Member Spotlight: Vail Valley Foundation’s Magic Bus

We’re featuring our partners who help contribute to Holy Cross Energy’s goals and are leaders in the areas of sustainability and climate action. Amy Chato is the Senior Manager of Early Learning for the Vail Valley Foundation and YouthPower365. She recently chatted with us about how the all-electric Magic Bus is creating a more vibrant and connected community in the Eagle Valley.

What is the Magic Bus?
YouthPower365’s Magic Bus program is a bilingual, licensed, mobile preschool experience that prepares three- to five-year-olds for success in kindergarten. The Magic Bus is an all-electric, customized RV meant for quality early learning.

Who is served by the Magic Bus?
The Magic Bus serves local children and families that run into barriers such as space availability, affordability, language, or lack of transportation that may prevent them from enrolling in a traditional preschool program. Additionally, the Magic bus serves families who may prefer a non-traditional preschool program.

How is driving an electric bus different from a regular bus?
The electric bus is MUCH quieter than a gas-powered bus and you have to be more thoughtful about the speed and when to accelerate. Brake use is more limited because of the sensitivity of the gas pedal. The bus must be charged overnight. The interior classroom mirrors a traditional preschool classroom with a small library, desks, circle time rug, learn through play equipment, and even a bathroom!

How is the Vail Valley Foundation promoting climate action as a priority?
The Magic Bus often drives into low-income neighborhoods that can be more susceptible to unregulated practices; the electric bus avoids adding to that challenge as it does not produce emissions. As an organization, we are proud to be models for sustainability. In fact, our Magic Bus is the first all-electric mobile preschool in the world, and one of the first-ever all-electric RVs. This allows for great teachable moments for preschoolers to care about how we treat the earth. We are still measuring the impact of the electric Magic Bus and establishing a way to track carbon offsetting.