SOS graduates 65 |

SOS graduates 65

Daily Staff Writer
Special to the Daily/Snowboard Outreach Society About 65 students graduated recently from the Snowboard Outreach Society's University program, including these five students standing next to their mentor, Kelly Cannon. From left to right are Juan Carlos Hernandez, Chris Barry, Robert Martinez, Kelly Cannon, Dustin Eachus and Paco Moran.

The Snowboard Outreach Society’s University program recently graduated its largest class ever, with 65 local students walking away with diplomas and a sense of giving back to their community.

Parents, grandparents, and great grandparents flooded the Singletree Community Center in Edwards to watch and support their young relatives graduate from the 2003-04 Snowboard Outreach Society’s University program.

“The University program strengthens the positive relationships with children, the parents and the community,” said Arn Menconi, executive director of Snowboard Outreach Society, or SOS.

The University Program is a four-year, follow-up program to the first-year Learn to Ride program that helps SOS students build resiliency and protective factors in their life.

“Next year, we hope to grow the University program to 100 students,” said Brett Hochmuth, SOS youth coordinator. “We were excited only four students did not finish this year.”

The University program not only helps youth build resiliency through snowboarding but also through a variety of in-depth community service projects outside of snowboarding. Some of those service projects include volunteering at rummage sales or the Eagle River Clean-up project.

“The University Program has such great impact,” said Anne Menconi, youth programs and development director. “The kids get so much love and attention from their mentors and also have a chance to help the community through service work.

“The students complete various civics and community engagement activities, including leadership skills, job skills and resume building activities,.”

As part of their graduation requirement, the students illustrated their roles as volunteers in front of their family and friends through skits, posters and slideshows.

“These kids are incredible,” said Emily Larson, an SOS mentor and Eagle County school teacher. “They started out by learning how to snowboard and developed into young people who contribute to our valley. They are an inspiration for us all.”

For more information, call the Snowboard Outreach Society at (970) 845-7040.

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