Imagine beginning school in a classroom where the language spoken is different than your own. Imagine having to learn math, history, and science–subjects that are difficult enough without the added burden of a new language. This is the plight many students in the Denver area face. Through a dual language K-5 program, Escuela de Guadalupe is beginning to level the playing field for both native Spanish and native English speaking students. All native English speakers are required to learn Spanish, and all native Spanish speakers, English. Students achieve bi-lingual fluency through a unique model in which the language of instruction in each class changes every few weeks, so at any given time, half of classes are taught in English and half in Spanish. This way, no student is marginalized due to their native language. Escuela de Guadalupe boasts a high school graduation rate of 87.5%, roughly 30% higher than its Denver Public School peers. (more…)
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My background is in the nonprofit world. I have worked with local, national, international organizations, and the United Nations. In that world, I raise money from individual donors, other organizations, and corporations in order to fulfill our mission to improve the lives of the people in my community.
Through one of my initiatives, the Mabingwa Forum [www.mabingwa-forum.com], I intend to offer a platform to emerging leaders to connect, inspire, and challenge each other through constructive conversations. This initiative, three years ago, was only targeting emerging leaders from my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today, we are extending to those from the whole of Africa, especially those from the Great Lakes Region of Africa. (more…)
Taylor Voss, Summer Intern 2015
Thousands of years ago, a great warrior sent his armies against a powerful foe whose men vastly outnumbered his own. The chances of success looked slim but the warrior loaded his soldiers into boats and sailed to the enemy’s country. After everyone disembarked, he gave the order to burn the ships, the soldiers’ only escape from the island. Addressing his men before the first battle, the warrior said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. We cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice; we win or we perish!” The army went on to win the battle. (more…)
Each July, the Foundation sends Fellows on a week long Outward Bound exhibition. The seven day outdoor experience challenges Fellows as individuals and as a team to face the unknown and confront their fears, all while surviving in the wilderness. Since returning from Outward Bound, we wanted to share a few reflections about the experience.
Like a phoenix rising from internet-induced public library ashes, the Pine River Public Library is proving itself far from obsolete –in fact, it’s thriving. On the road between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Bayfield is rarely a destination, but rather, a fuel station for those passing through. Little do these gas-guzzlers know, just a few blocks away lies a nationally acclaimed resource binding this small community together. In 2014, the Library Journal recognized the Pine River Public Library as the “Best Small Library in America”. The library received the accolade because of a major renovation project-which included a building expansion and development of an outdoor “Living Library.” The 4,000-square-foot renovations and the 17,000-square-foot outdoor space infused the library with new energy and prominence.
Can you imagine being a resident of rural Colorado, driving hundreds of miles to the next nearest community in order to meet with people, attend job interviews, or gain employable skills through trainings unavailable in your community? Thanks to the improved Distance Learning program at East Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services, widespread rural communities can share information, knowledge, and resources—all with a click of a button. (more…)
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 220,000 people in families were homeless in 2014 on a given night, making up 37% of the total homeless population counted in the United States that year. Among El Paso County’s homeless population, many care providers have identified a large presence of families. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Education states that there were 2,786 homeless children in El Paso County in 2013. With such a large population of homeless youth and families in our own community, the obvious next question is, what is the solution? (more…)
Do not go gentle into that good night…
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas
In the twilight of life, many people hope to meet death with dignity, to rage in elegance against the dying of the light. Yet, greeting death with such poise is no modest task. With care and compassion, the end of a person’s life need not be enveloped in loneliness and suffering. Regrettably, not all Americans are granted the tools to greet death with pride and without great sorrow. (more…)
It is sobering to think, despite Colorado’s high standard of living in an industrialized and modernized world, a startling number of people continue to wake up hungry. Hunger is a function of poverty, which debilitates not only individuals, but also society as a whole. If people lack nutritious food, daily life is more challenging, and they will be less efficient at work—not to mention those individuals are at a higher risk for significant health concerns. For children, nutrition is even more important, especially during stages of great physical and cognitive development. Good nutrition is critical early in life, enabling children to develop into healthier and happier adults. On a greater scale, the better fed people are, the happier, more effective and more efficient a society will be. (more…)
As I count down the days to the end of my Fellowship experience and the beginning of a new adventure with a move to the Pacific Northwest, I think about what El Pomar has meant to me, what legacy I will leave, and how I will stay connected to my home.
Spencer and Julie Penrose made Colorado their home. They poured their hopes, dreams, passions, and treasure into this state. By the time he died, Spencer created a legacy and a Foundation for Colorado. Julie fostered the Penrose vision, leading El Pomar to continue to serve the people of Colorado for decades to come. Their vision for the Foundation and its role in Colorado motivated me to pour my own blood, sweat, and tears into El Pomar’s programs for the past year. I have committed to the Penrose vision, the Penrose work, and the Penrose home: Colorado. (more…)