It was Leslie Howard’s experience on the Colorado Academy Board of Trustees that first brought Horizons to her attention.
“I could see that the Board really supports Horizons, that Horizons is important to CA,” she says. “That gives me confidence that Horizons will be around a long time and fully supported.”
Leslie and her husband Gary have gone above and beyond, doing their part to support Horizons, because it speaks to their shared philosophy that “education is the way to break the cycle of poverty.”
“We wanted to reduce barriers to advancement through education,” Gary says. “You can change the trajectory of a family or even a community through education.”
“If we can make the difference in one child’s life, we have done our job.” Leslie adds.
The same opportunity
Leslie is the researcher in the family. She remembers reading about the origins of Horizons, which started at a single East Coast independent school in 1964. Today, Horizons serves 6,000 students in 62 programs in 19 states.
“This is such a great use of the CA campus in the summer,” Leslie says. “I love the connection between CA and this nonprofit, and I’m so impressed that CA students get involved by volunteering with Horizons. It’s just a really great relationship.”
The Howards’ twin daughters, Lexi and Genevieve, graduated with the Class of 2020. They are justifiably proud.
“We have sent our children to an independent school, and we want to spread the value of CA,” she says. “Our children are so fortunate to be going here and receiving a well-rounded education with an emphasis on character. Horizons gives other children the same opportunity.”
Global Business Academy
The Howards are involved in philanthropy supporting education in a variety of ways, but what Gary likes about Horizons is the age at which students start the program.
“Horizons is a well-run program that targets children at a very young age, and they are supported as they move along,” he says. “We believe in the importance of early intervention.”
He also believes in early education in a field near and dear to his heart—business. He has founded the Global Business Academy, an international summer program at Colorado State University, where high school Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors can learn basic principles of business that will serve them in whatever career they pursue. In its third year, the program had 130 applications from around the world, from which 50 were chosen, with one-third of that group coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. “Recognizing how well Horizons is run, it is a great place to seek the kind of students who will benefit from this program,” Gary says.
Two Horizons students, both enrolled at CA, have attended the Global Business Academy. Afterwards, Junior Pedro Olivas-Holguin wrote, “I would like to thank you for this amazing experience. I learned lifelong skills. This is unforgettable, and words cannot express how much this means.”
Junior Ulisses Rico also thanked Horizons for the opportunity. “I learned a lot about the importance of global business. I hope to further my education in business and entrepreneurship to help our generation and the ones that follow.”
For Gary Howard, this is where he sees the return on his investment in Horizons. “Having these students achieve success is the perfect reward for me,” he says. “It’s peace of mind, a feeling in your heart.”
“You feel you are making a difference,” Leslie adds. “These young adults will go on and do great things. And they will continue the cycle of giving.”