By Lynne Marsala Basche
The belief that nonprofit organizations strengthen our community, combined with faith in our readership and humanity in general that we all have talents to share, The Castle Pines Connection is committed to featuring a different local nonprofit each month. This month we highlight the Douglas County Educational Foundation (DCEF).
Readers may not be aware of the DCEF, but chances are high they have taken advantage of their services. For the past 25 years, the DCEF has been a partner with all Douglas County schools to prepare students to become career, college and citizenship-ready and not just in the classroom either.
The DCEF is an independent nonprofit organization that works with the private sector and the Douglas County School District for the purpose of promoting innovation and enriching the student experience. Along with corporations, the organization develops private resources to improve the educational landscape as a whole, including teachers. The DCEF recognizes that learning is not just about age, books or being in a traditional classroom environment. The organization meets its mission by trying to (1) facilitate learner development through enhanced educational activities for all ages; (2) enrich individual life experiences by promoting cultural activities in the arts and humanities; (3) support the professional growth of teaching by encouraging new and creative ideas for delivering education; and (4) promote school and community partnerships by encouraging individuals and organizations to share resources.
Whether providing grants to schools, teachers or classrooms or assisting in raising money for program initiatives such as Career Connect, field trips, scholarships, school supplies and outdoor education, the DCEF strives to be a valuable resource for all Douglas County schools.
A traditional postsecondary college education is not for all students, and the DCEF works diligently to connect schools with the private sector to introduce kids to other options such as vocational schools. Whether creating the fire science program at Rock Canyon High School or Mountain Vista High School’s theater tech program, students are exposed to trades, and environments are fostered that feed skilled workers. Take advantage of the DCEF’s Career Connect program, which is designed to give students an opportunity to learn about possible career choices. The upcoming Eighth Grade Expo in November is created for kids as they start to explore their future college and career plans. There is also the high school program where approximately 40 companies open their doors for students to come in and learn about careers alongside industry professionals.
The DCEF touches our community in many ways, and perhaps one of the most visible contributions is sponsoring “community nights” with major Colorado athletic teams, such as the Avalanche, Mammoth, and Nuggets, as well as events at the Botanic Gardens and Denver Performing Arts Center. These events raise money for schools by providing discounted tickets for families to enjoy activities they might otherwise not have been able to afford on designated days. More than $35,000 was raised last year from community nights.
Whether sponsoring programs, coordinating their signature event, the Apple Awards, providing grants or supporting students and teachers, the DCEF tirelessly works to support Douglas County schools. Learn more about the DCEF’s efforts and programs at www.dcefcolo.org.
We invite readers to send suggestions for nonprofit organizations to feature. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to learning more and sharing information about nonprofits in our community throughout the year.