Difference Maker: Hillary Higgins
Socks, Students, and Self Care! You might be wondering how the
se three things are related. First, let me introduce you to Hillary Higgins; she is a true local, unlike any other! Hillary grew up in Vail and graduated from BMHS. Hillary was not the typical high schooler; she did not just volunteer to pad her college resume. The passion for community service was instilled in Hillary from a young age by her parents. Throughout high school, Hillary was a part of the Reading Buddies Program at Meadow Mountain Elementary School, she volunteered at Special Olympics and participated in mission trips.
Serving the community everywhere she goes, Hillary took her guiding principle and purpose for community service to the University of Northern Colorado, where she received her Bachelors’s and Master’s Degree in Sociology. During undergrad, Hillary started a bilingual, multicultural language program for after school elementary students. She spent 3+ years running this program. Hillary’s giving back did not stop there. She then got involved in helping teenage gang members and their families at high schools in Greeley, CO; where she taught English as a Second Language to the whole family to help reduce high school truancy and build positive family dynamics. Next, Hillary helped start a Chicano Art Festival that grew from 40 people to over 400 people. Years later, these programs are still in place in Greeley, CO.
You may still be wondering where “socks, students, and self-care” come into this story. Self-care is one of the driving forces behind Hillary’s passion for helping others. Self-care can look different for everyone, so when Hillary learned last year that some students didn’t have access to hygiene supplies, she jumped into action. Hillary partnered with Red Ribbon Project, Mountain Youth, and other local organizations to help with the Hygiene Supply Drive. The Hygiene Drive received over $600 in cash/Venmo donations, and over ten community partners, churches & businesses placed collection bins in their offices. In just over six weeks, over 2,000 hygiene supply items were donated.
After finding out in 2020 that the most requested item from high schoolers in Eagle County was socks, Hillary started a sock drive, and in only a month, received $769 & over 200 pairs donated. People don’t realize there are homeless and underprivileged youth in Eagle County. Homelessness looks different here, which can include couch-surfing or living in a car. “Being from this community and knowing there are students in need just breaks my heart. I know this community is overflowing with many great, wonderful, generous people wanting to help, just not knowing how.”
Once the word got out, a multitude of community members reached out to help. Hillary met people in parking lots, received daily Venmo notifications, and had eleven bins full of socks. Days after the end of the drive, Hillary is still accepting donations. “The generosity in the community doesn’t stop.” Socks were dropped off at local schools and distributed throughout the community. If you are interested in donating, reach out to Hillary via email at Hillaryhiggins13@gmail.com or donate via Venmo to @Hillary-Higgins-6 (under “what’s this for” add Socks)
Hillary wants to thank her parents, Tom and Jackie Higgins, her siblings and their significant others, her boyfriend, Miguel Jauregui, and friends, the Vail Police Department & Communication Center, Eagle River Presbyterian Church, SmartWool, and all community members and partners who made this sock drive successful!
Kind-hearted, thoughtful, and hardworking are a few words to describe Hillary Higgins, and we are so thankful to have her continuing to make a difference in our community. Hillary mentioned that her motto is, “If we are going to lead, we need to leave a positive legacy.” If this is the start of her legacy, I can only imagine the enormous impact she will continue to add to her already glowing legacy.
Be on the lookout around Thanksgiving 2021 for the next community drive.