LOVELAND, Colo. (KMGH) — Laney and Duncan Howard don’t make money, but they are some of the richest “grandparents” in Lago Vista Mobile Home Park.
“They love these kids and give them so much,” said Beth Bianco, board member of the Lago Vista Neighbor Board.
The Howards have taken the neighborhood kids under their wings, giving them something that’s hard to find here, a chance.
“Over the last ten years the park has really changed. I think there’s a waiting list to get in here rather than trying to always get out,” Laney Howard said.
Four times a week, the Howards host youth programs and work with the kids on academics, leadership and faith. They’ve also created a leadership program for the community’s middle and high school students.
“It’s about 250 kids we have contact with,” Laney Howard said.
The Howards are dedicated to ensuring each kid in the park has a chance. Since 2014, they’ve worked in partnership with Food Bank of Larimer County to provide Kids Cafe meals and snacks.
“The kids know that they are wanted, they know that they are valued, they know that the Howards love them,” Bianco said.
It all started ten years ago when the now-retired teachers noticed lower-income students in Larimer County slipping behind.
“They weren’t making the same progress on state testing as the general population so we started a one hour a week, kind of enrichment homework club in the clubhouse,” Laney Howard said.
Then, in 2012 they sold their home, moved into the mobile home park in Loveland and took a chance.
“We just really felt like this is what God wanted us to do, that he is the one who gave us the example of moving into our neighborhood, meaning the world, so we wanted to follow his example,” Duncan Howard said.
Their “example” has had a ripple effect. The Howards said crime has gone down and reading levels have gone up. Best of all, the kids know the real riches in life have nothing to do with money.
“They say they’re grandparents to all the kids in the park here, and they are,” Bianco said. “They love these kids.”
The Lago Vista Neighborhood is currently looking for a full-time program director. For more information or to apply visit: Lagovistaneighbor.org .
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