Coyer Family Supports a Spanish-Speaking Clinician at Avon Elementary
Skiing drew them here first, and the splendor of the fall landscape kept them coming back, but it was the community that convinced Amy and Steve Coyer to build a permanent home in Avon more than 20 years ago. “When people ask me why I love living here so much, one of the first things I say is that it’s such a generous community,” says Amy.
Amy’s family has a long history in philanthropy, and giving back to the valley has come naturally to the couple. While the Coyers never got around to having children themselves, they often say that they “have adopted the whole valley.” Inspired by their many nieces and nephews, their generosity benefits children.
Responding to the Challenge
When Eagle County Schools transitioned to remote learning, many students faced new challenges. They became physically separated from their friends and teachers, who could not as easily catch potential behavioral health issues. When students returned to school, it became tough for some to quickly return to normalcy. Dual-language students faced even greater challenges.
“The Hispanic community can have increased difficulty in school because they’re learning Spanish at home while learning English at school,” says Steve. “A large number of our donations support programs that help close this achievement gap and support children in becoming active and successful adults.”
Amy was a regular volunteer for the Vail Valley Foundation YouthPower365 Magic Bus in its early days. This mobile, licensed bilingual early childhood program makes bi-weekly visits to eight different communities throughout Eagle County. Steve has served as Chair of YouthPower365 for almost 20 years, and has first-hand knowledge of schools’ needs. When the Coyers heard more funding was needed to implement summer school programming, they were quick to provide it.
Supporting a Bilingual School-based Therapist
Amy and Steve are focused on making a positive impact, which is why they support It Takes A Valley: Transforming Behavioral Health. When the Coyers learned about Your Hope Center, they were excited to hear about their shared goal to place a licensed therapist in every school in Eagle County. “We got interested in investing and trying to make sure we had someone sharp at Avon Elementary, as well as at the other schools. So we got involved by supporting Your Hope Center in that way,” says Steve.
Steve and Amy recognize that half of the local school-aged children come from a Hispanic background. Many may be English language learners, making providing culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health services even more challenging. Avon Elementary now has Lisa Hassin, a bilingual therapist on campus, thanks to their generous support.
“Being able to hire a Spanish-speaking therapist who is sensitive to cultural diversity is fantastic. It makes it a lot easier for the kids to receive quality services when they don’t have to work through a translator,” says Steve.
“These kids have access to a counselor in school – and it’s free,” Amy adds. “The fact that we’ve been able to achieve that in this valley is a real commendation to Carrie Benway, Your Hope Center, and Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.”
Inspired by Today’s Youth
Steve and Amy continue to enjoy the activities that brought them to the community: golfing, skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking with their beloved dog, Molly. However, they’re most inspired by the preschoolers they worked with years ago, who are now high school students submitting college applications and applying for internships.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to see a number of students graduate, go to college, or work in local businesses. It’s just terrific to see them get on with their lives and become successful and happy,” says Steve.
“When people ask me why I love living here so much, one of the first things I say is that it’s such a generous community at all levels.”Amy Coyer