Vail Daily column: Our generous valley | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Our generous valley

Jason E. Glass
Valley Voices

The holidays are traditionally a time of giving and consideration of others. That’s why I wanted to take a few moments with this week’s piece to point out some of the tremendous generosity right here in Eagle County.

With so many generous individuals and organizations in our community, I’m more than a bit hesitant to name names and organizations — out of the fear that I leave someone out! While our “cup runneth over” in terms of community giving, a few key players deserve special mention.

The Vail Valley Foundation and Youth Foundation: From supportive academic programing including early childhood education, to wonderful cultural and athletic opportunities, anyone who gives to the Vail Valley Foundation and Youth Foundation should know that these efforts have a tremendous positive impact for children growing up in our community.

Education Foundation of Eagle County: Forged out of a community effort to support our schools through the cuts of the recession, Ef(ec) has emerged as an organization that stands with Eagle County’s teachers and kids through thick and thin. Ef(ec) supports public education by raising money to make sure our schools are better staffed, recognizing the tremendous work of our educators and serving as an important advocate for public education.

Walking Mountains Science Center: With a vision of raising understanding of natural sciences and increasing responsible environmental stewardship, Walking Mountains has a tremendous positive influence on the kids in our schools. Through efforts like in-school programs, science field trips and special summer and weekend learning opportunities, thousands of Eagle County kids get the chance to unleash their curiosity when it comes to science. Now, with a partnership agreement between Eagle County Schools and Walking Mountains in place, even more students will get to experience their wonderful programming.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail: The combined efforts of Eagle County Schools and SSCV resulted in a unique partnership which created Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, the nation’s largest public winter sports academy. Together, we are working on ways to expand access to these winter sports that brought so many of us here to more kids in our community.

SOS Outreach: Inspiring young people to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives, SOS Outreach combines skiing and snowboarding with strong doses of personal character education and responsibility. The result is kids with a passion to change the world and who can rip it down the mountain!

Vail Resorts: In a world that is suspicious of corporations and the private sector, let me say unmistakably that Vail Resorts is one of the good guys. Through generous gifts to so many community organizations through their EpicPromise program and direct support to our schools through efforts like the annual Learn to Ski days for our kids, Vail Resorts is the part of the fabric that makes Eagle County a wonderful place to raise a family.

I could go on and on about the many groups and individuals who have stepped up support and are doing great things for our kids and community. While I will limit myself, the list also includes churches and faith-based organizations, other local governments and many more charitable individuals and organizations.

I will close with one more story of generosity from our community. Last year, we published a vision document titled Unparalleled Altitude: A Globally Inspired Vision for Eagle County Schools. Two part-time residents of our community, Peter and Cathy Halstead, happened to read it and took note of our plan to grow and expand art and music education programs for our students. In an act of incredible generosity, the Halsteads stepped up and have provided our schools with $75,000 to hire an arts and music curriculum developer who will make sure that we have quality curricular materials in place and available for our teachers. And they have applied to the county to create a new music education center on their property that will bring even more music and arts educational opportunities for our students.

Famous National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones in his work “Celebrate What’s Right with the World,” turned an old adage on its head, saying “if you believe it, then you will see it.” The Halsteads are an example of how community generosity is turning dreams of quality arts and music education for all our children into a reality.

We believe we can create a world-class educational experience for kids in Eagle County. The generosity of this community is helping turn that dream into a reality.

Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at jason.glass@eagleschools.net.