Vail Today: YouthPower365 rolls out new Magic Bus to serve preschoolers

Keep your eyes peeled for a big, colorful Magic Bus cruising throughout Eagle County. YouthPower365 just dispatched their newest mobile preschool vehicle to serve youth ages 3 to 5 who don’t attend a traditional preschool.

Many parents, kids, donors and supporters of YouthPower365 gathered at Avon Elementary School on Wed., Jan. 3 to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and take a tour of this new 99 square-foot “classroom on wheels”.

Deb Dutmer, Magic Bus program manager, remembers the early days of the Magic Bus, which dates back to May of 2000, when it started out as a mobile library that delivered books to kids in elementary and middle school. It soon evolved to a mobile preschool program.

In 2006, Dutmer was hired full-time to start developing the mobile preschool program. Besides being the mom of two boys, she admits she had very little experience teaching preschoolers.

“I still remember something that Jeanne McQueeney said to me when I confessed my fears of not being qualified as an early childhood educator. She said, ‘Deb, you love children, want to see the best future for them and are passionate about the mission of the Magic Bus, so you ARE an early childhood educator!’ She was right,” Dutmer said.

There was such a high need up and down the valley that the only way they could serve as many kids as possible was to have one hour visits at each location. “Even with that little exposure to a classroom environment, kinder teachers were telling us they could see a difference in the kids when started kindergarten! It was a HUGE motivator and indicated that we were on the right track,” Dutmer said.


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