Partner Highlight

Partner Highlight: Environmental Learning for Kids

Creating opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to enjoy nature

Environmental Learning for Kids LogoInterview with Loretta Pineda, Executive Director, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK)
By: Ben Soofer, Maddie Buel, Brady Olcott, and Maggie Albro (University of Denver)

Dondre Smallwood is a freshman currently enrolled at Colorado State University, but his road to get there started nine years prior. Growing up in Montbello, Dondre lacked access to the resources for engaging with nature until he was introduced to Environmental Learning for Kids.

Dondre Smallwood climbingThroughout nine years of being involved with ELK, Dondre was given the opportunity to fish, hike, camp, visit Mesa Verde, and go to museums in Denver. With the help of ELK, Dondre improved his skills in leadership and self-development.

“Environmental Learning for Kids has helped me see that just because I am a young black man or a minority it does not mean that I cannot get into a good college or get a good job. ELK has given me, and continues to give me, the tools to help and encourage me to keep moving on during hard times in life. They let me know that I can become a useful source in our community and that I am important. I am a Daniels Fund Scholar and that dream was made possible by ELK. Coming into this program is like meeting another family.” – Dondre Smallwood Read more