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Your Impact

"We joined the VMS community when Anthony started Kindergarten in August 2016. Since that time, we have volunteered for the Gala, Garage Sale, teach appreciation breakfasts, The Day of the Arts, and Ski Fridays. We have volunteered on field trips and make it a point to support teachers in every way possible. We are a Welcome Family for Lower School new families and members of Parent Partners. We feel that parent involvement is an important part of how VMS achieves its missions. We are also very fortunate to be able to volunteer the time generously, for VMS to succeed, and continue to support the community. We are now entering our sixth year at VMS and the community is an integral part of our family and our daily living."

Mark, Toko, and Anthony Wimberly

Dr. Kate Drescher leads the psychological services team at VMS and has been instrumental in expanding the social-emotional support and programming available to students. Her work in individual counseling runs the gamut from everyday issues like executive functioning and building social skills, to more complex conversations such as sexuality and gender identity, or how to balance the pressures of being an elite-level scholar-athlete. The area of greatest need for social-emotional support is primary prevention. Toward that end, Dr. Drescher oversees small groups in Lower School to encourage healthy social dynamics. In Middle School, there is a new advisory curriculum and the school has partnered with the Caring Schools Network at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. In Upper School, Dr. Drescher advised the Student Leadership Council on how to create a positive and supportive culture and collaborate with faculty to develop curriculum related to social justice.

The Julie and John Kaemmer Endowment for Social Emotional Health is named in honor of Dr. Kate Drescher’s parents and her contribution to the school.

The VMS Garage Sale began in 1991. From its humble beginnings in the Dining Hall, the iconic VMS event has grown into a two day event that draws people from all over the state and helps not only our own families but the greater Eagle County community. Since 2010, the VMS Garage Sale has been chaired by Sue Franciose, Garage Sale organizer extraordinaire! Proceeds from the annual Garage Sale have evolved over the years from an average of $5,000 to over $20,000 annually.

The event began with a few donations from VMS families but now includes year-round donations. Many local furniture stores, clothing consignment stores, realtors, property managers, hotels, and other businesses now partner with Sue to donate items. In fact, 70% of donations come from outside the VMS community. It has become the “sale to end all sales”! Sue relies on a core group of five or six assistants each year as well as over 60 volunteers, most of whom work the week before to help organize and display items in the gymnasiums as well as during the two day event itself. Students get involved by helping the night of the sale to run the “hold” table and help shoppers. All VMS faculty receive a voucher to use for personal shopping; they are also able to shop for free for items for their classrooms.

While this event was certainly a successful fundraiser for VMS, Sue had a greater vision to expand the benefactors to the local community. She invites Salvation Army & Bright Future families to shop for free each year. Proceeds from the Garage Sale fund the Parent Partners budget which in turn supports teacher appreciation, parent events, new family gifts, Bingo Night, Casino Night, senior projects, and more. Sue collects and stores items all year long, cataloging and organizing along the way.

What started out as a modest fundraiser providing good deals at low prices has now blossomed into a large scale event that benefits many people in need throughout the community. Sue’s devotion and year-round commitment has made all the difference and we are grateful for her dedication and hard work. While we missed the Garage Sale in 2020, we look forward to its return in November 2021!