2023’s 30th Annual HOPE Event Reaches Many

Nearly 1,000 visitors from across the Denver Metro Area came to Colorado Academy on December 9 to take part in HOPE, the student-led service initiative that for three decades has made the holidays brighter for families in need by offering free clothing, school supplies, toiletries, baby essentials, toys, food, medical care, fun activities, community services, and much more.

“HOPE demonstrates the true power in the act and art of giving,” says Head of School Dr. Mike Davis. “It brings together students, faculty, staff, families, volunteers, and community members to create remarkable memories and moments. I am grateful to the student leaders who make this event a success each year.”

Hundreds of volunteer students, parents, faculty, and staff members made this 30th annual HOPE special, according to Senior co-presidents Ellen Clowes, Daniel Farmer, and Maddy Reeves. “Seeing the event come together and be as successful as it was—it was definitely an amazing feeling,” said Reeves. “It is wonderful to see how the entire CA community can come together and positively impact so many people. It was especially exciting that we were able to help more than 900 guests on Saturday, which is the most we have had in several years!”

HOPE student volunteers, with co-presidents Daniel Farmer, Ellen Clowes, and Maddy Reeves at center in red.

The three co-presidents, along with scores of student section directors and associates responsible for organizing donations, coordinating medical services, arranging bus transportation, and planning games and food, worked for months throughout the fall to put the one-day event together. The Friday before HOPE, even more volunteers, including dozens of Middle and Lower School students, joined together to unload hundreds of bags of donated clothing and shoes, sort at least 1,500 toys, books, and other holiday gifts, set up the Dining Hall for lunch, and prepare Campus Center spaces for vaccinations and dental and heart screenings.

On Saturday, world language students helped to welcome the many Spanish-speaking families who joined the early morning crowd excited to enter the Athletic Center, where they found everything from diapers to outerwear carefully arranged. The youngest guests were thrilled to find face-painting, STEM activities, and other fun things to explore in their own area while parents shopped. Together, many families posed at the holiday-themed photo booth before heading to the Campus Center for a hot meal served up by Chef Paul Worley and his Food Service team.

All told, the student, staff, and medical and dental volunteers at the Campus Center were able to provide more than 600 healthy meals, deliver more than 75 flu vaccines and heart screenings, and give more than 200 dental exams.

“I am beyond ecstatic about how the event went,” said Clowes. “We were able to give away almost all of our toys, games, and clothing donations. Although I felt a little overwhelmed at times by the huge scale of HOPE, all of my peers and fellow co-presidents did a great job of making the event run smoothly. It was wonderful to see all my friends and classmates positively impacting individuals beyond our CA community.”

HOPE faculty facilitators Lisa Dean, CA’s Upper School Service Learning Coordinator, and Sydney Finkbohner, Upper School science teacher, thanked CA’s Campus Safety & Security team, Operations staff, and Athletics Department for their support in helping create “beautiful holiday memories for so many children and their families.”

Added Farmer of the all-campus event—where helpful student guides were strategically stationed along walkways to assist arriving families and help them find everything available to them—“HOPE this year underscored the power of CA’s collective compassion. Witnessing the impact of our efforts on the grateful faces of the families we served is a poignant reminder of our ability to inspire change.”