05 May


By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … The numbers are in, and they exceeded expectations from last month’s Elevate Kids fun run in Grand Junction. Intermountain Adventist Academy (IAA) and Kids Aid split the $14,000 raised by the event.

IAA plans to use its share of the profits to help expand the school and to offer ninth and tenth grades in the 2022 – 2023 school year.

Elevate Kids, a non-profit organization created by IAA board chairman, Doug McCaw II, and his wife, Melinda, aims to “help kids one step at a time.” Their first fundraiser was a documentary, “Chasing the Sky,” capturing the McCaw’s 490-mile, 18-day run on the Colorado Trail in July 2020.

The second fundraiser (the Fun Run on April 10) was a huge success, with 255 registrants participating in a timed run with options for a 2.5K, a 5K, or a 10K race, and supported by many local sponsors and volunteers.

Elevate Kids’ next fundraising event is scheduled for July 2022, when the McCaw’s will again run the Colorado Trail, setting out to break the fastest-known time in approximately seven days. Another documentary, “Chasing the Sky Again,” will be created, with proceeds going to IAA and Kids Aid.

With the success of the Fun Run, organizers are already planning the 2023 Fun Run for April 16, 2023

— Sandi Adcox is a Grand Junction Adventist Church member and Elevate Kids Run team member; photos supplied

19 Apr


By Sandi Adcox with Rajmund Dabrowski – Grand Junction, Colorado … Elevate Kids (EK), a non-profit organization whose motto is “Helping Kids One Step at a Time,” was created by a couple of members of the Grand Junction Seventh-day Adventist Church. Doug McCaw II, board chairman of Intermountain Adventist Academy (IAA), and his wife, Melinda, are dedicated to raising money to benefit children, specifically, IAA (which is expanding to grades 9 and 10 next school year) and Kids Aid. This backpack-for-kids program feeds hungry children.

On Sunday, April 10, the McCaws hosted the first annual Elevate Kids Fun Run for the community, with proceeds going to IAA and Kids Aid. The event, which included 2.5K, 5K, and 10K routes, was a huge success, with 255 registrants, dozens of volunteers from the church and community, and many sponsors. Registrants received Elevate Kids T-shirts, swag bags, professional timing, online photographs, awards for all finishers, and special awards for each category and overall winners. The EK team is already planning a Second Fun Run for April 2023.

Naturally, the event had a special significance for Joel Reyes, principal of IAA, who volunteered at the run. For him, Elevate Kids Fun Run meant that “the community [was brought] together for an event like this, and the name of the school was associated with this.”

“It also meant support. I have a very supportive board chair this time, and this was very much his idea. The purpose of this is to start a junior academy in the Western Slope. That’s what we are fundraising and running and working for,” Joel added.

Representing Kids Aid was Tessa Kaiser, executive director. “The run shows the community support for Kids Aid. Doug and Melinda wanted to do something to challenge themselves and make it about more than just themselves. They put this together to support Kids Aid and their child’s school,” she commented.

“We are really grateful for that. And it really shows how much the community understands the need [to address] childhood hunger,” she added.

The Fun Run was not the first fundraiser the McCaws have organized. In July 2020, the McCaws ran the entire Colorado Trail (490 miles from Durango to Denver) in 18 days.  A documentary movie, “Chasing the Sky,” was created and seen by hundreds of people in local theaters. Proceeds from the film were split between IAA and Kids Aid.

In July 2022, the couple plans to rerun the Colorado Trail, attempting to break the fastest known time.  Another documentary of the run will be created, which will be shown in theaters, with proceeds going to IAA and Kids Aid.

“Helping the kids in our community is why we work so hard to raise funds and awareness for the kids in the Grand Valley. We want to give everyone in the community an opportunity to support the kids through our events,” Doug and Melinda said.

Dana Ñkaña is a member of the Grand Junction Adventist Church. For him, joining the run is supporting children’s education. “You know, we have two children, and I’m always looking for ways to where our children can be better than us,” he explained.

“I grew up in Africa [and] there was nothing like this to help us when I was a kid. And so, with the opportunities that I have being here in this country, I feel that I am basically able to help other people to get to where they want to be,” he shared.

After completing his 10K run, Dana put his award around the neck of David Klemm. A medical condition put David into a wheelchair. “I did this because David is a very good friend and I know his heart and his heart is with children. I know he currently volunteers to help children read. If he were able to be on two feet like I am, he would have been running,” Dana explained.

“And so, I run, and I gave him my award.”

If you are interested in supporting Elevate Kids and learning more about the organization or receiving updates on future events, sign up at elevatekids.org.

–Sandi Adcox is Grand Junction Adventist Church team member with Elevate Kids Run; Rajmund Dabrowski is editor of NewsNuggets. Photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and supplied





NewsNuggets: What does this event mean to you?

Doug McCaw: It means many different things and it is fun also.  First, [it gives us the opportunity] to help the school [Intermountain Adventist Academy] and Kids Aid. But also, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help the community, and also help grow Adventist education.

NN: What motivated you to do this event?

DMC: My wife and I have done the Colorado trail several different times. Um, actually three times, four times now. She was in a networking meeting and the guy was talking about not letting your butt get in the way of achieving your goals. After he said it several times, she made a decision. She came and told me, “Hey, I’d like to try to run the entire trail. Do you want to run this? And I said, “Sure, let’s do it.” We went out and started training and getting ready. And one of the things in our hearts was helping Intermountain Adventist Academy expand and grow. We’d like to see it have a 9th and 10th-grade program. And so, we said, “Hey, let’s, raise some money around that.”

NN:  Did you expect this event to have such an impact and participation?

Melinda McCaw: I expected that for this event. Doug and I thought we wanted to go big and so we set the goal of 200 to 300 people [to participate]. It was hard, at the beginning, to trust God that that was going to happen, but He definitely came through. At first, when we started, it was just the goal that we set.

We wanted to run the Colorado Trail because we biked it and ran it. Then I had the idea that I’d like to support the school and help them. We’re already running it. Why not make it about something bigger than us?

NN: What does the success of this event give you?

MCC: It makes me excited for the future. This project has grown way bigger than I ever expected it to. When we started out doing the run, we’re like, “We’ll just send out a letter campaign to friends and family and we’ll raise some money, and then we’ll be done.”

It turned out way bigger than that. If you could raise $20,000 or $25,000 in donations, just from that run. And then we made the movie and made money off of the showings. Our accountant said this is getting big enough. You need to make it a non-profit. We filed for that and we just got non-profit status two weeks ago. That was amazing and it was a God thing, too, because it [was granted] in three months.

NN: And you linked it with Kid’s Aid?

MMC: Originally, we were going to just support the school and then, when we hired our videographer, he asked if we could find something bigger, and [perhaps] national that would draw more attention to the cause. We started looking around and we didn’t find anything that really touched our hearts nationally. And then we asked our coach that we were trying to find something else to support. He used to be a teacher in public schools, so he told us about the backpack program.

He told us a story about one child. It was a Wednesday or Thursday and the kids would get the bags on Friday. If you’re not at school, you don’t get a bag. And this kid got sick and was super distraught and upset because he knew if he wasn’t back at school on Friday, he wasn’t eating that weekend. That’s how we found Kids Aid program and the story really touched our hearts. That’s how we decided we wanted to raise money for them.

NN: How do you find the church supporting these causes?

Doug McCaw: The church does a wonderful job with the community service center. And there are a lot of different [service] organizations by churches. But I don’t know of a church organization that does exactly what Kids Aid does.

15 Feb

Every Step is for The Kids

By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … Intermountain Adventist Academy’s (IAA) board chairman, Doug McCaw II, and his wife, Melinda, are passionate about helping children in the community. They live by the motto of helping kids one step at a time.

The McCaw’s are keenly aware of the need for Christian education, the need for food for school-age children, and the need to make a positive difference in children’s lives.

Out of this need, they created an organization, Elevate Kids, and partnered with IAA and Kids Aid, two local organizations that focus on children. IAA is expanding to include grades 9 and 10 next year; Kids Aid is known for the Backpack Program, which supplies food to hungry kids during the weekend gap.

In August 2020, the McCaws gained recognition by running the Colorado Trail (490 miles from Denver to Durango) in 18 days. Their adventure was documented in a movie, “Chasing the Sky,” that was seen by hundreds of community members in local theaters. Proceeds from the movie were split between IAA and Kids Aid.

What’s next for the couple? On April 10, Elevate Kids is hosting a community fun-run fundraiser to help children. This event is being planned for all levels of runners, with three distances (2.5K, 5K, and 10K) and opportunities to race for a reward or just enjoy an activity with friends and family.

“We want everyone in the community to have the opportunity to help the kids and enjoy a memorable experience. We plan to continue this fundraiser as an annual event,” said Doug.

Melinda added, “This run will be top-notch for participants and sponsors that partner with us.” The event will include professional timing, t-shirts, bibs, photographers, medals for participants, and rewards for the winners. The gathering is being recognized by the Grand Junction community as companies have begun to sponsor the upcoming event.

Church members are also donating financially to the event. “I’m always happy to support our kids.  This is a great cause,” said Karen Fishell, Grand Junction member.

If you would like to sign up for the event, please email [email protected].

–Sandi Adcox is Grand Junction Adventist Church team member with Elevate Kids Run; photo by iStock

20 Dec


By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … After a long absence of women’s ministry events, the Grand Junction Adventist Church held a Christmas evening for the women of the church and community on December 13.

The gathering, attended by 80 women, offered an opportunity to rekindle and make new connections while enjoying a catered Italian meal, delicious desserts, fellowship, and music.

Sandi Adcox and Sandy Carosella, Grand Junction women’s ministries leaders, felt that seeing ladies re-connect after a drought of group activities was the biggest blessing of the evening.

Reflecting on the event, Wendy Smith, an attendee, said, “The event created an atmosphere of laughter and a space to enjoy each other’s company.”

Members invited guests who had never before attended and several others came after an extended absence from church activities. The program showed Christmas from a child’s view and stressed the true biblical meaning of Christmas.

“The program stressed how to be positively contagious by living a life of joy, happiness, hope, and reflecting Jesus in our lives,” an attendee stated.

“This type of event is exactly what our church needs at this time,” Nate Skaife, Grand Junction pastor, said.

–Sandi Adcox is Grand Junction Church women’s ministries leader; photos by Sandi Adcox

13 Jan


By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … SAGE, the senior ministry of the Grand Junction church, is building relationships in the community by offering watercolor painting classes.

The small classes of 12 individuals have provided a safe way to gather during the pandemic.

Classes began in March of 2020 and are offered in four-week sessions. Many fill to capacity and there is often a waiting list of individuals wanting to learn how to paint with watercolors. The first class of 2021 has begun and the next session, scheduled to begin in February, is already maxed out with many on a waiting list.

Watercolor painting is popular among all generations.

“We were so glad the watercolor class was offered. It is both a social gathering where we are making new friends, and a way to challenge my brain in a new way,” Tina Ruf, who recently moved to Grand Junction, remarked.

The classes are taught by local artist and church member, Sandy Carolsella. Students of various skill levels learn the basics of watercolor artistry and each student completes several paintings. During some sessions, all students paint the same picture to learn a specific technique, but in most classes, they choose their own picture and receive individual assistance.

The current class has three community members not affiliated with the church attending the Monday sessions being held at the Grand Junction church.

–Sandi Adcox is senior ministry leader for Grand Junction church; photo supplied.

12 Jan


By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … The Grand Junction Seventh-day Adventist Church remains active during the ongoing pandemic with a variety of activities. Among them is a ministry for seniors, called SAGE.

In March of 2020, SAGE rolled out a new fitness program which quickly turned into a virtual wellness program after the pandemic made it difficult to meet in person. Designed to encourage individuals to “put their bodies in motion” and set personal goals, the program was introduced as a “challenge”; however, individuals did not challenge one another, but rather challenged themselves to become more active, and to improve mood and over-all wellness.

After the challenge ended in March, a group of six individuals decided to continue throughout 2020, accumulating approximately 11,000,000 steps, or 5,500 miles by the end of the year.

Eighteen individuals accepted the initial challenge in March, each armed with a pedometer or other movement-tracking device. Participants recorded their daily activity, and at the end of the month, submitted their totals. Collective achievements of the original group included climbing two 14-ers, one individual losing 10 pounds, doing hundreds of pull-ups and push-ups, lifting weights, accomplishing more than 50 hikes, painting fences, digging ditches, completing yard work, and a lot of walking and biking.

Participant Joan Ryan said, “My original personal goal was 6,000 steps a day, but I soon increased it to 10,000 steps. I feel so much better, and more stable since starting the challenge. I appreciate this program because it encourages me to keep moving.”

The Fitness Challenge will continue in 2021 at the request of participants who say it motivates, creates awareness, and makes them accountable for staying active.

–Sandi Adcox is senior ministry leader for Grand Junction church; photo by pixabay.

11 Jan


By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … With the Grand Junction church Christmas gathering being cancelled the senior ministry team (SAGE) decided to plan a Christmas light scavenger hunt in December sending members scrambling to locate light displays across the city.

Realizing the lack of social activity within the church for the last ten months, leader Sandi Adcox contacted team member Tina Ruff and said, “We still have time — let’s brainstorm.”

“Immediately, the Great Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt began developing. We decided the event would be open to all members of the church, and not restricted to just SAGE members,” Adcox reflected on the planning.

The event began on Thursday, December 17, when a list of 38 specific light displays and guidelines for the hunt was distributed via email. Participants had four days to complete the hunt and submit pictures.

To conclude the event on December 20, there was a drive-through finale at the church. Participants received decorative Holiday Goodie Bag which contained certificates of completion, a scripture relating to hope, a Christmas ornament, four recipes for Christmas breakfast dishes, hot chocolate packets and marshmallows, candy canes and chocolate candies.

Reflecting on the unique event, Taylor Mosby, a 16-year-old who won the Best Selfie award for posing with a unicorn and a “Joy” sign, said, “This was the most fun thing I’ve ever done, and we only missed two items on the whole list.  This was an awesome evening and the goodie bag was great!”

Dollie Bell, Grand Junction member commented, “We had such a great time with the Christmas Light scavenger hunt.  We’ve never looked at so many lights.  Thank you for this great idea, and the wonderful goodie bag was such a special treat.  It was such a fun evening.”

The following week, awards were given to winners including the certificates for finding the most items, the most creative selfie, the best light display, the best picture with Santa, the family with the most participants, and finding the most colorful house. In the end all the participants were recognized with award certificates.

“Following the successful event, plans are already developing for the next scavenger hunt, which will include a party and award ceremony following the event,” Adcox said.

–Sandi Adcox is senior ministry leader for Grand Junction church; photos supplied.