Teacher lives life for God
Eagle Valley Elementary third-grade teacher Robyn Hanson does it all. Along with teaching full-time, Hanson has immersed her in a slew of community service projects from the Snowboard Outreach Society (SOS) to a church youth programs.Hanson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri as the second child in a family of five, but visited the valley each year since the age of 12. She attended a Bible college near Dallas, where she earned her B.A. in Elementary Education, with a minor in Bible and theology. After that, she worked with youth programs in inner-city Dallas before moving to California to serve as a youth director for two of her five years in that state. She also worked with a gang outreach program in California before moving here in the summer of 1999. “I lived with my uncle up the Colorado River Road for 10 months, and then moved away to be with my siblings and family,” Hanson said. After becoming engaged to husband Joel (who lives in Gypsum), Hanson moved back to the area in the spring of 2002. The couple was married in October of the same year, by Joel’s brother, Jeff Hanson at the First Lutheran Church in Gypsum.
Hanson has worked for the Eagle County School District for the last four years. She student-taught second graders at the Eagle County Charter Academy; was a teacher’s assistant for third graders at Red Hill Elementary, then served as the literacy teacher for Brush Creek Elementary first graders before landing her current position: third-grade teacher at Eagle Valley Elementary. In addition to her teaching duties, Hanson volunteers her Saturdays as the teacher coordinator and representative for the Snowboard Outreach Society’s Learn to Ride program for her school, where she snowboarded with kids from Eagle Valley Elementary School, and taught life skills in an outdoor environment.Currently, Hanson is the director of the First Lutheran Evangelical Church’s youth program, which serves students in grades 7-12. F.L.Y. (First Lutheran Youth) was founded three years ago by Hanson. It’s a place where kids share their faith, learn about God, character and life skills. “It’s a place to meet each week and feel a part of the community,” Hanson said. “We host many social activities to provide youth with positive options, along with a yearly mission trips where we help another community.”Last year, Hanson took a group of 15 kids and two adults to work in San Diego with Hope in the City, the Rescue Mission, Head Start and Homeless Outreach programs. The summer before that, a group of nine kids headed down to Mexico to build a house. This summer, a bigger group of 21 kids will go to Thunder Bay, Ontario to work with the Coalition Against Poverty, Kids Street Club and the Senior Center. The group will be hosting various events to raise funds for the trip, like their upcoming Easter Brunch on Easter Sunday between services.
The group is involved in community service projects at home too. “In April we will be doing a weekend serving trip in Gypsum and Eagle,” Hanson said. “We plan to do several clean up projects around town, paint and refurbish a home for a local family, and volunteer with the Senior Center.”Within the F.L.Y. program, Hanson meets with three of the older members to train and develop them as leaders. The small group works on team building and helps in the decision making for the entire youth group. They are also involved in skits, public speaking and other presentations on behalf of the youth group and church. Eagle Valley High School sophomore Ashley Rohweder says that Hanson’s positive presence has made a huge impact on her and other members of the group. “She is incredibly passionate about what she does for F.L.Y.,” Rohweder said. “She volunteers a lot of time and she is extremely energetic. It’s a really fun group.”
Hanson is energetic about each aspect of her life. She spends any free time that she has with her husband and her Alaskan husky, Ole, running, hiking and snowshoeing. She has a deep love for her close-knit community in Gypsum, and the mountains that surround the town. “Gypsum is a place full of community spirit,” Hanson said. “People are involved in family life, outdoor activities and every community event. Gypsum is a supportive place.”When there is a need, the community gets involved to meet it.”For more information on F.L.Y., call 524-7919.Vail, Colorado