Vail Valley Scenery: Eagle River Youth Coalition hosts Valley Tastings: Food for Youth | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley Scenery: Eagle River Youth Coalition hosts Valley Tastings: Food for Youth

Carolyn Pope
Vail Valley Scenery

Last week, more than 200 people attended the Eagle River Youth Coalition's Valley Tastings: Food for Youth event at Donovan Pavilion. This was the ninth year for the event, which is the Youth Coalition's biggest fundraiser.

Shelly Jarnot and Natalia Sisneros were honored as Outstanding Parents, and students Jaycey Beard and Javier Corona received the Summiteer and Legacy Builder awards, respectively.

Jarnot is involved with many local nonprofits, including Walking Mountains, the Eagle County School Board and the Education Foundation of Eagle County (trustee). She's also a team manager for Vail Valley Soccer Club and an avid tutor.

"I was honored but a little embarrassed," she said. "It's always great to be recognized for what I do, but that is not why I am involved. I care about education and youth, and that's where I focus my volunteer efforts."

Founded in 2001, The Eagle River Youth Coalition was created through a collaborative vision of Leadership Vail Valley, the Eagle CARES Survey team. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for local youth and create cohesion among youth service providers, strengthening community collaboration to enable youth to reach their full potential. The ERYC board includes two local youth, which allows them to interact with community leaders.

"We are driven by our board," said Carol Johnson, marketing and administrative coordinator for ERYC. "They are an amazing group of individuals who are very focused on the youth in the valley."

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Funds raised at the event benefit ERYC key projects, including the Youth Leaders Council, which provides an opportunity for youth to have a voice in the community, gain leadership skills and complete different civic-engagement and service-learning projects throughout the school year; parenting education with the free Eat! Chat! Parent! Series and Active Parenting workshop classes; and in-school prevention programs, including Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, Project Alert and Project Toward No Drug Abuse.

Erica Charles, a sophomore at Elon College, participated in the program for two years.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity to give my voice to the greater community," she said. "I attended a small school (Vail Mountain School) for 13 years. Being with those students and teachers every day was awesome, but I wanted to get to know other kids in the valley. Coming together with students from other high schools in the valley was motivational. We discussed local issues, which was very interesting."

Local restaurants stepped up to make sure the guests were well fed, including Main St. Grill, Ti Amo, Batter Cupcakes, Cafe Milano, Game Creek Club, Toscanini, Fork Art Catering, Northside Coffee & Kitchen, Fiestas Cafe, Pepi's Restaurant and Bar, and Blue Moose Pizza. Gore Range Brewery served its lager, pale ale, Oktoberfest and citra-wheat IPA, and Avon Liquors provided Woodbridge wines.

For more information on the Eagle River Youth Coalition, visit http://www.eagleyouth.org or call 970-949-9250.

Carolyn Pope has covered community service events and nonprofit activities since 2001 and co-authored "The Women of Vail." She can be reached at 970-390-9913.