Preschools on Wheels raises $40K
RIFLE — The Preschool on Wheels program has raised $40,000, thanks to a $20,000 matching grant by Columbine Ford of Rifle and the Mascotte family, along with support from the Rifle, New Castle and Silt communities.
“We are delighted to meet our $40,000 matching goal, which demonstrates a broad base of community support for this impactful program,” said Tamara Tormohlen, executive director of the Aspen Community Foundation.
“Research has shown that children who attend quality preschool — regardless of background or personal circumstances — are more likely to have the skills that prepare them to learn, read and succeed in school — and succeed in life,” said Jimmy Breslin, general manager of Columbine Ford. “We care about these kids and believe we can make a significant difference in their lives with the Preschool on Wheels program.”
The Preschool on Wheels program is in its third school year, with Gus the Bus and the Sunshine Bus bringing preschool programs to 3- to 5-year-olds who would not otherwise receive these services and are at risk for starting school unprepared. The buses each serve 60 children, enabling a total of 120 children living in Rifle, Silt and New Castle the opportunity for a preschool experience.
“Gus the Bus and The Sunshine Bus preschoolers continue to show tremendous growth toward kindergarten readiness, which is a testament that quality preschool is one of the most effective ways to improve the educational and life outcomes of young children,” said ACF program coordinator Jayne Poss.
Gus and Sunshine are retrofitted school buses equipped with learning centers that help children develop skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten and become lifelong learners. Each week, Gus and Sunshine visit eight neighborhoods in Rifle, Silt and New Castle where four qualified early childhood teachers provide a literacy-rich educational experience to children and support families with training and resources so they can be actively engaged in their child’s learning.
A partnership project between Aspen Community Foundation and the Garfield School District Re-2, the Preschool on Wheels program is a signature project of Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative, bringing nonprofits, business, schools, government and philanthropy together to ensure that all of our region’s 22,000 children are ready for kindergarten and graduate from high school, ready for college and career.
For more information on how you can support the Preschools on Wheels program, please contact Jayne Poss at the Aspen Community Foundation at 970-925-9300.
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“I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is,” said YouthZone Executive Director Lori Mueller. “This is an integral part of helping kids get back on the right track.”