Vangi McCoy wins state award

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Vangi McCoy introduces speakers at the Kids Count program recently. McCoy received the Outstanding Community Service Award from Governor John Hickenlooper.

By Rachel Segura Journal staff writer

Without the efforts of community members who advocate for children and families regarding education and health care, initiatives and legislature that emphasize the importance of these issues would never get passed or even glanced at.

Vangi McCoy, Montelores Early Childhood Council Coordinator, received the Governor’s Service Award for Colorado on Friday, Oct. 5 in Denver. The award is given through the office of the Lieutenant Governor for Serve Colorado-Governor’s Commission on Community Service.

Individuals are nominated and 12 are awarded for various work and services in their community. McCoy was the only person recognized from Southwest Colorado.

“I am very humbled and proud,” McCoy said. “But it’s not just about me. It’s about early childhood education being recognized and Southwest Colorado being recognized.”

McCoy was nominated by Americorps member Tyra Hughes who works directly with McCoy in coordinating activities with the MECC.

“She works very hard to provide services for early childhood education,” said Hughes. “With all she does in the community I knew she would be perfect for this award.”

McCoy has an endless amount of responsibility. She also has an endless amount of passion for her work. She has helped to coordinate and put forth the yearly event called the Early Childhood Celebration and Fair, in which families with children up to five years of age can receive free developmental and emotional health screenings, hearing, and dental and vision screenings. The fair occurs every April and is approaching its fourth year.

“She understands there needs to be a big focus on educating kids when they are young,” Hughes said. “Because that helps to get them through life and prepare them mentally.”

McCoy also works to make sure early childhood educators are receiving the training needed for their positions. She has also brought the School Readiness Program and the Family Leadership Training Institute into the community. Both programs are helping children and their families learn the importance of quality education.

The FLTI is a 20-week program, specifically designed to educate parents in civics and government operations. It also offers parents opportunities to learn about themselves and what is important in their lives. Trish Peters is the FLTI coordinator. She also works closely with McCoy.

“She really is a true leader for the children in our community,” Peters said. “She is a voice for early childhood educators, children and their families. She doesn’t do much for herself. She is truly deserving of this (award).”

McCoy also serves on the Dolores School Board, the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services. With her help and the help of health professionals, child council members, BOCES members and countless others, they have found many ways to aid and support families with young children. McCoy is very passionate about advocating for that cause and making a difference in the community.

“Some say I can’t say ‘no,’ McCoy said. “And that may be true, but if it’s something I am passionate about I get involved because I want to make a difference so families and children can thrive with the community.”

McCoy teaches early childhood classes at Southwest Colorado Community College. She is also a leader for the It’s About Kids program through the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Her future plans for children in the community continue to grow and she hopes to continue to implement new strategic goals put forth by the council every year.

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