Ready for Colorado Gives Day? Here are the local nonprofits seeking support | VailDaily.com
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Ready for Colorado Gives Day? Here are the local nonprofits seeking support

Editor’s note: The Vail Daily is running profiles of local nonprofits that are participating in Eagle County Gives Day, in tandem with Colorado Gives Day, on Dec. 10. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Donate online at http://www.eaglecogives.org or schedule your donation in advance.

The Cycle Effect

The mission of The Cycle Effect is to empower young women through mountain biking to create brighter futures and build stronger communities. We use the mountain bike as a tool for the education and empowerment of young women. And we believe that keeping girls on a healthy path through riding bikes will help get them to college. Most importantly, we embed life skills to forge a successful path toward educational, economic and family success.

We work with young women in Eagle and Summit Counties between the ages of 10-18; 70% identify as lower-income, Hispanic or Latina or participate in the free and reduced lunch program. 

The Cycle Effect empowers young women through mountain biking to create brighter futures and build stronger communities
Special to the Daily

Our mission encompasses three major ideas we take to heart:

Create brighter futures: We are helping young women dream bigger and have higher expectations for their lives. Participants develop grit and determination through mountain biking. This helps them realize that what they thought was impossible is, in fact, possible through hard work and perseverance. 

Build stronger communities: Participants are out in the community volunteering at the food bank, working on trails, and working on other projects through our partnerships with other nonprofits.

Empower them: Participants are given opportunities for community service, public speaking, mentorship and goal setting. They receive over 80 days per year of highly personalized programming with our coaches and volunteers. Lastly, we help them find funding to attend college. 100% of our program graduates have gone to college; 75% being first in their family. 

For more information: Visit http://www.thecycleeffect.org or call 970-306-7572.

Photo caption: Second graders check out the mining exhibit at the Eagle County Historical Museum in Eagle. The museum, located in a turn-of-the-century dairy barn, is open mid-May through mid-September. (Special to the Daily)

Eagle County Historical Society

An antique typewriter stopped several dozen second-graders in their tracks this year during a class tour of the Eagle County Historical Museum last fall. The kids were both fascinated and puzzled.

“Is this a writing machine?” they asked, struggling with the concept of communicating without a computer screen.

History connects people with their roots and also helps them understand change. People need history in order to understand the world around them and in turn develop plans for the future.

Since 1972, the nonprofit Eagle County Historical Society has worked hard to preserve and share the valley’s local history. The past year has been particularly busy.

Nearly 5,000 people visited the history museum in Eagle this season. Special programs explored the history of wolves in Eagle County and told the story of the Ute people, both past and present. History hikes sent people exploring the red cliffs above the Horn Ranch at Wolcott, the mining camps on Tennessee Pass, and the Camp Hale World War II army training site.

Partnering with the Eagle Valley Library District, the Society maintains physical archives at the Eagle Public Library. History is also available online. The public can access thousands of photos and documents via either the Society’s website, eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com, or the library district website, evld.org.

The ECHS is a small-scale nonprofit with a large-scale dedication to preserving local history. Honoring the past is the key to creating a better future. Community support is always welcome.

For more information: Visit eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com.

Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops

The Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops celebrated 25 years in 2019 and are a local nonprofit Christian help organization. The Thrifty Shops receive donated items from the community and recycle them through the stores. They sell the items at a fair price, then with the revenue generated through the stores, they put that money back into the community in the form of grants to worthy help organizations as well as scholarships for students attending Colorado Mountain College.

Over the past year, The Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops have recycled over 2,500,000 pounds and kept it out of our landfills. This was a record year for grants and scholarships as they were able to put over $322,000 back into our community, bringing the total to over $4 million so far.

For more information: Visit vailvalleycares.com.

Colorado Snowsports Museum

The Colorado Snowsports Museum, established in 1976 as a Colorado nonprofit, has been entrusted to preserve, protect and share the state’s snowsports heritage. The museum’s collection of 15,000 snow sports-related objects, photos and films is significant and is a resource for historians, educators, students, filmmakers, Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), writers, and colleagues at other museums.  

Parts of the collection are attractively displayed in the museum in Vail and incorporated into exhibits across the state. Information on other artifacts in the collection is available on our website. 

You can hear fascinating stories about the soldiers of the famed 10th Mountain Division at the Colorado Snowsports Museum.
Photo courtesy of the Colorado Snowsports Museum

The presentations trace the fascinating history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado for the past 170 years and the influence they had on the economic, cultural, and social development of our Centennial State.

The Colorado Snowpsorts Museum is located on the third level of the Vail Village Parking Structure and is free and easily accessible for the public.  The museum’s diverse programming includes guided history tours, apres ski and after-hours presentations and helps bring Colorado’s rich ski history to life.

For more information: Visit SnowsportsMuseum.org.

Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Mountain College is in the business of changing lives. We change lives by providing an affordable, high-quality education. Our students take the education they receive at CMC and change other lives, contributing to our communities as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, executives, accountants, elementary school teachers, chefs, mechanics and everything in between.

Throughout our 12 campuses and locations, we offer five bachelor degrees in nursing, business, education, leadership and management, and sustainability.

In addition, we offer 54 associate degrees and 71 certificate programs. Every major or program comes with hands-on assignments, fieldwork and/or internships to connect our students to our communities and provide real-world education for a real-world job.

The Colorado Mountain College Foundation plays an important role in supporting the college. Generous donors like you fund new scholarships, academic programs and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling students to learn new skills, develop untapped talents and prepare for their careers.

During 2018-2019, the CMC Foundation awarded $1.25 million in scholarships to 576 students. These scholarships supported students like Diana Loera Pompa who is making a difference as a peer mentor/coach. Her goal is to help as many people in the community as she can.

When you donate to CMC Foundation, your generosity changes the life of every student who dares to do something major. That generosity provides quality educational experiences and unique opportunities to our students, ultimately elevating the economic, social, cultural, and environmental vitality of our beautiful Rocky Mountain communities.

For more information: To learn more or to donate visit https://www.coloradogives.org/CMCFVailValley.

The Vail Valley Foundation

Look back at your year of activities in the Vail Valley and there’s a good chance you took part in a Vail Valley Foundation event, program, or initiative.

More than 100,000 spectators came in person to one of the Vail Valley Foundation’s performing arts or athletic events, and millions more took part from afar, enjoying one of our events via traditional and social media.

It’s hard to imagine the Vail Valley without the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the Vilar Performing Arts Center, the Vail Dance Festival, the Xfinity Birds of Prey ski races, Hot Summer Nights and ShowDown Town free concert series’, or the GoPro Mountain Games — all of which are Vail Valley Foundation events, projects, or venues.

Families represent almost half of all those who come to the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail each June. It’s one of the Vail Valley Foundation’s signature events, and only part of what this unique organization has done since 1981 to create an enormous impact on quality of life in Eagle County. Photo by Rick Lohre.
Give-Magazine-Mountain-Games-Photo-by-Rick-Lohre

The Vail Valley Foundation’s work doesn’t end there: more than 3,200 young people and families benefit each year from the organization’s YouthPower365 education enrichment work, which provides afterschool, summertime, early childhood, and college-and-career-readiness programming right here in Eagle County.

It is a unique organization shaped by a unique history. Founded in 1981 with support from President Gerald R. Ford, the Vail Valley Foundation has a mission to enhance the quality of life in the Vail Valley through arts, athletics, and education.

There is no better way to have a broad and lasting impact on the community than through the support and volunteerism that have made the Vail Valley Foundation the county’s leading nonprofit for more than 35 years.

For more information: Visit VVF.org or call 970-777-2015

YouthPower365

The end-of-day school bell can also be a dividing bell. For some, it is a time of uncertainty and hunger, filled with negative influences. For others it’s a time of joy, comfort, learning, and growth.

YouthPower365 has partnered with our schools, individual donors, and local businesses to ensure that every Eagle County family can rest assured that their children have access to a warm and welcoming environment after school, in summer, in preschool, to high school, and beyond. YouthPower365 creates a comprehensive environment of support where young people are surrounded by inspiring, intelligent mentors as they navigate the difficult challenges of youth.

The Magic Bus Mobile Preschool is one of many programs that the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 provides as part of its education enrichment programming. From early childhood, to K-12, to college and career-readiness, YouthPower365 is with our valley’s children every step of the way. Photo by Dan Davis.
Give-Magazine-Magic-Bus-photo-by-Dan-Davis

As the education component of the Vail Valley Foundation, YouthPower365 has a decades-long history of helping bridge the gap in our education system. Hundreds of dedicated teachers, mentors, and volunteers guide more than 3,200 young people though the vicissitudes of life: from the critical early childhood years (PwrUp) to the K-12 ages (PwrHrs) to the preparations for college and career-readiness (PwrOn).

It only happens thanks to the tremendous community, donor, and volunteer support. The families and youth of Eagle County thank you for your decision to give.

For more information: Visit youthpower365.org or call 970-777-2015.

Vail Veterans Program

Since 2004, Vail Veterans Program has transformed the lives of over 3,000 wounded veterans and their families from across the nation, who are confronting immense physical and emotional challenges resulting from a severe military service injury.

The foundation provides year-round innovative and transformational programs that restore confidence, promote a healthy recovery, reconnect families, and facilitate the building of lifelong communities of mutual support. Vail Veterans Program provides all programs at no cost to wounded veterans, their families and military hospital support staff.

For more information: Visit: http://www.vailveteransprogram.org or call 970-476-4906.

Eagle Valley Community Foundation

Eagle Valley Community Foundation is inspiring collective solutions to local challenges. Our role is to gather people together who are doing good work, and to listen intently to the needs and gaps that exist in our community, then work collectively on solutions.

One of the solutions is The Community Market. Chef Kelly Liken’s leadership is raising the profile of The Community Market as a healthy source of food for anyone in need. The Community Market is growing steadily in impact, serving more than 800 people each week. We are proud of our dedicated effort to increase fresh produce to 50% of our food distribution. The Community Market recovers more than 32,000 pounds of food a month from local groceries, as well as sourcing produce from local farmers. This assures healthy, wholesome foods are available to families, while reducing food waste, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

An example of working collaboratively is the combined effort of The Eagle Valley Community Foundation, Vail Health and Eagle County Public Health working to improve access to county health and resource referrals. The program is based on an RV that is branded as “MIRA,” which means “vision” in Spanish. As an acronym, it stands for Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance, connecting people to free local health and wellness resources. More than 4,000 people have connected with the program, more than doubling the impact of county public health services in the Eagle Valley.

For more information: Visit http://www.eaglevalleycf.org.

Small Champions

Small Champions is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing and improving quality of life by providing sports and recreational opportunities for eligible youth with multiple disabilities who are residents of Eagle County. Individuals receive needs-based instruction to support their developmental progress.

Founded in 1996, Small Champions is a sports and recreation program for qualifying children ages 5 through 21 with cognitive, physical, and multiple disabilities.

Our belief is that each individual deserves the best quality of life possible. Small Champions was created solely to give Eagle County children the opportunity to participate in many of the world-class activities available in our community. Allowing our Small Champions to pursue all of their dreams and goals, and instill in them the growth, confidence and determination that will set the direction for their entire lives.

Our sports programs are provided in an interactive, stimulating and safe environment where participants can learn new skills, gain confidence, and develop lasting relationships with their instructors, counselors and fellow participants. Small Champions focuses on abilities not disabilities.

Children work one-on-one with an instructor specially trained in adaptive teaching techniques and equipment to accommodate a wide variety of disabilities. We provide programs that would otherwise be unavailable to these children without significant cost to their families. Small Champions programs provide an opportunity for these special children to be part of a group that meets often to enjoy sports and recreation, grow, learn and have fun. It is very important for our Small Champions to have a peer group, and for their families to forge friendships enabling them to help each other. No other program exists in the Eagle Valley to provide these services for these children.

For more information: Visit http://www.smallchampions.com.

Walking Mountains Science Center

At Walking Mountains Science Center we envision an Eagle River Valley where everyone understands the science of nature and they are inspired to take action as an environmental steward. Through robust youth programs, community programs, sustainability initiatives, and community collaborations, we reach more than 280,000 people annually.

Our youth programs connect K-12 students to the natural world by immersing them in hands-on place-based science education programs. Youth programs increase science literacy and promote systems thinking through Eagle County school initiatives, STEM programs, summer science camps, preschool programs, and early childhood family programs. Additionally, we engage community members and visitors of all ages through experiential opportunities, community workshops and lectures, three integrated educational facilities, guided interpretive nature experiences, and the local environment.

Our sustainability initiatives act as an agent of change to improve the social, economic, and environmental resilience of the Eagle County community. We serve as a resource and education hub to inspire action from local to global through climate action, energy efficiency and assistance, recycling and waste reduction, sustainable business training, sustainable destinations and sustainable tourism programs. We could not achieve our mission without the generous support from our donors.

For more information: Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/cogives.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming abused, neglected, abandoned, and unwanted equines. As one of the only horse rescue organizations on the Western Slope, we cover a lot of territory. Though we are making a small dent in the need, we make an everlasting difference for those equines we can save. And with help, we know we can save many more.

MVHR began in 2004 when two horses were found abandoned up in the Flat Tops. Now located on 115 acres along the Colorado River, just outside of McCoy, Colorado, the rescue offers horses a place to rest, recover and move on to their new homes. MVHR’s current on-site population is 25 with a waiting list of 40. 

“Horse rescues do not receive any federal funding, and it costs more than $5,000 per year for the basic care of one horse,” said Shana Devins, Executive Director at MVHR. “Mountain Valley Horse Rescue relies on volunteers, foster homes, donations and sponsorships to provide for our horses. With every dollar we raise, the lives of horses are saved and their futures secured.”

In addition to providing food, shelter, medical care and training for its rescues, MVHR works to reduce horse abuse and neglect through education and outreach. MVHR also offers service days for adult and youth groups, summer day camps and other opportunities for the local community to get involved.

For more information: Visit http://www.mountainvalleyhorserescue.com.

Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley

Everyone needs a foundation to build a future. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures.

At Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley, this is what unites us. Our shared 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 our 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 79 homes in the communities of Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum and Leadville. In August, Habitat finished its 40th home in Gypsum’s Stratton Flats neighborhood. Habitat is currently building six homes on Grace Avenue adjacent to Red Hill Elementary School on land donated by Eagle County Schools.

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. Through Shelter, We Empower.

For more information: Visit habitatvailvalley.org or call 970-748-6718.

Access Unbound

Although its importance is becoming more widely recognized, access to recreation remains a challenge for persons with disabilities. One obstacle is that those with disabilities often experience higher costs of living, making unaffordable the very recreation that can positively impact physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional health in all areas of their lives. This is the problem Access Unbound was designed to address: furthering equity in access to appropriate, individualized, high quality, professional snowsports instruction for persons with disabilities.

By supporting this access, Access Unbound’s mission is to transform and heal the lives of people with disabilities, or disabling conditions, who qualify for and participate in the adaptive programs at our partner resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek. Our scholarships uniquely assist those with disabilities in taking advantage of therapeutic and freeing snowsports instruction and enjoy our exquisite Colorado mountains alongside everyone else.

We are an entirely separate entity both from our partner programs and other organizations that serve segments of this population. In fact, we strive to collaborate with and extend their reach to meet the needs of our community members, and visitors, of all ages and with all types of disabilities.

At Access Unbound, we strive to find ways to bridge the gaps between the reality of day-to-day life for many people with disabilities and a desire for independence and adventure.

For more information: Visit https://accessunbound.org/

Vail Valley Charitable Fund

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund was created in 1996 to provide assistance to individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley who are experiencing financial hardship due to a medical crisis or long-term illness. The VVCF has grown significantly over the past 23 years, having raised and distributed $8.2 million to over 1,700 families in our community. The majority of our donations come from individuals and businesses right here in our valley. With your help, we provide on average 50 individuals and families each year with assistance to help them make ends meet while undergoing treatment or recovery from a range of medical conditions.

“Our entire world was turned upside down shortly after our daughter Emery was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer at just 5 months old,” said the Welle family — Mike, Aja, Ewan and Emery —who received a grant and a fundraiser. “The VVCF provided a grant and helped put together a beautiful fundraiser. We are humbled and forever grateful for the people at VVCF along with those who support them and all of the great work they do.”

Now in its ninth year of operation, Eagle County Smiles is a community collaborative program of the VVCF that offers low-cost dental care to local uninsured children. Over 700 children have been served by the program since 2010. Children develop a dental “home” and a relationship with a local dental provider, as well as lifelong healthy dental habits. ECS depends upon the collaboration of dozens of community partners including nurses, doctors, dental care providers, public agencies and nonprofit leaders. 

For more information: Visit http://vvcf.org/.

Girl Scouts

An investment in Girl Scouts is an investment in a girl’s potential and a larger investment in our community. Girl Scouts have strong connections to our community, become leaders in our community, learn to problem-solve for our community and give back to our community in a variety of ways. This is part of what it means to be a Girl Scout.

Girl Scouts do better in school, have more confidence, have better decision-making skills, and have more successful futures.

At Girl Scouts, they get to lead her own adventure (it’s her world!) and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most. Along the way, they gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

  • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
  • Outdoors
  • Life skills
  • Entrepreneurship

The result? A lifetime of leadership!

In fact, being a Girl Scout helps girls thrive in five key ways. As a Girl Scout, she:

• Develops a strong sense of self.
• Displays positive values.
• Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks.
• Forms and maintains healthy relationships.
• Learns to identify and solve problems in her community.

Your financial support enables Girl Scouts of Colorado to give girls the skills and confidence to make this happen.

For more information: Visit https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/.

Bravo! Vail

Praised as one of the top 10 classical music festivals by the New York Times, Bravo! Vail Music Festival brings exceptional music to the Vail Valley each summer. The festival proudly continues its tradition of hosting world-class orchestras, chamber ensembles, education programs, and free concerts for our mountain community, and your support makes it all possible.   

The summer season will feature four renowned orchestras — the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the exciting Vail debut of Chamber Orchestra of Europe — as well as a multitude of intimate chamber performances. Over 56,000 people attend Bravo! Vail performances, providing over $24 million in economic impact to the valley.

People enjoy a lovely evening during Bravo! Vail Wednesday in Vail. The performance was shown on the big screen.
Chris Dillman | cdillman@vaildaily.com

Dozens of free Bravo! Vail programs will also take place throughout the valley, including the Free Concert Series, Little Listeners @ the Library, the Free Family Concert, and Instrument Petting Zoos. More than 8,000 people attend these events each year, supported by generous contributions from local businesses and music lovers like you.   

Bravo! Vail’s involvement in our community continues all year. Over 180 students participate in Bravo’s thriving after school piano and strings education programs that give Eagle County kids access to in-depth lessons and music appreciation.

Bravo! Vail has inspired a music-loving community for over thirty years in which the finest performers, composers, instruments, and instruction are accessible to everyone. The Festival seeks your support of this important dream. Please make a gift to Bravo! Vail to enrich people’s lives through the power of music. 

For more information: Visit http://www.bravovail.org/give.

Literacy Project of Eagle County

The Literacy Project has been improving lives in Eagle County since 1990, and the impact it has made on the community is profound. 

When asked to recall a favorite student, Director Colleen Gray diplomatically declares she cannot name just one. But she does have a favorite student quote. A former literacy student told Gray, “If someone offered me a $1,000,000 to go back to the way I was before I could read I would turn them down.”

It is important to remember that the gift of literacy is priceless. The Literacy Project of Eagle County seeks to empower Eagle Valley community members of all ages by offering free assistance in acquiring the literacy and English skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives. For the program’s 200 adult students, learning English means gaining the ability to get better jobs, get medical help when children are sick, manage their daily lives and become more engaged in the community.

“Literacy is perhaps the most powerful weapon we have against poverty, unemployment, poor health and inadequate housing.” Gray said. “Year after year, our students prove that a person’s ability to rise above each of those barriers is directly related to their ability to speak well and read well.”

Additionally, adult tutors work with academically at-risk middle school students, teaching them skills to improve their academics. The Reading Buddies Program pairs teens in with children in grades 1-3 to share an hour of reading each week. Raising A Reader, which impacts Eagle County’s youngest residents, is a preschool program designed to engage parents in the routine of reading daily.

For more information: Visit https://www.literacyprojecteaglecounty.org/

Eagle Valley Land Trust

Eagle Valley Land Trust protects forever the lands we love to preserve our heritage, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitats, and to build a permanent legacy for future generations. 

For over 37 years, EVLT has conserved land within Eagle County for future generations to enjoy. Conservation easements — voluntary legal agreements that protect open space in perpetuity — allow communities to protect the lands that they care about most. Protecting open space, cultural heritage, and wildlife habitat is a draw for both residents and visitors to this mountain community.

Since its founding in 1981, EVLT has continued to facilitate major conservation projects to protect Eagle County’s recreational trails, important wildlife habitat, migration corridors, and natural areas close to neighborhoods. These open spaces and wild places are critical to our community — our local wildlife, families, nature lovers, businesses, ranchers, hikers, and guests. It is the foundation of our tourism-driven economy and community, and it all depends upon the balance and careful conservation of nature that surrounds us.

Eagle Valley Land Trust is working with a number of different partners to preserve Sweetwater Lake for our community.
Tom Lotshaw | tlotshaw@vaildaily.com

Eagle Valley Land Trust provides more to Eagle County than conserved land alone — it leverages protected land to fill community needs. EVLT’s Community Conservation initiative provides residents with the tools and knowledge to access these lands and connect with nature. Future Conservationists, EVLT’s signature youth program, guides students in their own backyard — our local protected open spaces — to engage with nature, ponder the merits of protected land, learn what it means to be a steward, and enjoy unstructured play in the great outdoors that our community has decided to protect forever. 

EVLT’s land conservation work and Community Conservation initiative cannot be done alone. EVLT works with a diverse group of local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies to provide these services — free of charge — to Eagle County residents and guests so that everyone can enjoy the mental health benefits of nature; immerse in local history, heritage, and culture; take pride in our natural surroundings; and ultimately leave a legacy of conservation for all future generations to enjoy, forever.

For more information: Visit https://evlt.org/, call 970-748-7654 or stopy by in person at 34215 Highway 6, Suite 205, Edwards, CO, 81632.

Vail Jazz

A major part of Vail Jazz’s impact over the years — both locally and globally — has been its programs for up-and-coming musicians.

Launched by Vail Jazz founder Howard Stone and bassist John Clayton, who continues to lead along with world-class musicians Jeff Clayton (saxophone), pianist Bill Cunliffe, trumpeter Terell Stafford, drummer Lewis Nash and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, the Vail Jazz Workshop celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020.

Attending the Vail Jazz Workshop, which hosts 12 of North America’s top teenage musical prodigies for 10 days of focused training, all without the help of written music, has become a benchmark achievement for young musicians. 

Lewis Nash works with students at the Vail Jazz Workshop, a week-long, intensive training ground for some of the top teenage musicians in the country.
Special to the Daily

Organizers receive more than 140 applications for the 12 spots each year. All arrive with resumés reading like those of accomplished pros and leave with the unique ability to play by ear. The Vail Jazz Workshop has cultivated around 300 students and many have gone on to illustrious musical careers.

Vail Jazz also exposes local children to America’s greatest art form at a pivotal age. In 1998, Stone and local piano paragon Tony Gulizia launched Vail Jazz Goes to School, an educational series delivered to every elementary school in the Vail Valley, teaching fourth and fifth graders the art of syncopation, the 12-bar blues and improvisation plus the history and evolution of jazz music. Gulizia and his team — Mike Marlier (drums), Andy Hall (bass), Gary Regina (woodwinds), Mike Gurciullo (trumpet) and Michael Pujado (congas and percussion) — have educated nearly 20,000 local students.

In 2013, also with Gulizia in the instructional seat, Stone masterminded Jammin’ Jazz Kids, a free, hands-on class offered to 4 to 12-year-old children every Sunday in July. Gulizia and fellow musician/mentor Brian Loftus equip the crowd of youngsters with xylophones, congas, tambourines, bongos and maracas, and within minutes, the kids are magically thundering out rhythms.

For more information: Visit https://www.vailjazz.org/ or call 970-479-6146.

Vail Symposium

Since 1971, the Vail Symposium has provided unique learning experiences and enjoys a place as one of the Vail Valley’s most cherished, thought-provoking and forward-thinking organizations. With series covering topics from health and wellness and environmental topics to geopolitical and current events.

At its essence, the Vail Symposium is an opportunity for locals and visitors to gather together to discuss current events with world-class speakers, explore opportunities to enhance our community, hear exhilarating stories of adventure, learn about groundbreaking research in wellbeing and discover the stories behind works of art.

This winter, the Vail Symposium will present more than 20 programs with topics including electoral politics; the role cartography plays in history; the way forward with Iran; Russia’s influence on the world, and clean power. Other events offer an opportunity for entertainment and inspiration with speakers like ultramarathoner Courtney Dauwalter, adventurer Caroline Van Hemert and filmmaker Pete McBride.

The mission at the symposium is to offer educational programs that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable. As such, the most expensive program ticket for regular programming is available for $25 while a number of programs are free to attend. The symposium also works to bring visiting speakers to local schools and offers all students and teachers a $10 ticket to any program that is not already free. We invite you to expand your love of learning with the Vail Symposium this winter.

For more information: Visit https://vailsymposium.org/.

Hope Center Eagle River Valley

The mission of the Hope Center Eagle River Valley is to extend a beacon of hope to those in emotional crisis while steadfastly working to decrease the stigma of mental illness through expert clinical care, community collaboration and outreach.

The Hope Center Eagle River Valley is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing mental health crisis services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to those in need. Services include a 24-hour HOPEline, co-response with law enforcement and the Stabilization Program which offers an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization when possible.

The Hope Center was created in the Roaring Fork Valley in 2010 in an effort to address the unmet mental health needs of the people in the Roaring Fork Valley. In September 2017 local law enforcement and other community partners sought out the Hope Center and asked about partnership possibilities. A year later we are thrilled to introduce the Hope Center Eagle River Valley.

All calls to our 24/7 HOPEline are responded to by local crisis clinicians who are highly trained and will conduct crisis assessments anywhere, for any type of crisis. The Hope Center clinicians support individuals, friends and family members every step of the way. From responding to the scene of a fatality, to interacting with someone with psychosis or assessment of a person who wants to end their life, the Hope Center is available during someone’s darkest hours.

If the safety or well-being of an individual is at risk they may be entered into our Stabilization Program, an alternative to inpatient hospitalization. While in the program they remain in their homes, with loved ones, family and friends to support them while receiving specialized, wrap-around services from Hope Center, local agencies and local practitioners.

All crisis services are free and the 24-hour HOPEline is answered day and night, 365 days a year.

For more information: To donate, volunteer at future events or for more information please email admineagle@ourhopecenter.org.

Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder

Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder is solving the problem that is at the heart of every pressing issue on the planet: the absence of ethical leadership. Peel back the layers of challenges surrounding the globe’s most stubborn problems, many manifesting right here in our own backyard, and eventually the core issue is exposed: corrupt, misguided, and/or self-serving leadership. SStS is addressing this problem with an ethical leadership development program that begins with high school students and supports them through lives of leadership. Our unique organizational model includes partnerships between stakeholders in social impact: schools, NGOs, businesses, and philanthropists. They, too, become involved in a shared-value partnership: all contribute; all benefit; today and tomorrow.

In an interdependent, connected world, the need for leadership development is evident across sectors and across continents. Too much of today’s leadership is bereft of an ethical, inclusive, systems approach — and the results are more evident than ever. Founded and developed locally, SStS works with partners from around the world, including our valley, and continues to welcome leaders from the business, education, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors to partner with us in ways that best align with their world views and organizational missions. Working together to inspire and support generations of ethical leaders, we can answer the call of so many pressing issues that await our collective, ethical response. 

For more information: Visit https://shouldertoshoulder.com/.

Foresight Ski Guides

Foresight Ski Guides is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. Since 2001, Foresight has helped the blind and visually-impaired community gain affordable access to snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding, allowing them the same opportunity as sighted individuals to experience challenge recreation. But Foresight provides so much more. We not only promote fitness and athletic skills but we also provide opportunities for personal achievement and to build self-confidence and self-esteem — skills our visually impaired participants, or VIPs as we like to call them, will take with them and use their entire lives.

Foresight Ski Guides operates at Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts. We work with adults and school-age children, including right here in Eagle County, who have different degrees of vision loss but are all declared legally blind.  They may only come for one day or they may come for a full week.  However long they are with Foresight the outcome is usually the same — each returns home knowing they’ve dissolved their own personal limits and transformed their lives, therefore, improving their quality of life.

For more information: Visit http://www.foresightskiguides.org or call 303-506-3859.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities works to empower all in need to achieve self-sufficiency through comprehensive assessment, advocacy, emergency assistance, education, resource navigation, and case management in the following programs: Emergency Assistance (financial aid to prevent homelessness, stabilize families in crisis, and more); Wage theft mediation (helped clients recover more than $165,000 in past three years);  Fair Housing (mediating landlord-tenant disputes and advocating for access to safe and fair housing practices); Victims’ Services; Life skills Coaching; Community Integration Services (emergency preparedness, in-depth community needs assessments, and working with community partners to ensure their programs meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations). 

All households served are low-income and have a demonstrated need for assistance. Clients served are primarily families with young children, single mothers, the disabled, veterans and seniors. Clients may be unemployed, underemployed or fully employed but unable to keep up with the high cost of living in the area. Catholic Charities has strong community partnerships and at times we may partner with other community agencies to completely meet a client’s needs. Through our main Glenwood Springs office and satellite offices in Eagle, and Avon, we continue to serve the poor and underserved of Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties.

For more information: Visit ccdenver.org or call 970-949-0405.

Mountain Valley Developmental Services

Mountain Valley Developmental Services is a community-centered board, case management agency, and program approved service agency serving individuals with developmental delays and disabilities. We support people throughout their lifespan by encouraging and promoting personal choice, independence, and community involvement. We strive to provide the highest level of services while promoting the contributions of those receiving our services. Our services range from providing in-home therapy sessions for babies,= to developing meaningful community experiences for adults. 

For more information: Visit http://www.mtnvalley.org.

Vail Valley Salvation Army

Can you imagine having to choose between paying your utility bill and feeding your children? Unfortunately for many seasonal and underemployed workers, this is sometimes a reality.

Our local Vail Valley Salvation Army provides emergency services to approximately 15-20 households per day, 500 per month, and 6,000 per year. These services include food, which is distributed out of the on-site pantry, and one-time assistance with a utility bill, rent, emergency prescription or transportation. The offseason is particularly challenging for seasonal workers and the underemployed.  In November, the request for food increases and there are far more requests for help with rent and bus passes than what can be distributed. Many clients do not get enough hours at work to be able to pay for food, rent, and utility bills.

In addition to providing emergency services, the Salvation Army also provides holiday services. The Adopt-a-Family program matches low-income families who may not otherwise be able to provide gifts for their children. Families who are not adopted benefit from the Holiday Cabin where families are able to pick out two toys for each child at no cost to the family. Bell Ringing revenue pays for just over 1/8 of the annual budget and was up this season with a record number of volunteers. New this year is a Tap to Pay at the kettles.

With a staff of only two full-time workers, opportunities abound for those who want to volunteer.

For more information: Call 970-748-0704 or visit http://www.salvationarmyvail.org.

Red Ribbon Project

More than two decades ago, Red Ribbon Project was founded as an HIV/AIDS support group. Just as our valley has changed, RRP has also evolved to provide a different kind of support: We provide comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual health education to children in Eagle County so they can make healthy, safe choices.

Red Ribbon Project is a powerful nonprofit that positively impacts young people through classes and conversations. More than a one-time workshop, RRP builds relationships with young people. Classes start in fifth grade with a conversation about maturation. Each year, the classes build to talk about consent, puberty and healthy relationships. The programs give students a safe place to ask questions and receive accurate answers, feeling validated and knowing there are no stupid questions.

Ultimately, Red Ribbon Project empowers young people in making smart choices that enhance their futures. The in-school sexual health programs start the conversation, but parents, caregivers and other trusted adults continue the conversations at home.

The efforts of RRP have paid off: Between 2008 and 2017, teen birth rates dropped a whopping 79 percent in Eagle County. While birth rates have hovered around 30 per year, in 2017 only 15 teens gave birth.

In 2018, we worked with 2,369 youth in classes throughout Eagle County.

Twice per year, we offer free confidential HIV testing. More than 110 people take advantage of this service, helping keep Eagle County a safe and healthy community.

For more information: Visit http://www.RedRibbonProject.org or call 970-827-5900.

Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance

The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance (VVMTA) is the leading advocate for soft surface trails in Eagle County. 

In 2019, the Adopt A Trail program included 686 volunteers performing over 2,300 hours of trail maintenance, removing 2,000 pounds of trash, covering over 200 miles of trail, and restoring 15,653 feet of trail. 

The VVMTA’s mission is to maintain, educate, advocate for, and build sustainable non-motorized soft surface trails while conserving the natural environment of Eagle County and our public lands.
Special to the Daily

The VVMTA opened the Everkrisp Trail in the summer of 2019.  Additionally, the VVMTA is leading the Minturn Bike Park planning and construction and also completed a significant re-route on the North Trail.

The VVMTA’s mission is to maintain, educate, advocate for, and build sustainable non-motorized soft surface trails while conserving the natural environment of Eagle County and our public lands. We promote stewardship of our public lands, sustainable trail building practices and a balance between recreation and conservation. We maintain that trails contribute to the quality of life and economic vitality of the community.

The VVMTA manages trail advocacy programs, coordinates and trains volunteers, educates trail users, organizes events, and contributes its talents, guidance and time to support local land managers in various trail initiatives.

Your donation to the Eagle County Trail Fund supports programs, events, and operations including:

  • Adopt A Trail & wildlife trail ambassadors
  • Improved sustainability and user experience of trails
  • Local and regional trail planning
  • Trail crew leader and volunteer training
  • Community events
  • Organization operations
  • Public lands access and advocacy

For more information: Visit: vvmta.org or contact Ernest Saeger, executive director, at ernest@vvmta.org.

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley cares for you while recovering from medical treatment or Illness, and restores dignity and comfort when you are living with a life-limiting disease. Compassion and comfort are our foundation as we recognize and honor everyone’s dignity.

Home Health Care provides quality care, so patients remain at home while recovering from a surgical procedure or who require assistance in disease management. Studies show patients recover faster in the comfort of their own home.

Palliative care offers an array of services focused on the quality of life, symptom management, emotional wellbeing, and caregiver needs.

Hospice is an approach in end-of-life care that believes that individuals with life-limiting medical conditions should be made as comfortable as possible physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Homemaking and companion care allows those with health challenges to remain at home and maintain an independent, safe, and enjoyable lifestyle. This includes shopping and meal preparation, medication reminders and basic household errands.

Grief and bereavement services respond specifically to the needs of individuals and families coping with death, loss and grief. Our grief and bereavement staff members provide the guidance and support needed to help sort through thoughts and feelings people often experience after a loss.

In 2019, we provided hospice, grief and bereavement services totaling over $80,000. Your support will help our neighbors who need these services.

For more information: Visit: http://hchotv.org/ or call 970-930-6009.

Children’s Garden of Learning

Children’s Garden of Learning in a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool serving the Eagle County community. Children’s Garden believes children are strong, capable individuals, full of potential and curiosity. We strive to create an environment that encourages discovery, problem-solving, social interaction, and collaboration between children, parents, and teachers.

Children’s Garden strives to create an environment that encourages discovery, problem-solving, social interaction, and collaboration.
Special to the Daily

For more information: Visit https://childrensgarden-vail.com/ or call 970-476-1420.

CASA of the Continental Divide

When abuse and neglect occur in a child’s home, far-reaching and detrimental effects on the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health occur, greatly impacting their overall well-being and future. The core of CASACD’s programming in Eagle County is to provide a positive intervention in the lives of children when it is most needed.

Programming consists of child advocacy in abuse and neglect cases and the launch of a truancy advocacy program in January 2020. The truancy program greatly expands your opportunity to support positive intervention in the lives of Eagle County’s most vulnerable citizens, the children.  

CASACD’s programming in Eagle County seeks to provide a positive intervention in the lives of children when it is most needed.
Special to the Daily

CASA volunteer advocates spend time in direct contact with each child assigned to the CASA program. They get to know the child, provide a voice for their future, help them receive services and/or counseling and get engaged in meaningful activities. CASA volunteers ensure the child’s well-being and best interests are heard in all court proceedings, foster care placements and reunification plans with their parents or primary caregivers. Every child deserves a safe and permanent home. 

For more information: Visit http://www.mtncasa.org. For additional information about how you can help youth or become a volunteer, contact Cathy Hyde at 970-513-9390 or cathy.hyde@mtncasa.org.

Education Foundation of Eagle County

Support the Education Foundation of Eagle County and contribute to the betterment of education in our unique mountain community through in-school enrichment for the arts, music, and STEM. Ensure students have equitable access to mental health support services including prevention and resiliency programs in a day in age where digital relationship reign and personal connections need to be cultivated. Elevate efforts to recognize top educators who go above and beyond in the classroom daily. And, provide vital professional development opportunities to improve the quality of education in our local schools.

The Education Foundation of Eagle County’s annual Project Funway event raises funds for the teachers and students of Eagle County.
Nate Day | Special to the Daily

As the education watchdog in this community, EFEC advocates for the needs of our students and teachers to ensure schools are safe, classrooms are advanced, needs are equitably served, and our community is informed.

Specific gifts to EFEC serve targeted needs. Examples include: $500 funds 12 guitars for school music programs, or provides research-based instructional math intervention resources for elementary and middle school classrooms. $1,000 funds a “creekside classroom” for middle and elementary school environmental learning, or supports a high school student-based, diversity-focused Wellness Week initiative, or sends a teacher to the Science Teacher Association’s National Conference. $2,500 funds biotechnology lab equipment for high school labs, or sends students from three local middle schools to the Science Olympiad, or funds a dedicated desktop computer for digital media art programs in a K-12 classroom. Your gift has a great impact when you choose EFEC.

For more information: Visit efec.org.

Eagle River Watershed Council

The Eagle River is the lifeblood of our valley. It drives our economy by providing the rapids our active visitors and locals course down and the pools from which our trout taunt anglers. Our resorts pull from its waters to make snow, and we all drink its fresh-tasting waters.

Founded in 2004 with a mission to advocate for the health and conservation of the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basins through research, education and projects, Eagle River Watershed Council is here to protect our streams and these values for generations to come.

Annually, we collect and assess over 5,000 points of water quality data to identify emerging threats. This important public resource is available at erwc.wqcourier.com.

Our Watershed Wednesday series engages more than 400 people each year with tours, films, panel discussions and presentations that get people thinking and talking about different water issues — from local to global. We also coordinate the Eagle River Water Festival, where local fifth graders spend the day learning about water through lively activities.

Every year we implement restoration projects that remove noxious weeds, plant drought-tolerant, native trees and plants along our streams, and reduce erosion and sediment. We also coordinate the Community Pride Highway Cleanup each spring and the Eagle River Cleanup in fall where 1,000 volunteers help us remove more than 34,000 pounds of trash from our streams and highways. 

For more information: Visit http://www.erwc.org.

Mountain Youth

Mountain Youth worked with more than 3,000 young people last year. As the sought-after family resource, we provide age-appropriate education on challenging topics. Young people and their parents ask us hundreds of questions and we provide thoughtful, accurate answers to create conversations. As the world around us changes, we bring evidence-based answers — youth know they can trust us.

Over the course of our 18-year history, life in the Eagle River Valley has changed. Over the past year, we’ve changed. We met with community partners, engaged young people and talked with behavioral health specialists. We listened as we transitioned from Eagle River Youth Coalition to Mountain Youth. The need for our services is increasing every year. All of the programs we provide are offered free of charge. Our commitment to families in Eagle County is steadfast.

Our programs include:

  • Valley’s Voice, a youth-led, adult-supported leadership and advocacy program that gives young people a voice in programs and policies that impact them.
  • Life Skills for Students are age-appropriate classes on substance use prevention strategies, coping and communication skills, resiliency and mindfulness.
  • Safe Driving will decrease incidents of distracted, drunk or high driving. The robust campaign includes in-school classes, responsible retailer association, improved transportation options and Namastay Sober yoga and fitness programs.
  • Eat Chat Parent provides education to teachers, coaches and parents. Nationally-renowned experts break down tough topics and encourage families to work, and talk, together before problems arise.
  • Healthy Kids Colorado Survey & Social Norms ensure the accurate reflection of youth behaviors and attitudes. Results identify needs, strengths and trends over the past decade.

For more information: Visit http://www.MountainYouth.org or call 970-949-9250.

Vail Health Foundation

Vail Health Foundation is working to advance Vail Health’s mission to provide superior health services with compassion and exceptional outcomes.

Recently, Vail Health committed $60 million over the next 10 years to Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, a new nonprofit leading a community collaboration to transform the Eagle Valley’s behavioral health system.

We are partnering with emergency responders, Eagle County Schools, and other community organizations that are already invested in serving the community and providing services. Some of these organizations include Hope Center, SpeakUp ReachOut, Bright Futures, Mountain Youth and Early Childhood Partners to name a few. EVBH is not replacing the care it provides, but rather amplifying its programs that meet our identified gaps of care throughout the Eagle River Valley. 

We have already seen an impact, from how we handle crisis response from 911 calls to adding 10 counselors in Eagle County Schools who are addressing behavioral issues in our youth. We are only getting started. Six key initiatives and strategies have been identified: 

  • A cross-functional behavioral health facility
  • Provider access and capacity
  • System coordination and transformation
  • Prevention and education
  • Crisis response and transition services
  • School-based services

For more information: Visit eaglevalleybh.org.

Roundup River Ranch

When the late actor Paul Newman started the SeriousFun Children’s Network (formerly Hole in the Wall Gang Camps) it was with the idea that each camp would be a place for kids with serious illnesses to “raise a little hell” while spending time in a worry-free, zero price tag environment. Roundup River Ranch is located in the Vail Valley on the Colorado River and is part of Paul Newman’s original vision.

Roundup River Ranch is where children with serious illnesses can take a break from being “a patient” and enjoy being a kid. Roundup River Ranch serves children ages 5-17 from Colorado and the surrounding Rocky Mountain region who have been diagnosed with a serious illness and their awesome families. Diagnoses include but are not limited to gastrointestinal and kidney conditions, heart transplants and conditions, cancer, blood disorders, neurological conditions, and other serious illnesses.

Campers at Roundup River Ranch enjoy a performance from Bravo! Vail musicians in 2018.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily

Campers receive comprehensive, individualized medical care in a state-of-the-art facility stocked with all the medical equipment and supplies needed to provide urgent, emergent, and routine pediatric care. Care is delivered by a diverse group of medical professionals who leave their lab coats and scrubs behind to join the medical team at camp.

Every year, hundreds of volunteers and generous donors make camp possible. Colorado residents who donate to Roundup River Ranch may be eligible to receive an additional 50% state income tax credit through the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit. Please get involved in a way that is most meaningful to you.

For more information: Visit http://www.RoundupRiverRanch.org


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