Kinross Gold Gives Early Childhood Education a Boost in Tonopah

Photo by Kirk Greber Back Row: Emily Hendrickson, Karmin Greber, Dave Hendriks, Denise Carver, Carissa Abbott Front Row: Representing COW Bus students: Ira Speakman, Eli Brogden, Lily Abbott, Blake Bird, Maverick Gromis

Kinross Round Mountain Gold Corporation has again shown itself committed to the well-being of our community by a generous contribution to fund additional staffing for the Tonopah Classroom On Wheels Pre-K Program (COW Bus).

“Round Mountain Gold has a long history of supporting education initiatives in our communities. We are pleased to present this donation to the Tonopah COW Bus and to a community that is of great importance to our employees and our operation,” President and General Manager Dave Hendriks affirmed.

This action was originally proposed by Shaun Griffin, Co-founder and Development Director of Community Chest, Inc of Virginia City, who is responsible for providing this resource in Tonopah. “We are thrilled that Kinross Round Mountain Gold has contributed these funds to hire a teaching assistant for the COW Bus in Tonopah. Early childhood education is essential for students to thrive when they reach elementary school. This is how public-private partnerships change communities for the better.”

Program Teacher Karmin Greber is seen here beside Emily Hendrickson, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator for Round Mountain Gold. The COW Bus program operates year-round, welcoming students into a large classroom on the Tonopah Elementary School Campus during the academic school year and offering summer sessions at Jim Butler Park in the actual “bus” which is painted white with brown spots to resemble —  you guessed it —  a cow.

This type of innovative pre-k service has been a successful model around the US and abroad since the 1960’s, currently seen in places such as Aspen, Colorado and Mobile, Alabama, helping improve school readiness and outcomes in comparison to children who have little or no exposure to early education resources.

“Having lived and raised my family in rural Nevada for over thirty years, I understand firsthand the importance of educational programs, such as the COW Bus, for the youth in our communities.” explains Kinross Round Mountain Corporate Responsibility and Human Resources Manager Denise Carver. “We are thrilled that this donation will positively impact the lives of many families in Tonopah.”

COW Bus Program Expands to Tonopah

Erik COW Tonopah

Our Deputy Director, Erik Schoen, proudly posing with the Tonopah COW Bus!

The Classroom on Wheels (COW) Bus program is a mobile early education program that provides preschool curriculum and activities, parent education, and support and resources to frequently isolated rural families. One of our oldest and most popular programs, Community Chest is proud to have expanded this innovative “preschool-on-a-bus” to Tonopah in Nye County through collaboration with local community stakeholders!


NV Energy Donates $15,000 to Repair Classroom on Wheels

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!