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Small Champions

About Small Champions
Small Champions of Colorado, Inc. PO Box 4691 Vail, CO 81657-4691 Who We Are: Small Champions is a sports program for children ages 5 years through high school with cognitive, physical and multiple disabilities including but not limited to cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, motor and sensory integration and processing disorders and many other unique developmental and genetic disabilities. They may be intellectually bright and active, but may be limited in their physical mobility or communication skills. Other children have sound bodies but have special cognitive challenges leaving these children mildly, moderately, severely, or profoundly developmentally delayed. Our belief is that each individual deserves the best quality of life possible. This foundation was created solely to give Eagle County children the opportunity to pursue all of their own goals and objectives and help instill in them the confidence and determination that will set the direction for their entire lives. We feel it is essential for all children to form the right attitude of attaining such goals at an early age. Our board consists of local volunteers and one paid administrator. Kara Heide, founder of the Vail Adaptive Program, has a strong background in medical and teaching education. She is a long time Vail local, sponsor and supervisor of the Eagle Valley Special Olympics Program, was Executive Director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust, and Ambassador for Habitat for Humanity, on the board of trustees for the Summit Foundation, on the Scholarship and Grants Committee for Summit County, and board member of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Connie Miller has been involved with the Vail Adaptive Program since its inception. A long time Vail local, she has taught Adult and Children’s Ski School for 35 years, owns and operates Peace of Mind Property Management, Inc, is a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) and has a master’s degree in Business Management. Kristin Jennings, mother of a child with special needs, is a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of Eagle County, publisher of Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Colorado Summit Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazines, and a resident of Eagle County for 20 years. Mike Connolly is manager of Triumph Mountain Properties. He has his master’s degree in Finance. An accountant by trade, he is our treasurer and financial manager. Steve Holden was President of Davis Vision and on the board of the National Association of Specialty Healthcare Organization, with 33 years in the health care industry. He holds his master degree in Finance and is a certified CPA. He is step father to a special needs child. He is instrumental in coordinating grant writing and accountability. John Weiss is an Adaptive and Fully Certified Ski Instructor with Vail Resorts, a resident of Eagle County for over 25 years, he is the paid Coordinator for Small Champions programs and grant writer. Donna Johnson is the Eagle County Transitions Program director and a special needs teacher. Honore Everly is a design specialist at P. Furniture and the mother of a special needs son. She has lived in Eagle County for over 30 years. Mission and Philosophy: The mission and philosophy behind Small Champions is to develop personal strengths and physical skills and teach children with disabilities that life is a rich and exciting place, if you focus on abilities, not disabilities. With this in mind, we create an interactive, stimulating and safe environment where participants can learn new skills, gain confidence and develop meaningful and lasting relationships with their instructors, counselors and fellow participants What We Do: Designed for children from Eagle County, Small Champions strives to introduce a wide variety of sports programs to each of its participants. Small Champion participants are only able to experience the thrill of learning these sports with specialized equipment and instruction that can come at a significant cost. Although documented financial hardship is not a specific criterion, Small Champions provides athletic programs that would otherwise be unavailable to these children without significant cost to their families. Small Champions currently provides benefits to 44 children through one-on-one coaching in Skiing, Bowling and Tennis in the winter, and a week long Summer Camp with the Vail Recreation District, Tennis, Horseback Riding (Hippotherapy), Swimming, Golf and Rock Climbing in the summer. Children work with an instructor specially trained in adaptive teaching techniques and equipment to accommodate a wide variety of disabilities. In addition to the sports programs that are offered year round, Small Champions also partnered with the Vail Recreation District to offer a one week day camp experience that was an enormous success. Activities included swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding, bowling, martial arts, gymnastics, crafts, games and more. We believe that recreational education encourages independence and life skills that are otherwise not attainable for many of the individuals that we serve. The aim is to increase each student’s personal development by providing well developed programs in which children learn to set, and then achieve goals. Participation in sports and group activities will result in improved physical strength and coordination as well as interpersonal skills, self-confidence and personal development. Skill development and communication development in regards to their interaction with their peers is measured from week to week by instructors through progress reports and observation. Repeated assurance is essential for all, and positive experiences can help overcome the many challenges that these children face on a daily basis. Without this program, many of the children would be unable to participate in any type of sports program. Community Involvement: Small Champions provides a significant positive impact on the community by providing an opportunity for these special children to be part of a group from the same community that meets often to enjoy sports, grow, learn, and have fun. It is very important for our Small Champions to have a peer group, and for their families to forge friendships enabling them to help each other. The program is an enormous benefit to the families of the children (many of whom volunteer and participate in the program). There is no other outlet in Eagle County where they are able to interact with other families and support the physical development of their child. Small Champions also recruits volunteers from the community that are available to offer assistance and their friendship while experiencing a sport with participants. The final outcome is a sense of accomplishment and belonging for each participant that begins with learning a sport. No other program exists in the Eagle Valley to provide these services for these children. The Future: “On a long-term basis, it is our goal to raise funds so that no disabled child is turned away from these wonderful experiences. Believing is magic and it holds within it not only the greatest power of accomplishment, but a wonderfully therapeutic feeling of the soul.” – Barbara Duncan (Scrivens), original Director of Small Champions. The program was founded in 1996 and has grown in the past 18 years from 5 children to 44. The summer and winter programs combined currently provide one-on-one coaching for all 44 children (also benefiting approximately 250 others in their direct families). Population averages indicate that Eagle County has at least 300 children with similar needs. Our short-term goal is the participation and growth of each participant in the program. Our long term goal is to grow the program to meet the need for physical sport development for all Eagle County children with cognitive, physical and multiple disabilities. How you can help: The current cost of the program is $3,000 per child per year. Last year, we enhanced and grew the program by reaching out to the Spanish speaking community. This year, our goal is to grow the program and provide scholarships for at least 5 children to accommodate inquiries and requests for participation from the community. We want to maintain the quality of the program and grow cautiously but still serve the needs of the community. Frankly, we could not provide the services that we do without donors like you. We look forward to working with you in the future. We, and all of the individuals that greatly benefit from our program, deeply appreciate your generosity.
PO Box 4691, Vail, CO 81658
2018 Earnings
2018 Total$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00

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