vail-Summit Orthopaedic Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to improve the care of patients with musculoskeletal disorders through research, education and outreach.
Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders affect people of all ages and are often painful, limiting and debilitating. Among children and adolescents, musculoskeletal conditions are surpassed only by respiratory infections as a cause of missed school days. For adults, musculoskeletal disorders interfere with work and quality of life and can become particularly burdensome for older people, often causing a downward health spiral that is difficult to reverse.
Vail-Summit Orthopaedic Foundation conducts patient outcomes research and basic science studies through collaborative research agreements with Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, Vail Health, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and University of Denver Human Dynamics Laboratory. Educational and outreach activities include academic programs that keep pace with advances in medicine, technology and biomedical research to meet the needs of health-care professionals practicing all over the world.
Learn more at http://www.vsoresearch.org.
Red Ribbon Project
Red Ribbon Project supports youth sexual health, helping the community achieve a record-breaking decline in unintended teen birth rates and ensuring more schools than ever before have access to comprehensive sex education. The organization’s goal is to increase its reach and create a community where all youth have the information and resources to make educated decisions about their sexual health.
Last year, Red Ribbon Project was able to reach an estimated 1,750 youth through either comprehensive sex education or its teenage pregnancy prevention program. A key component when working with young people is simple awareness: teaching them to understand their bodies, both the physical and emotional components. Youth are provided with concrete strategies to help recognize their emotions and are subsequently better able to navigate relationships.
Thanks to the Red Ribbon Project, thousands of students have benefitted from the opportunity to learn about what is happening to their bodies as they become adolescents and how to keep themselves healthy, safe and proud of the decisions they make. Learn more at http://www.redribbonproject.org.
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue
Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is a nonprofit organization committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted horses. As one of the only equine-rescue organizations on Colorado’s Western Slope, MVHR covers a lot of territory, making an everlasting difference for those horses it can save.
MVHR operates out of a 114-acre ranch located between Vail and Steamboat Springs. The organization works to reduce horse abuse and neglect through education, outreach and relationships with local law enforcement agencies, veterinarians, concerned citizens and private horse owners.
When possible, MVHR networks to find horses new private homes. When necessary, horses are taken in and cared for with the goal of returning them to full health and adoption into loving, forever homes. They are provided with food, shelter, care, medical treatment, and training to become adoptable. Some horses are provided sanctuary care at the rescue for the rest of their lives.
Today, MVHR has 25 horses on property. Because of the generosity of the community, these animals have a new life, a new home and a new future. Learn more at http://www.mountainvalleyhorserescue.com.
Family Learning Center
In March 2000, the Family Learning Center was founded to provide an exceptional early-childhood education experience for working families in Eagle County. The nondenominational, nonprofit organization’s mission is to work in partnership with the community to serve children and families in the Eagle River Valley by providing affordable, high-quality early childhood learning programs using developmentally appropriate practices in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment.
The Family Learning Center’s year-round program serves children from ages 8 weeks to 6 years old. Caring, certified teachers bring expertise and experience to each classroom. The Creative Curriculum implemented by the Family Learning Center creates an atmosphere in which children feel safe, emotionally secure and have a sense of belonging, helping them acquire social competence and the skills they need to succeed as learners.
The Family Learning Center provides a sliding scale tuition option for families in need. Currently, 72 percent of families enrolled receive some sort of tuition assistance. The organization has a direct, positive impact on children’s future and sets up children for success to enter elementary school as kindergartners.
United Way of Eagle River Valley
The United Way of Eagle River Valley opens the door to powerful and impactful programs. The organization’s goal is a community where all individuals and families achieve their potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives.
United Way fights for moms and dads who want to give their babies a home, working families who cannot get childcare due to a six-month waitlist and high costs, kids who use drugs, kids who need mentors, parents who want to be those mentors.
It fights for people with special needs who can’t leave their home without help, people who can’t afford to go to the dentist or get glasses, people who become ill and then end up in poverty, people who feel like dying, people who want to live and need help and knowledge, inclusiveness and opportunity for all.
Donations support 40 local programs, and all of the money stays local: $3 provides a meal and $9 a night of shelter or $3,000 buys cabinetry or roofing for someone’s home. Learn more at unitedwayeagle.org.
Vail Mountain Rescue Group
Vail Mountain Rescue Group traces its origins to the earliest days of Vail. Back then, whenever a skier or a hunter went missing in the wilderness, the county sheriff walked into Donovan’s Copper Bar and recruited whomever was available to mount a backcountry rescue mission.
In 1977, a core group of local ski patrollers, ranchers, mountain climbers and wilderness guides who typically responded to the sheriff’s calls formed an official nonprofit with a noble mission: providing assistance to anyone having an emergency in the wilderness, free of charge.
Forty years later, the mission remains the same but the team’s mission load and resources have grown to include four rescue vehicles, five snowmobiles, two rafts, three ATVs, one UTV and a mountain of gear cached at its 5,000-square-foot Edwards headquarters, all of which must be maintained for mission-ready status.
Since January, the self-funded team, which counts 51 active volunteer members and operates under the authority of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, has been paged out more than 113 times, rescuing 150 subjects, never charging for its services.
Learn more at vailmountainrescue.org.
Eagle Valley Senior Life
Faced with the challenge of trying to care for their loved ones with cognitive or physical limitations and keep them at home despite the lack of resources in the valley, a group of caregivers formed Eagle Valley Senior Life: Partners in Elder Caregiving in 2011 and The Senior Spot was born. Participants of The Spot, an adult day program, benefit from social and cognitive stimulation while their caregivers get a much-needed break.
Eagle Valley Senior Life has since expanded to offer other programs designed to improve the quality of life of older adults struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive and physical disabilities and their caregivers in Eagle County, including a Caregiver Assistance Fund to help offset the high cost of in-home care from licensed agencies.
Eagle Valley Senior Life’s Caregiver Education Series and a Caregiving 101 online guide have provided helpful resources on such topics as tax and legal issues, stress management, long-term care options and advanced care planning. Caregivers are encouraged to contact Eagle Valley Senior Life and also join the Facebook group, High Country Caregivers, to get the support they need.
Learn more at http://www.evslife.org.
Bravo! Vail Music Festival
Bravo! Vail Music Festival’s dream is to inspire a music-loving community in which the finest performers, composers, instruments and instruction are accessible to everyone by bringing exceptional orchestras, soloists, chamber ensembles, education programs and free concerts to the Vail Valley.
The 2018 season of Bravo! Vail will feature its four resident orchestras — London’s Academy of St Martin in the Fields with violinist Joshua Bell, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic — as well as the Chamber Music, Classically Uncorked, and the Linda & Mitch Hart Soirée Series.
Dozens of free programs also take place throughout the summer, including the Free Concert Series, Little Listeners at the Library, Free Family Concerts and the Bravo! Vail After Dark Series. More than 8,000 people attend these free events each year.
Bravo! Vail’s involvement in the community continues year-round. More than 140 students across Eagle County participate in Bravo! Vail’s After-School Piano Program during the academic year, giving children access to in-depth music lessons and training.
Learn more at bravovail.org.
Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation
As a local nonprofit founded by 19 longtime locals, the Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation’s roots go deep and branch out widely throughout the valley.
As much as it’s important to the organization to support every aspect of what makes the valley special, the No. 1 priority is its people: the ones who keep the valley running, who work on the mountain, in the restaurants, at the computers, behind the wheel, behind the desk, on the ladders, on the rivers and in the schools.
Since 2004, Swift Eagle has provided swift financial assistance to hundreds of individuals and families for living and personal expenses, helping them to maintain or regain self-sufficiency in spite of the hardships they’ve gone through. Grants given go toward rent, mortgage, utilities, dental and eye care.
Swift Eagle is uniquely structured to respond swiftly, especially in emergency situations, and with an active, all-volunteer board, monies donated go to those in need, rather than salaries and overhead expenses. Learn more at http://www.swifteagle.org.
Eagle River Watershed Council
Clean water; lush riverbanks; thriving fish, birds and wildlife; excellent river recreation opportunities; strong community; breathtaking landscapes with a healthy river at its heart — as the only organization exclusively focused on keeping the rivers and streams of Eagle County healthy, Eagle River Watershed Council protects these values for the Eagle Valley community.
The Watershed Council designs and implements river restoration and protection projects throughout the county every year. These projects are identified through scientific water quality monitoring, which identifies problems as they emerge before they can get out of control.
The Watershed Council depends upon about 1,600 volunteers annually to implement these restoration projects and to participate in the Highway Cleanup every May and the River Cleanup each September. Thanks to these volunteers, 70 miles of the Eagle and Upper Colorado rivers and 138 miles of roadways are cleaned each year, preserving the integrity of the local watershed for generations to come.
The Watershed Council also strives to take a proactive approach to educating the community about water, from children to adults, and gives each individual the knowledge needed to become an informed advocate for rivers and streams. The Watershed Wednesday program, with engaging speakers, tours, workshops, films and river floats, brings pertinent issues and information to the community.
Learn more at http://www.erwc.org.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, in Vail’s Ford Park, is a nationally recognized botanical garden. Free and open to the public year-round, 100,000 visitors per year experience vistas of flowers in summer and a serene, white beauty in winter. Educational exhibits and programs help fulfill the mission “to deepen understanding and promote conservation of alpine plants and fragile mountain environments.”
With more than 3,000 species of alpine and mountain plants, including a nationally accredited collection of Colorado’s alpine flora, this is a living outdoor classroom. Walking or snowshoeing through the gardens is a magical experience accompanied by learning opportunities from plant life and trees to new educational panels on the creek teaching the importance of a healthy riparian environment.
In 2018, the Gardens’ educational theme is H20 = Life. Thousands of visitors will learn about the complex web of water and life, including the hidden world of macroinvertebrates, the habits and habitats of beavers and historical events that have impacted local waterways.
With traveling exhibits in the Education Center, hands-on workshops in the Gardens and drop-in activities for children, there is something for everyone. Learn more at http://www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org.
Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group
The Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group fundraising efforts support all those in Eagle County — men and women — who are diagnosed with the disease.
Each person diagnosed with breast cancer receives a check from the group in the amount of $500 — the Day to Play program — to help relieve the stress of treatment. The funds can be used to offset medical expenses or for a relaxing indulgence such as a day at the spa. A Pink Lemonade Bubble Gum Day to Play program provides $50 to each child whose parent is undergoing treatment.
Over the past 23 years, the 10-volunteer Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group has raised more than $1 million; more than 450 women have received a Day to Play, and more than 40 women have each received more than $2,000 in assistance.
The organization’s contributions to the Sonnenalp Breast & Diagnostic Imaging Center have gone toward the purchase of equipment including a PET Scanner, a stereotactic table, a 3D tomography machine and a GE Whole Breast Automated Ultra Sound System, to name a few.
Additional donations were earmarked for the Jack’s Place cancer caring house and a GAP fund for those who needed assistance for additional diagnostic tests not covered by insurance. In 2017, the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group donated funds for new reflective technology used to mark tumors in the breast before surgery.
Learn more at http://www.vailbreastcancerawareness.org.
Eagle Valley Child Care Association
Eagle Valley Child Care Association operates two early-learning programs in the Vail Valley: Vail Child Care Center and Miller Ranch Child Care Center. Together, the centers serve approximately 150 students annually.
Quality early-childhood programming is an important consideration for parents when they are looking for child care because children grow and develop so much in their first years of life. Quality programming helps children start early and start strong. Research supports that emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct impact on the adult they will become.
This year, Eagle Valley Child Care Association demonstrated its commitment to quality when both Vail Child Care and Miller Ranch Child Care earned a Level 4 rating from Colorado Shines, a statewide independent evaluation of quality in early-childhood programming. Learn more at eaglevalleychildcare.com.
Eagle County Historical Society
The Eagle County Historical Society has collected some interesting “stuff” for the archives this year: a copper whiskey still from Gore Creek; photographs of an elk hunt on Brush Creek in the late 1800s; the sweat-stained cowboy hat and braided horsehair bridle that was used by a prominent Wolcott rancher; and a croquet set from Camp Hale.
The Historical Society is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to educate Eagle County residents and visitors about Eagle County’s history through a variety of projects and programs. More than 9,900 people visited the history museum during the warm-weather season. The organization offered local history classes for valley Realtors, took its “hands on history” program to 300 elementary school students and offered history hikes in partnership with Walking Mountain Science Center.
The Historical Society also helped a local rancher publish his memoir and offered several local history lectures for the public. An “Old West Gambling Night” taught locals the strategies of gambling games including Faro, Chuck-a-Luck, and Spanish Monte.
Working closely with the Eagle Valley Library District, the Historical Society has digitized thousands of historic photographs and records, accessible online at evld.org.
Learn more at eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com.
Education Foundation of Eagle County
Selected as Small Nonprofit of the Year by the Vail Valley Partnership two of the past three years, the Education Foundation of Eagle County works to enhance public education for nearly 7,000 students and 1,100 educators and school staff in Eagle County.
Research has proven teachers are the most valuable in-school resource effecting student achievement. Students spend more than 1,000 hours each school year in a classroom. Highly qualified teachers and low student-teacher ratios make that time effective and impactful.
Through core programs including the Distinguished Teacher Awards, continuing education financial assistance for teacher professional development and Classroom Equity Grants, the Education Foundation of Eagle County strives to bridge the gap between what is expected of local teachers and students and the inadequate state resources available to support them.
A local teacher says it best: “Educators need to feel empowered, supported to go after their own ideas and appreciated for their constant dedication to their profession. Your generosity shows that you have the same vision for our learning community. I am fortunate to work within a school community that is student-centered. … I truly appreciate your assistance in my endeavors to be a leader in the community we love.”
Learn more at efec.org.
Vail Valley Foundation
It would be difficult to envision the Vail Valley without the Vail Valley Foundation. The organization has been a champion of big ideas since 1981, helping to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the community through work in three main areas: arts, athletics and education.
In education, the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 has helped more than 12,000 young people reach their potential. With a mission to serve “every child, every day,” YouthPower365 is there every step of the way, with programming from early childhood to kindergarten through 12th grade to career/college readiness.
In the arts, the Vail Valley Foundation hosts the premiere dance festival in the nation, the Vail Dance Festival, as well as top-tier performing arts programming at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
In athletics, the Vail Valley Foundation hosts the annual Birds of Prey World Cup ski races each December and the GoPro Mountain Games in June. The Vail Valley Foundation also led the effort to bring the Alpine World Ski Championships to Vail and Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999 and 2015.
Learn more at http://www.vvf.org.
Can Do MS
Can Do MS transforms lives by delivering health and wellness education programs on exercise, nutrition, symptom management and motivation to help families with multiple sclerosis thrive.
The organization is a valley local, founded in 1984 by Olympic medalist Jimmie Heuga, a pioneer in the MS care-management field. Can Do MS continues to embrace his positive can-do philosophy and perspective, which complements comprehensive care.
Can Do MS offers a range of individualized, experiential program formats that equip families with the expanded knowledge, skills, awareness and confidence to become active co-managers of their health
“I was able to return to my job as a college counselor and now exercise five days a week. I have a new outlook on living with this disease. Jimmie’s motto to live an active life and not let the disease define him has inspired me to keep pushing on every day,” said Jane, a Can Do program alumna.
Already this year, thousands of families with MS received full scholarships for our health and wellness education programs. However, with the rising number of people with MS, there are still families for the Can Do MS team to reach. One hundred percent of donations directly support scholarships for families with MS.
Learn more at http://www.mscando.org.
Early Childhood Partners
Early Childhood Partners is a community-based nonprofit organization founded in June 2006. The organization has served as an integral partner in Eagle County’s child development, social and human services network.
The organization was founded in response to children being expelled from child care and a need for mental health consultation for young children. When specialists with Early Childhood Partners began evaluating children’s environments at home and school, it was quickly realized that there was a direct correlation between the quality of the child care program and the number of expulsions and/or children with challenging behavior.
Early Childhood Partners devised a group of early childhood mental health consultants and early childhood specialists to address improving child care program quality, supporting children with challenging behavior and/or suspected developmental delays, and facilitating more interaction between parents and teachers.
Over the years, Early Childhood Partners expanded its initial aim to implement child care quality improvement coaching and now offers complimentary services for parents and child care providers with an emphasis on social and emotional skill building. Early Childhood Partners also facilitates the Incredible Years Parenting classes in both English and Spanish, ongoing communitywide teacher trainings and the Family Leadership Training Institute annually.
Learn more at earlychildhoodpartnerscolorado.org.
Colorado Mountain College Foundation
Established in 1985, the Colorado Mountain College Foundation builds sustainable community support for the needs and strategic priorities of Colorado Mountain College and its students. CMC has 11 campuses over 12,000 square miles of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, including CMC Vail Valley at Edwards.
CMC aspires to be the most inclusive, innovative, student-centered college in the nation, elevating the economic, social, cultural and environmental vitality of its Rocky Mountain communities. Student scholarships and support play an important role in ensuring CMC remains accessible and affordable for all. Gifts to the CMC Foundation have a direct and immediate impact on student success.
During the 2016-17 year, the Vail Valley campus supported more than 582 enrollments in English as a second language and English and Spanish GED courses. Each year, the Vail Valley campus supports more than 80 first-generation students through its work with TRIO and Upward Bound Programs.
Dual enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year totaled 552 high school students earning 5,126 college credits, and last May, six motivated high school students completed a minimum of 60 credit hours of college coursework to earn an associate degree two weeks before they graduated from high school.
To read more success stories, visit cmcbecauseofyou.org/stories.
Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley
Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Because you, me, we — we’re all humans. And every single one us deserves the opportunity for a better future.
Habitat partners with people in the local community to build a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. A Habitat home is a stabilizing force for a family. Better, affordable living conditions lead to improved health, stronger childhood development and the ability — and financial flexibility — to make forward-looking choices.
Since 1995, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley has built and renovated 68 homes in the communities of Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum and Leadville. Habitat is currently building six homes each year in Gypsum’s Stratton Flats neighborhood.
Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help local families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, visit habitatvailvalley.org.
Castle Peak by Augustana Care
Castle Peak by Augustana Care offers assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services in Eagle, helping older generations and others in need live the lives that most inspire them. In its first year of operation, Castle Peak served 119 individuals. A new second-floor neighborhood is opening, due to high demand.
Donations to Castle Peak enable the organization to train staff to help meet residents’ needs, support spiritual care and evaluate possibilities for a fund to help those who need financial assistance. Donations also help support Castle Peak’s unique programs, such as horticulture and music therapy.
Recently, Castle Peak was chosen to receive Music and Memory certification. The benefits of music therapy are grounded in neuroscience, allowing residents, including those with dementia, to connect with past experiences. Certification will provide staff training to develop individualized music programming and equipment for residents, such as iPods, headphones and iTunes cards.
To learn more, visit castlepeak.org.
What began as a seasonal clinic in 1965 is now a modern mountain health system. Formerly Vail Valley Medical Center, Vail Health has grown to meet the community’s changing needs, with a new name that represents its promise to provide the best health care possible.
Vail Health is a nonprofit, independent health system. This allows it to reinvest every dollar in Eagle County. Vail Health gives an average of $13 million in community benefits each year and offers 30-plus medical specialties.
The Commission on Cancer accredited the Shaw Cancer Center with commendation. In addition to outstanding care, it provides emotional support through its Spirit of Survival program and Jack’s Place cancer caring house. Nearly 500 people have been treated in Vail Heath’s Precourt Family Cath lab. This program allows seriously ill heart patients to receive care right here.
Vail Health also treats around 24,000 people in it emergency department, making it one of the nation’s five busiest Level III centers. Vail Health also partners with The Steadman Clinic and Vail-Summit Orthopaedics to repair damaged joints so people can return to the activities they love. Howard Head Sports Medicine is known worldwide for excellent patient outcomes, conducting more than 76,500 sessions last year.
Learn more at http://www.vailhealth.org.
Monsignor Tom Dentici saw a need in the Vail community to serve the poor, the immigrants and the most vulnerable. He became instrumental in opening the Western Slope regional office of Catholic Charities in 1995 in the basement of the Vail Interfaith Chapel. With one staff member at that time, the purpose was to provide much-needed emergency assistance services to low-income residents who were largely invisible to the majority of the population. These concerns remain today.
For the past 22 years, Catholic Charities has strived to empower the most vulnerable to attain sustainability through compassionate services such as advocacy, emergency assistance, education, resource navigation and case management. The focus of Catholic Charities is on meeting the complete needs of everyone it serves. All households served are low income and have a demonstrated need for assistance.
Clients served are primarily families with young children, single mothers, individuals with disabilities, veterans and seniors who may be unemployed, underemployed or fully employed but unable to keep up with the high cost of living in the area. Learn more at ccdenver.org/western-slope-services.
Roundup River Ranch
Roundup River Ranch provides children with serious illnesses an old-fashioned, fun camp experience where they are not defined by their illness or things they haven’t tried before. At a picturesque, 125-acre ranch in Eagle County, campers and their families discover the healing power of love, laughter, friendship and shared experiences through year-round camp programs.
Campers realize they are not alone, find the courage to try new activities such as archery or horseback riding and build confidence. With medical, physical and emotional support from health-care professionals, staff and volunteers, campers and their families have the peace of mind to relax and experience the joys of childhood. And best of all, no camper or his or her family ever pays a penny.
Annually, more than 1,400 campers discover a world of possibilities at Roundup River Ranch. While the focus is on fun and giggles, there are serious changes that take place for campers. The Yale Child Study Center found that those who attend a serious/fun camp such as Roundup River Ranch showed improved confidence, higher self-esteem, a greater sense of independence, an increased interest in social activities and reduced stress related to their illness.
Learn more at roundupriverranch.org.