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Changing Lives In The Estes Valley

By: The Estes Valley Community Fund Committee of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado

How can we attract and retain more young families in the Estes Valley? How do we make Estes more family-friendly? These questions have been discussed extensively in a variety of community meetings and forums in recent years.

In June of 2007 a group of eight young mothers decided to go beyond talk and take action by forming an organization, Families For Estes (FFE), which is committed to improving the lives of young families in the Estes Valley. Although the original inspiration and goal was to raise money for playground improvements at Stanley Park and the Estes Park Marina, the group soon broadened its mission and focus to improving the quality of life for families in the Estes Valley and expanding lines of communication with residents of all ages

Families for Estes has made amazing progress in a very short time. With assistance from the Non-Profit Resource Center, it has obtained its 501(c)(3) non-profit certification; developed an attractive and user-friendly web site; published a very well designed quarterly family resource guide, Kids With Altitude; (which can be found inside this issue), and organized a variety of creative fund-raising activities.

A very significant element of FFE’s mission is to establish an information-sharing cooperative, and Kids With Altitude serves that purpose well. It includes a detailed monthly calendar of events of interest to families, information on pre-schools and licensed day-care providers, favorite hikes for kids, thoughtful and well-researched articles on health and education, and an extensive list of programs offered by local organizations for kids of all ages. This guide is an invaluable resource not only for young local families, but also for resident grandparents and touring families who wish to take full advantage of programs offered by local organizations such as the Estes Park Library, Parks and Rec, MacGregor Ranch, the Art Center of Estes Park, the Rocky Mountain Nature association, the Aquatic Center, the YMCA, Rocky Mountain National Park and many others.

Although raising money for capital improvements such as playgrounds, a zero-entry pool at the Aquatic Center and a Community Center which will serve and help unite all ages will take time, Families for Estes is already changing lives in the Estes Valley in significant ways. It is helping isolated families to network with one another, educating the community about available resources and expertise, identifying important needs for families, and opening up many lines of communication with individuals and groups who may be able to help address those needs.

We encourage others to also step up to the plate to assist this wonderful and energetic organization.
For more information about how you can help and/or contribute visit their website at

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado is available to assist donors who wish to provide funding for Estes Valley charities. Their phone number is 970-224-3462. You may also contact any of the local persons listed below.

For further information, please feel free to contact Randy Davis, 577-7700; Joe Adair, 586-8846; Ludie Dickeson, 586-9409; Barb Marshall; Paul Newendorp, 586-6620; Frank Shavlik, 577-9598; Judy Nystrom, 586-3333; or Eric Waples, 577-1827.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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