Preschool on Wheels celebrates five years | PostIndependent.com

Preschool on Wheels celebrates five years

Logan Hood
Preschools on Wheels Program Director
Preschool on Wheels students receive achievement medallions for graduating from the program.
Olga Barron / Photography Inc. |

To celebrate the successful fifth year as a program, Aspen Community Foundation in partnership with Garfield RE-2 School District hosted a summer celebration event for all the Gus the Bus and Sunshine Bus Preschool on Wheels graduates and their families. The preschoolers preformed their favorite songs and each child received an achievement medallion and ready for kindergarten bag that were generously put together by the students of Country Day School. Inside each bag was a copy of The Lucky Tale of Two Dogs brought to them by Lucky Day Dog Rescue of Colorado, sponsored by an Aspen Rotary community grant.

Over 450 guests enjoyed music from Boogie Down Light and Sound and visited several stations of healthy food combinations sponsored by Early Learning Venture’s Healthy Options for Preschoolers Program. The majority of the food was locally sourced from Eagle Springs Organic from Rifle, Osage Gardens from Silt and Rifle’s Whistle Pig restaurant. The food stations showcased snacks that were served on the buses called “Rainbow Snacks”. These snacks contained menu items featuring fresh fruits, vegetables, low-sugar, whole-grains, and lean protein items. “The goal of this partnership program was to get new fruit and veggie snack ideas, add more variety and healthy foods to the current school menu and implement a family education piece about nutrition,” said Logan Hood, Preschool on Wheels Program Director.

Made possible through a partnership with Early Learning Ventures (ELV) and the Colorado Health Foundation, the Healthy Options for Preschoolers (HOP) Program encourages parents and child care providers to serve healthy snack options to children. Snacks are built by making “Rainbow Snacks” which pair a fruit or vegetable with a low sugar whole grain or protein item for a tasty treat that is healthy and appetizing. Children are introduced to new food items, and parents and child care providers are given resources such as recipes, shopping gift cards, and healthy snack tips to help them along the way.

“We are so pleased to be serving many Rainbow Snacks today for this event, and we appreciate everyone’s participation over the past several months! As a token of ELV’s appreciation, we have large freezer bags and tomato starter plants for every family to take home. We understand how hard it can be to transport fresh foods when you live in an area with limited grocery stores, and we want to help you get that food home safe and fresh” said Kelly Esch, Quality Improvement Specialist-Garfield County and Early Learning Ventures.

The Preschool on Wheels program finished its fifth school year with Gus the Bus and The Sunshine Bus delivering quality preschool to three, four and five-year-old children from Rifle, Silt and New Castle neighborhoods. Each bus offers a bilingual learning environment with director qualified teachers serving 120 children each year. Children enter kindergarten ready to learn and families are required to attend monthly parenting classing that help them gain knowledge about child development and how to foster school success.

For more information about how to enroll a child visit http://www.aspencommunityfoundation.org

Since its establishment in 1980, Aspen Community Foundation (ACF) has matured from its roots as the recipient of funds from transferable ski passes from Aspen Skiing Company to a self-sustained organization, responding to the diverse and changing needs of our region – providing critical support to community organizations that provide essential services, scholarships for local students and emergency assistance to our most at risk citizens, making a critical difference for thousands of individuals and families in our service area from Aspen to Parachute, Colo.

Because no single organization can create large-scale, lasting social change alone, Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative (CCI) brings together more than 100 nonprofits, business, education, philanthropic, government and community leaders to work on a common agenda to ensure that all of our region’s 20,000 children are ready for kindergarten and graduate from high school ready for college or career. ACF’s role is to guide the vision and strategy, support aligned activities and shared measurement, build public will and mobilize funding to dramatically improve youth success in our region. Preschool On Wheels is a signature program of the Cradle to Career Initiative.