District thanks nonprofit for holiday gifts to Avon students | VailDaily.com

District thanks nonprofit for holiday gifts to Avon students

Pearl Hess and her first grade students at Avon Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Eagle County Schools.

Eagle County Schools is giving a big “thank you” to Kenzi’s Causes, a Denver-area nonprofit, for gifts to students at Avon Elementary School this holiday season.

Kenzi’s Causes, founded by Jessica Bachus in 2007 after her daughter was born stillborn, donated gifts to students at the school, providing supply-packed school backpacks and new toys.

The organization previously provided 60 backpacks full of new school supplies to Avon Elementary students at the beginning of the school year, but redoubled its support this holiday season, donating holiday gifts for all 300-plus Avon Elementary students last month.

“Seeing the smiles on their faces when our students received the donated gifts was heartwarming. For some of these kids, this was maybe the only present they received for Christmas,” said Principal Dana Harrison. “We are very grateful for Jessica and Kenzi’s Causes. We hope to continue working with them in the future.”

Bachus and her team work primarily with underprivileged communities in Denver and Fort Collins, extending south to Pueblo and Colorado Springs. They started looking for communities to serve on the Western Slope and contacted Harrison in October 2019, and have continued a partnership into the current school year.

Seventy percent of students at Avon Elementary qualify for free and reduced lunch. And during an almost year-long pandemic where unemployment rates have affected many households across the country and rural areas dependent on tourism, many families have struggled to make ends meet, making it difficult to save for children’s gifts during the last holiday season, Eagle County Schools said in a news release announcing the donation.

“Being able to use new school supplies at the beginning of the school year raises the students’ self-esteem, they feel excited about coming to school and this helps the teacher create a different environment in the classroom,” Bachus said. “I didn’t expect to step outside of the Denver area, and now I want to be in every community in Colorado that needs us. We are changing communities and who knows what these children will go out and do, they are our future and I cannot wait and see how they are going to change the world.”

Support Local Journalism