We provide individual help to people in need. We primarily help people who are in “fall through the crack” situations meaning they are in a situation that they don’t meet the criteria of other organizations or they have exhausted their resources at other organizations.
We work with other direct aid help organizations as well as teachers and school counselors to provide vouchers so families in need can pick out clothing and needed household items from our racks at no cost to the family or organization.
The revenue generated through our thrift stores goes back into our community in the form of grants to worthy help organizations. Over the years, we have given millions of dollars to worthy organizations and programs.
Below are true stories and letters from people and organizations Vail Valley Cares has assisted.
Bright Future Foundations
Jane Doe is a thirty-nine year-old mother of three. She has a significant history of abuse beginning with substantial physical and sexual abuse by her father throughout her childhood. Most recently, Jane was the victim of severe emotional and physical abuse perpetrated by her husband during the ten years of their marriage. After enduring the abusive relationship for all those years, Jane called the Bright Future Foundation 24/7 crisis hotline. As Jane feared the physical repercussions for leaving her husband, she and her children sought shelter at Freedom Ranch Safehouse. Jane and her children lived with four other families for six weeks at Freedom Ranch while Jane worked with her advocate to find temporary employment. Jane was incredibly thankful for a "safe haven," where both she and her children could sleep without fear/.
Initially, Jane was solely interested in Bright Futures Foundation's legal advocacy services and her focus was on child custody difficulties. However, after forming a connection with her advocate, Jane became open to "trying" additional services.
Jane elected to participate in individual counseling. During her therapy, Jane gained an understanding of the cycle of violence, which significantly decreased the self-blame, self-directed anger, and embarrassment that she experienced for several years. As Jane began to gain insight into her abusive relationship, her self-esteem increased and she reported that she felt more confident in her parenting ability and her ability to form connections throughout the community.
Jane also chose to participate in Bright Future Foundation's Light of Hope/Self-Sufficiency Initiative. Through this "cottage industry" candle-making business, Bright Future Foundation empowers individuals to lead self-sufficient lives. This initiative includes a 12-week program that incorporates psychological concepts and education that are particularly pertinent to victims of domestic violence, as well as training that focuses on concrete life skills, financial literacy, and employment expectations.
During her participation, Jane showed tremendous interest in the candle-making process and stated that the candles provided a "huge therapeutic relief." Jane began to volunteer for a variety of events that allowed her to utilize her "creative energy," such as volunteering to paint faces at events with Bright Future Foundation. During her individual self-sufficiency meetings, Jane identified her employment goal as, "Art Teacher" and has taken significant steps toward achieving this goal.
Jane is a current participant in the Transitional Housing Program, Bright Future's collaboration with Colorado Coalition for the homeless, which provides low-cost housing and supportive services for up to two years. Due to her participation in this program, Jane has the freedom to pursue her dream of becoming an art teacher. She applied for and received several scholarships to attend Colorado Mountain College, In May, Jane graduated from CMC with her Associates degree. Jane now has full-time employment and is taking classes toward her Bachelor's degree in the evening.
Although Jane was initially reluctant to engage in Bright Future Foundation's services, she now regularly volunteers with the organization. She openly tells clients and staff that Light of Hope not only gave her hope, but gave her passion. We strongly believe that Jane's story shows the transformation from being a victim of violence and becoming a survivor.
Jane's story is just one of 579 client stories Bright Future was involved with in the past year. Every victim needs a safe place to go and a compassionate community to turn to. We are enormously proud of the stellar work that our dedicated staff and volunteers perform daily. Sometimes, we are able to empower clients to make enormous changes in their lives. Other times, we just move the needle a little bit, by being there for someone in their time of greatest need and vulnerability. However, each day, it is an honor and a privilege to serve the most vulnerable families in our community. Thank you Vail Valley Cares, for your support of our work!
CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates
The mission of CASA is to provide court-appointed trained volunteers to advocate in the court for the best interest of children who are victims of abuse and neglect in the 5th Judicial District of Colorado in order to find them a safe and permanent home as soon as possible. CASA is a national organization of volunteers that judges appoint to speak for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.
By being independent investigators and advocates, our volunteers can make all the difference in these children's lives. One example: research shows children with a CASA volunteer are much less likely to languish in long term foster care.
This year (2011), CASA was able to serve 116 children and find permanent home for 63 children. CASA is very thankful to the amazing Vail Valley Cares team and want to praise you for all that you do. Vail Valley Cares really makes a difference.
Kathy Reed - Executive Director, CASA
Colorado West Mental Health
Our daughter had the opportunity to be a client at Colorado West Mental Health. She was dealing with several serious health issues, including multiple abusive experiences, recovery from crack addiction, developmental delays and a mood disorder. She had also lost parental rights of her two girls when they were toddlers because of her addiction. She was often suicidal and felt that her situation was hopeless. She had been seen at Colorado West for a few years before her recent death due to serious medical issues. She worked with an incredible therapist individually, attended multiple groups such as Mind Over Mood and DBT, as well as graduation from the Peer Specialist training. She also was seen consistently for medication management. Through her therapy, education about her medication and illness as well as the care she received from the entire staff at Colorado West, she was and was always compliant and incredibly successful. For somebody battling a serious disease and experiencing many other challenges, the consistency of the Colorado West support system helped her to get her GED, maintain sobriety, and become involved again in her now teenage girls' lives.
We are forever grateful to the staff at Colorado West for their compassion, support and expertise in working with our daughter.
Eagle River Youth Coalition
ERYC is very excited to bring suicide prevention and intervention programs to local youth through the support of Vail Valley Cares. We were able to discover and provide training in an enhanced youth suicide prevention curriculum that is evidence-based and used throughout the country. Similarly to the curriculum we previously used called TeenLINK, Signs of Suicide provides education around recognizing signs of suicide, offered age-appropriate materials to both middle and high school-aged students, and enables integrated training and conversation around depression and substance use- two very related concerns. Through updating the curriculum, we have been able to reach even more youth through a program that has proven effectiveness. Please find a description of the services you have made possible below.
· Nationally, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among children ages 15-24
· In Eagle County, 15% of high school students considered suicide in 2009.
· In Eagle County, 9% of high school students attempted suicide in 2009.
Signs of Suicide is a best practice, evidence-based suicide prevention program for middle school and high school students. Program goals include decreasing suicide and suicide attempts by increasing knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression and substance abuse. With a generous grant from Vail Valley Cares, The Eagle River Youth Coalition has been able to implement the Signs of Suicide program at 6 middle and 2 high schools since September 2011. 800 students have learned the steps taught in this program: Acknowledge, Care and Tell (ACT), so that they can save lives and prevent suicide in our community. Over 30 immediate student referrals were made by peers for suicide interventions. We will continue to offer Signs of Suicide to schools and youth serving programs throughout the school year in hopes of further decreasing the stigma of depression and suicide within our valley, thanks to the support of Vail Valley Cares.
The Learning Camp
It is with such gratitude that I write to you the story of how your donation made a difference in one child this summer at The Learning Camp. As you know The Learning Camp is a residential summer camp for children that struggle in life because they learn differently. Each year The Learning Foundation tries to send as many local children to camp as we can. Vail Valley Cares has helped us to do so for many years and so many local children have benefitted from the hard work that you do each day to raise funds. Thank you is never enough!
This is the story of Autumn. Autumn lives in Eagle County and is dyslexic and has a great deal of difficulty in all of her subjects because her dyslexia makes it hard got her to read. When Autumn's mother contacted us she had removed her from her local elementary school and was trying to home school Autumn. She had withdrawn her because the children were treating Autumn like she was stupid. They picked on her daily and it became impossible for Autumn to learn. She had spent the year at home with no friends, while Mom tried to educate het on her own. Her Dad had recently been laid off from his job too.
Thanks to your donation this summer, Autumn received a full scholarship to our summer camp. She got tutoring every day with a teacher that understood her needs and she played every day with children and counselors that were kind and caring to her.
Autumn was extremely successful at camp!! She made her first real friends in the weeks she was with us, and had many adventures. But the greatest gift she receved was a new belief in herself! She learned she was smart, and capable and could have true friends.
Today Autumn is enrolled in a new elementary school and has the confidence to fo and work hard every day. She has brought her reading up considerably this school year and no longer sees herself as stupid.
This is only one example of the work you do for our children. We are eternally grateful. God bless each and every one of you!
All of us at The Learning Foundation and The Learning Camp
The Samaritan Counseling Center
Money received from Vail Valley Cares goes directly to pay for mental health counseling for those who would not otherwise be able to afford it. The Samaritan Counseling Center offers spiritually-integrated counseling to all those seeking help. The Center also offers 3 sessions of free counseling to adolescents referred by the schools. These are youth who are at risk of being expelled from school. None of this would be possible if it wasn't for Vail Valley Cares and other local organizations and individuals who generously support our work. God Bless of Thrift Shoppe employees who make this possible.
SANE - Valley View Hospital Program
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the employees of Vail Valley Cares and the Thrifty Shops for the hard work you do to raise money for programs like the Valley View Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in Glenwood Springs.
As the clinical coordinator of the VVH SANE Program, I work with a small team of registered nurses who provide care and evidence collection for patients affected by sexual violence.
We provide care for adults, teens and children and have been offering the SANE service since 2002. Approximately 30% of our patients come to us from Eagle County.
Thank you for your support and the hard work that you do. It is greatly appreciated! Your efforts help make it possible to allow so many agencies to provide support for people in our community. May each of you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season.
Vail Valley Young Life
Vail Valley Young Life was blessed to receive a VVC Grant. This past year this major financial contribution allowed Young Life kids to attend a Young Life camp in northern Minnesota, Castaway Club. The VVC Grant was used to help students that were in financial need attend camp and experience, "The Best Week of Their Life." The grant also allowed us to decrease the overall camp fee by allowing us to use the resources towards covering our transportation expense. Vail Valley Young Life is grateful for the VVC Grant. Many kids in the valley were affected by the VVC's generosity.
Vail Valley Foundation
Last year(2010), a local couple had a baby - Lucas - who was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by recurrent infections and excessive bleeding. Children with this syndrome face the almost certain development of lymphoma and/or leukemia early in life. Their only chance for long-term survival is a bone marrow transplant. The good news was that Lucas was able to receive his life-saving bone marrow transplant in Denver. The unfortunate news was that his family faced the very real possibility of financial ruin.
Because of his weakened immune system, Lucas cannot attend a childcare center for more than one year following his transplant. This has had a dramatic impact on his family income. Lucas's mom was a teacher in our local school district and, though the District assured her that she would have a job when she returned to work, the family lost more than $40,000 per year without her income. In addition, the necessity of having one parent live in Denver with Lucas throughout the treatment and recovery process placed an even greater financial burden on the family due to transportation, food, and lodging costs.
Early in the treatment process, the VVCF was able to provide Lucas's family with a direct aid grant of $5,000 to remove the immediate financial burden and allow them to pay their out-of-pocket expenses in Denver throughout the transplant process. We were able to provide this assistance because of your grant. I hope that you are as proud as we are that you made a real, lasting difference to this family in crisis. Over the ensuing months, we also helped their friends and colleagues raise an additional $17,000 to pay their health care deductibles and routine living expenses despite the reduction in their family income. Lucas's family will make it through this difficult time because of the services that the VVCF provides - thanks to your support.
Wild West Days - Eagle County Schools
Hi, I'm Deagan. I'm nine and in 4th grade at Avon Elementary School. Vail Valley Cares is important to me because they help Wild West Days. Wild West Days is a really cool day where they have a one mile run. After that, the games open. My favorite game is Bingo. When you get Bingo, you can get really cool prizes. My other favorite game is te fishing game where you fish for prizes. One other game is the duck game. If you have a color under your duck, you get tokens. There's a game where you throw a football through a hole. Another gam is a game where you throw rings on elk antlers. Then you can go get things with your tokens at the trading post. And the Youth Foundation sets up games too. One of the best parts is at the end of the day. If you have extra coins, you can put them in the wishing well and make a wish. Then, our school gets the money to help the kids. One of the things they help with is our 4th grade camping trip to the Colorado National Monument. I am really excited for this trip because I will get to camp with all my friends. Another reason is that we get to go on a hike, rock climb, and visit 3 museums. I think they will teach us about nature and history. Thank you for helping my school.