Nonprofit designed to strengthen families

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 3:02 PM PST
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GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (KOLO) - A nonprofit in Gardnerville known as Alpine Kids is taking action to make the case for the importance of the family unit and old-fashioned face-to-face activities to strengthen this foundational unit of our society.

The founder named Edie Veatch hosts an activity once a month.

There have been trips to Six Flags, bowling, a Giants game in San Francisco, and horseback riding at Antelope Pack Station.

All of these activities are happening because of one boy named Chris Veatch and some difficulties he was facing.

Today he’s 49-years-old and is a successful businessman in Hawaii.

His mother is Edie Veatch.

“41-years-ago my son was in counseling. He was 7-years-old and we didn’t know anything about ADHD,” said Alpine Kids Coordinating Director, Edie Veatch.

He struggled to sit still, his social skills were not the best, and people could push his buttons.

She says a counselor gave her some advice that she took to heart, “‘The counselor said, this boy has to have something out of school with kids. So that he doesn’t have to sit in the classroom.’”

His mother eventually found a program called Camp Fire.

It brings the outdoors, fun activities, and children together.

This, along with the family connection, produced a healing effect.

Edie took note and from this experience launched the nonprofit called Alpine Kids over 40-years-ago in 1981.

“We think that if families learn how to play together that we can stop child abuse, domestic violence, and all of those kinds of things because people are learning to be together,” Edie said.

The fun family activities hosted by Alpine Kids without drugs or alcohol help provide a gentle nudge about what life can be like.

“They’re going to have a meal and their admission is going to be paid and if they need help with gasoline we will buy their gasoline for the outing,” Edie said.

“It’s all those little moments that create such a good memory and it’s good for the kids,” said Alpine Kids Member, Gary Ceragioli.

Gary Ceragioli’s wife Jody recalls a moment between her husband and a group of teenage boys during an outing to Grover hot springs.

“They caught a crawdad and they brought it over and Gary’s the biggest kid ever and so he was playing around with the kids and the crawdad pinched his finger and everybody was like, ‘ahhhh’ and all the boys were like, ‘wahoo that’ so cool’. It’s just that interaction that adults can be kids too and have fun also,” Jody said.

It’s a life lesson taught without words.

Edie says these are the experiences that over time transform and heal lives.

She says her job is to create the environment to help facilitate these small moments, but she says there are a few obstacles.

Alpine Kids lost two grants. One was from Alpine County’s Behavioral Health Department and the other from the County’s Probation Department. It was designed to help keep juveniles out of jail.

Now she’s reliant on donations for support and says the money is running out.

“We need donations. We need to find a funding source. So we know how much money we have so we can go back to planning things,” Edie said.

The program is getting by now with affordable activities. They include things like a movie with a feature from Netflix projected on a large screen in a local church or pizza and caroling in December of 2022.

Edie says making space for those moments is easier with a bigger budget and more robust activities.

“There’s nothing better than to have a kid hug you and say this is the best day. I had so much fun and I get that a lot so I get paid a lot,” Edie said.

Anyone is welcome to join Alpine Kids.

It costs $40 per year. The rules include no cussing, show up if you sign up unless you’re sick, and there are no drugs or alcohol.

Click here if you know of a grant that could help fund Alpine Kids or here if you’d like to donate to the organization. It is run by volunteers who are not paid, according to Edie.

Click here to find the Alpine Kids on Facebook.

You can also provide monetary donations to 1375 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville, NV 89410.

Edie says 100 percent of donations go toward events.

Alpine Kids has all the benefits of a 501(c)(3) because it is partnered with the Carson Valley United Methodist Church.

There are no boundaries for members. Seniors with no children are invited to sign up.

There is no age limit. The youngest member is 6-months-old and the oldest is 88-years-old.

You don’t have to have young kids to enjoy the activities.

Veatch says Alpine Kids has offered all kinds of support to the community over the time of its existence. However, the programs below no longer exist.

It offered respite care for families with children living in dangerous situations. This includes children with parents who are alcoholics or parents who are looking for jobs.

With the Federal Food Program, Alpine Children’s Center was able to provide children with three meals and two snacks a day.

At one time Veatch says Alpine Kids had a visitor who worked with families in the court system.