Letter: Epic Promise gives Small Champions needed support through pandemic | VailDaily.com

Letter: Epic Promise gives Small Champions needed support through pandemic

Small Champions teaches children how to maximize their abilities regardless of their disability.
Small Champions/Courtesy photo

These past two years have presented challenges to everyone due to the life-altering pandemic. Imagine the added difficulties for youth diagnosed with cognitive and physical disabilities, their families and caregivers. However, these years also highlighted the importance of having a strong community and working together to forge ahead through diversity.

Small Champions is an Eagle County nonprofit that provides sports and recreation opportunities for Eagle County youth diagnosed with many different disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, blindness, amputations and other physical and cognitive disabilities.

Small Champions gives kids with disabilities the rare opportunity to develop autonomy, independence, and self-confidence to grow and learn, teaching them how to maximize their abilities regardless of their disability. Their experience can be “life-changing” as they become a part of a group that gives them identity, belonging and friendship.

The nonprofit provides a host of activities, indoors and out, in all seasons, to ensure that every Small Champion can be fully engaged and have a great time on their journey. The organization also believes that it is important that parents, friends, donors and the community at large are well educated about the range of disabilities and the positive impact that Small Champions can have in helping kids maximize their potential. Through outreach and education, fears are removed, empathy is created, motivation to belong and support is developed.

The restrictions and protocols of the pandemic challenged the organization in providing the full extent of its programs for these special youth. Fortunately, with the help of Epic Promise and Vail Resorts, the nonprofit was able to continue to provide its most popular Small Champions Ski and Ride winter program for 50 Eagle County kids. Without this support, Small Champions wouldn’t be able to provide this important work.

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The partnership with Vail Resorts Epic Promise allows Small Champions to provide the most amazing, empathetic and qualified ski, snowboard and adaptive instructors from the Vail/Beaver Creek Ski and Ride schools to give one-on-one instruction for kids on Sundays throughout the ski season. The financial and in-kind support Small Champions receives from Vail Resorts Epic Promise is crucial to the program for the disabled youth in our community. The 22-year partnership with Vail Resorts and Epic Promise provided crucial support in a time when it was needed most.

John Weiss
Executive director, Small Champions

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