This is the time of year when two of our local nonprofit organizations, Wild Bear Nature Center and TEENS, Inc., are faced with the challenge of how they are going to transport youth during the busy summer months. Each summer Wild Bear rents a Boulder Valley School bus and driver to transport children to Mud Lake and transports youth out to trailheads with their van. However, every summer the organization is short one van. This summer as TEENS, Inc. youth employment programs expand, they are looking for six more vehicles to transport youth to and from the job site.
So, when Jill Dreves and Stephen LeFaiver heard that Via was donating a few vehicles to Boulder County nonprofits, they jumped at the opportunity. “This was an opportunity not to pass up and really enhances our goals of getting 5-15 year olds connected to their backyard,” said Jill Dreves, Wild Bear’s Executive Director. Both organizations now have Via Busses in their fleet to enhance programming for local youth. Wild Bear will be using its bus during the summer to transport youth to head out to fly fish or enjoy nature studies at a private local ranch property. And now a donor has her sights on getting the bus painted into a “Bird Bus” in honor of her parents, making Wild Bear’s bus into an outreach education program, travelling to teach about birds as well as other nature studies.
TEENS, Inc. will be growing their youth employment program, TeamWorks, from hiring 30 youth last year to 60 youth this summer. Youth will be hired from Conifer, Gilpin County, Idaho Springs, Denver, and Nederland. TeamWorks members work on teams comprised of urban and rural youth performing a variety of conservation related work – making a good wage and earning scholarship funds. In order to make this happen they were looking at renting 4 – 6 vehicles. “This donation will help us cut down on vehicle costs and allow us to invest more into member training and development,” said Stephen, Executive Director of TEENS, Inc.
Via is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting independence and self-sufficiency for people living with mobility limitations by providing caring, customer-focused transportation options. Via serves over 30 communities in five counties. Via receives one to three paratransit vehicles every year through a federal grant program administered by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Because Via serves vulnerable populations, the federal grant requires Via to “retire” vehicles once they reach a certain mileage or useful life. The vehicle may have lots of life left to it so CDOT allows Via to donate the retired vehicles to other nonprofits or rural transit agencies for continued use. “Via is thrilled to support the important missions of Wild Bear (www.wildbear.org) and TEENS, Inc (www.teensinc.org) with a vehicle donation to each nonprofit,” said Rich Burns, Via’s director of operations.