In December 2014, the NV Energy Foundation donated $15,000 for the Classroom on Wheels to be used in Tonopah and surrounding communities. This is a mobile early childhood education classroom that is housed in a former school bus. Community Chest, Inc. operates four buses in Storey and Lyon Counties, and one bus in Nye County. The Nye County bus is need of an engine and brakes (they have worn out from use in other communities). Together with the Orchard House Foundation and Nye County CSBG state support, this bus will be repaired and on the highway again. It is painted brown and white to look like a cow– hence the name, COW Bus. Washoe County has a program with several buses and Community Chest operates the only other program in the state for Storey, Lyon, and Nye Counties. The COW Bus serves children ages 3-5, in groups of 10-13 young people per class. They learn developmentally appropriate social skills, and many skills to help prepare them for the transition to elementary school: names of colors, letters, use of pencils and crayons, reading aloud, practice with writing names, etc.
Last summer, many Nye County organizations, businesses, and the Tonopah Library Board stepped up to start the program. It was a huge success which led Community Chest to try and find funding to repair the bus and get it out to the community. The program currently operates in the Tonopah Volunteer Fire Department office (Station 2). Community Chest is most grateful for their support.
NV Energy has been a long-time supporter of children and family initiatives led by Community Chest. They were significant funders of the Storey County Youth and Community Resource Center and they have been actively involved in supporting the library (run by CCI) and the many fund-raising goals of CCI.
Community Chest is deeply grateful for this contribution and the teachers and students in Tonopah are also very excited. Look for a COW Bus coming to Tonopah soon!