Wine & Dine 2022, The Great Outdoors, Adventure Awaits, will go down as an event with many firsts. Thanks to our generous supporters, we raised the most we have ever raised in a Wine & Dine event—over $300,000 and counting! It was the first Wine & Dine event to have a s’mores eating contest (so fun), and, for the first time in Horizons Colorado’s history, we honored an alum, Jessica Nuñez-Hernandez, with the Horizons Hero award. In addition, Jessica will be our first program director who is an alum of the program!
When I was recently asked what makes Horizons special, my first answer was our alumni. Our alumni embody the essence of our program. Across the United States, 97% of Horizons alumni graduate from high school, compared to 78% of their peers. As our alumni graduate from high school, many go on to pursue higher education, work in the trades, or start their own businesses. In all of these cases, our alumni are living examples of Horizons’ mission: once the doors of opportunity are open, anything is possible.
This is a program that works and makes an enormous difference in the lives of our students. As Shane Knight, the former principal of Knapp Elementary, and the current principal of Bear Valley International Middle School, so eloquently put it, when one student is touched by Horizons, that has the potential to impact the entire family. We can see this happening across the board with our Horizons students and their families.
My hope is that we can continue to grow and expand this life-changing program so that more students have the opportunity to participate. In Atlanta, the Horizons community got together and stated a goal of having at least 5% of all Atlanta public school students enrolled in Horizons. The Atlanta region is now serving over 2,000 students. How impactful would that be here in Denver? What a difference would that make? If you are interested in exploring this possibility with me, please reach out to help with the brainstorming process.
On a closing note, a huge thank you to all who participated in this year’s Wine & Dine event.
Having so much support from the CA community—donors, faculty, staff, parents, and Horizons Club members—and knowing that everyone has a vested interest in the program’s success provides me with so much hope that it is hard to put it into words. The CA community’s unflagging support makes it all possible. For that, I am eternally grateful. Mil gracias y adelante!