Village Thrift Shop: THANK YOU!

2018 Grant Progress Report

A note to say THANKS!

In 2018 the Village Thrift Shop granted $26,849.00 to Estes Park School District for a variety of projects to provide support and learning experiences for the students and families of the Estes Valley.

Here is a recap of the projects that were completed thanks to the generous funding!

6th & 9th Grade Transition Day (Bobcat Challenge Day): $2,000.00

This event is one of the student favorites. We are very appreciative that this grant allows us to offer this unique and hands on opportunity to our 6th and 9th grade students. The district brings in Kent Mountain Adventure Center to help facilitate the day of obstacles, exercises and fun.

Bobcat Challenge day is a fun and engaging day that gets students out of their normal environment and encourages them to step out of their comfort zone, take safe risks, and better get to know students that they may not normally hang out with. This beginning of the school year event helps shape and facilitate the growth of a welcoming, supportive, and accepting school culture for our students which often carries over to the Estes Community.

High School & Middle School Choral Program: $386.00

The money from the grant was able to purchase a 1 year subscription for an app installed on every choir student's iPad. The students are using it regularly and it has greatly improved Dr. Denney's ability to listen to each student's progress. There are 123 students in the Middle School choir and 90 students in the High School choir. 213 students have the app on their iPad.

The app allows students to continue developing their music-reading skills outside of the class. Dr. Denney gives them an assignment to sight-read an example, the app allows them to record it on their iPad and then email the recording to him. He can listen to each student sing individually, grade them and then send the results of their work to them. There are several different levels of difficulty which allows for the instructor to group students by ability.

As Dr. Denney explains, one of the challenges of teaching music is that students arrive with varying levels of experience, so having the flexibility of individual recording allows each student to be assigned to similar groups depending on their experience.

This has shown to be an invaluable tool for our choir classes while teaching music. We are thankful for this grant that makes this possible for our students.

Dia de los Muertos: $500.00

The Estes Park R-3 District gratefully received $500 in funding from the Village Thrift Shop to host the annual Día de los Muertos celebration on November 8, 2018.

This community gathering was a wonderful event; the largest festival organized by the Latino community in Estes Park.

The festival was made all the more festive because of the decorations paid for by Village Thrift Shop grant monies. Organizers purchased several strands of papel picado (the Mexican tissue paper punched with holes in shapes and patterns and placed on strings) as well as materials for centerpieces, an altar, and wall hangings. The splashes of color between pillars, on the walls, and the paper flower centerpieces helped set the scene for a fabulous celebration.

The event welcomed 500 people. Attendance increased over last year, there was a cultural mix, and fun was had by all. All 500 people were served by the grant because it would not have nearly been as sensational of an experience without the gorgeous decorations. With the decorations in place representing colorful Mexican traditions, many felt compelled to dance during the Mariachi band’s performance because it felt like a real celebration in a Mexican plaza. We even got to see our very own Jose Almeida sing with the band.

Decorations framed booths hosted by various educational organizations in town and Mexican food was prepared and served amidst all of the activity too. The grant contributed to a lasting impact on the community because the feeling of coming together as a community was established among organizers leading up to the event and enhanced that evening when so many people ranging in age from infants to 80-year-olds came together to honor the tradition of Día de los Muertos. Thanks to the generosity of the Village Thrift Shop, the Estes Park School District was able to facilitate community members to join together and participate in this cultural tradition. The support validated Mexican-American culture and the intention of sharing customs with the wider Estes Park Community.

Elementary Art Classroom Organization: $3,000.00

Ilah Reynar, our Elementary School Art Teacher, used the grant money she received to purchase alternative seating, display boards for student artwork within the school and at various art showings, as well as frames for art to display at the Estes Valley Community Center.

Now, the artwork can be displayed easily around the school and community, and the funding helped to layout and organize the classroom with more functionality. Students are thrilled to have flexible seating that helps them relax and focus on letting their creativity flow!

Elementary School Makerspace: $6,467.00

The money from the grant has allowed EPES to purchase a classroom library set of LittleBits (which is a system of electronic building blocks that snap together to turn ideas into inventions). LittleBits are a way to incorporate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities into the everyday lives of the students in the library. Ms. O'Connor did a two week lesson with students in grades four and five to learn about what LittleBits do and how they work. They watched a video explaining the purpose of LittleBits, and showed the elementary students how they can be engineers everyday.

Additionally, the grant funded a set of 3D Doodler pens that are similar to a 3D printer, only at your fingertips. Our library staff has collaborated with the Art Teacher, Ms. Reynar, and had the students make holiday creations, cards and ornaments.

Makerspace time is important for students as it gives them a break from the traditional classroom and allows them to collaborate, create, problem solve, and invent. We are thankful to have this financial support from our community!

Elementary School Innovative Classroom Design: $10,000.00

The Estes Park Elementary School was able to purchase various items for their classrooms to create an innovative and flexible environment for students. Some of these items included chairs, couches, televisions, Apple TV's, etc.

In lieu of the traditional classroom setting with desks facing forward to the front of the classroom, the elementary school teachers have integrated seating options, breakout spaces for student collaboration, technology for personalized learning, and comfortable spaces to encourage student success.

Teachers have been inspired to build a classroom set up to meet the unique learning needs of every student. They switched out their traditional seating arrangements for flexible seating alternatives that encourage small group learning, collaboration and movement!

When asking some of the students at the Elementary School about the changes this year, we were met with a huge positive response, they really love it. Choice in the classroom, even with something as small as where and what you sit on, creates a big impact on their success!

Estes Park Mountain Festival: $820.00

Thanks in part to the generous gift from the Village Thrift Shop, the 2018 Estes Park Mountain Festival was once again a big success. The grant allowed for us to obtain historical actors who played Isabella Bird and Enos Mills. In addition, we were able to print materials like flyers, brochures, and signs to help support the Mountain Festival.

Because the Mountain Festival is open to the community, the reach of this grant was very significant. There were more than 1,000 people in attendance that were positively impacted by the support of Village Thrift Shop.

Outdoor Adventure Club: $958.00

The Outdoor Adventure Club is a Middle School club that focuses on outdoor activities and community services. In the 2018-19 school year, so far, they have been on an outing every three weeks, including things such as campouts, climbing, biking, water related activities and winter fun days.

The money granted to the club was used to fund a wilderness first aid for the leaders of the club (to then pass on the knowledge and teaching to the students), and also to purchase some great new gear such as a solo bonfire (campfire fire containment system), helmets for outdoor climbing activities, climbing harnesses, large tarps for shelter building during group campouts, first aid supplies, fishing poles and tackle boxes, and belay devices.

These items help tremendously with the outings, and help the club to continue to show our students the amazing gift of recreation in the Rocky Mountains, their very own backyard.

Park Place Preschool: $1,280.00

As part of a new redesign of the Park Place Preschool, the Village Thrift Grant was able to help purchase a new thunder drum and two new hank drums for the set up. The installation should begin in Spring of 2019, and we are very excited to have these additions thanks to the generous grant.

The new playground will be natural and incorporate elements of music, art, science, nature, math and literacy. It will create opportunities for developing the usual physical skills established while playing outside, such as running, jumping, balancing, spinning, sliding and crawling.

Soggy Noodle Children's Theatre: $575.00

During June of 2018, a two and a half week Shakespeare summer camp took place and the funding from the grant helped purchase the materials to build a beautiful balcony set piece. The balcony piece that was constructed with this funding was a critical focal point in the Shakespearean scenes.

The group of enthusiastic middle schoolers and their parents collaborated to educate and entertain the community, with an estimated attendance of between 300-400 people at the performances.

When the production was done, the balcony was given to the High School theater to be repurposed in their musical performance of Cabaret. It was great to see the reach of the original request go much further than planned by passing it on! No doubt the High School will continue to use the set for years to come.