| Andrew Miller

Celebrating our partners at the 2021 CI Happy Hour!

“Awesome things happen when you get awesome people together.” -Ford Church

If there were a guiding philosophy that underlies everything we do here at Cottonwood Institute, that might just be it; from students to instructors and partners to donors, this past year has only reinforced that CI’s strength truly lies in its people. So when we sat down to plan our first event of 2021, we knew we wanted to celebrate all the folks that make CI, well, CI!

On Thursday evening, friends from across our community got together for our inaugural Virtual Partner Happy Hour — a night of exclusive beer tasting, community connections, stylish vests, cheesy puns, and even a sighting of the ever-elusive Great Divide Yeti.

CI Happy Hour Beer Tasting


To kick off our evening, our partners at Great Divide led us in a tasting of one of their newest brews, a smooth and drinkable low-ABV IPA. With our cups full and our palates cleansed, we shared in a toast to moments of joy from and heard from our instructors about the big wins with their students—you can check out our program highlights here!

To close out the night, we honored our partners and instructors for their amazing work with our first annual “Best of the Vest” awards. The awards gave us a chance to celebrate the incredible impact and deep dedication of the people that touch our work here at CI. Meet the winners below and watch the show on our YouTube channel!

The “Outstanding Community Service” Award to Ken Knoblock on behalf the teams at Re:Vision Westwood and Lifespan Local for their no-cost grocery program

The “Super Connector” Award to Angela Myers of Thorne for helping make so many of our Lafayette programs possible

The “Partner Most in Need of a Beer” Award to Jared Mazurek on behalf of Cal-Wood Education Center for surviving a pandemic, a wildfire, and new fatherhood in 2020

The “Most Passionate Student Advocate” Award to CI Instructor Erin Angel for always putting her students’ needs first

The “Count on Me” Award to Mr. Curtis at AXL Academy for being a dependable partner to CI and a consistent advocate for our programs

The “Level Up” Award to Rachel Brett and Jackie Curry at Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, in celebration of our new collaborative program, the Youth Stewardship Internship Corps

The “Going the Distance” Award to CI Instructor Adam Fedyski for going the (literal and figurative) extra mile to serve his students

The “Lifetime A-Sleevement” Award to Kirk Quitter and New Vista High School, partners of CI for more than 17 years!

The “Best of the Best of the Vest” Award to a number of very stylish attendees for rocking their best vests to the event

What do you call an alligator wearing a vest? An investiGATOR. – Martin Ogle

Thank you to everyone that came out to make our Happy Hour a space of joy and connection— we’re so glad to be your partners, and we’re excited to deepen our impact alongside our community! Thanks also to the sponsors of this event: Agency Off Record, Megastar Financial, and Great Divide Brewing Co.

Written by CI Instructor Chelsea Tossing

See more photos from the event here!

Categories: Angevine Middle School, AXL Academy, Centaurus High School, New Vista High School, Re:Vision, Updates, Youth Stewardship Internship

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