A quarter-century of service is a significant milestone for any organization and one that should be lauded. A substantial part of Horizons Colorado’s success can be credited to our incredible community of supporters and advocates and our host school, Colorado Academy. Investments in the broader Denver community through Horizons have impacted hundreds and hundreds of lives over the years, a direct result of the passion our community has for our mission and vision, one that firmly believes all children deserve access to opportunities so that they can thrive and lead choice-filled lives. For 25 years, Horizons has been opening doors to possibilities for our students, which is an achievement that should be acknowledged and applauded often!
Horizons Colorado has become one of the premier affiliates in the Horizons National network. Together, we have grown this program from its humble beginning of 13 students in 1998 to serving over 200 Pre-K through high school students annually in 2023.
What a blessing it was for us to be able to come together to celebrate the indelible impact of Horizons this November! Our fundraiser, An Avant Garde Affair, was the result of the hard work of many volunteers, especially our co-chairs, Jessica Sigala and Kelly Ballenger, along with our decor chair, Alison Gile, and our committee leads and members, all of whom spent countless hours making sure the event was enjoyable for our guests and that we met our fundraising goals. I am excited to report that we were successful on both fronts! Attendees felt the positive energy in the room, and we were able to meet our goal of raising $350,000, a record for our organization!
For me, many highlights stood out. We had a special tribute from our new mayor, Mike Johnston.
We got to celebrate the contributions and lives of two outstanding former Executive Directors, Jenny Leger and Ingrid Moore, both of whom passed this year. We were dazzled by the delicious food, cocktails, interactive games, and, of course, decor. Plus we got to publicly recognize the years of hard work behind the scenes that Maribeth Younger, our Horizons Hero of the Year, has put into our organization. Our 25-year commemoration video was a big hit as well!
Last but not least, we heard from Andrea Hernandez, Class of 2018, who shared that she was getting her master’s degree the next day!
As we look toward 2024, our hope is to expand our program across Denver and possibly the state of Colorado. A program like this needs to touch the lives of many more students. Please look out for future announcements on how we are hoping to make this a reality and establish additional sites. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to me!
Just as I closed my speech the night of our event, I would like to leave you with this touching, heartfelt reflection from Jennifer Lopez, Class of 2016:
“Horizons allowed a child with few access to resources to experience the impossible. It taught that child about values and what really matters in life. Words can’t explain how thankful I am for everyone who donates and volunteers. As kids, we don’t realize how much Horizons impacts our future until we’re old enough to understand what these strangers did for us. These people are selfless, and it gives me hope in humanity. Horizons helped shape the adult I am today, and I hope to one day be able to give back to the community.”