This is the time of year when families without extra spending money feel the pain the most. Parents want to give children gifts but without enough resources, it’s impossible. That’s where the community gets to step in and help.

Heather Stough is the Programs Coordinator for the Vail School District. This time of year is one of her favorites because it is the time when she gets to partner with the Angle Tree project to raise money for families in Vail who need a little extra help during the holidays. Heather has used her role at the Vail School District to benefit the children she works with on a regular basis. She is instrumental in reaching out to the community for help. With her help, the program has increased its giving power and supported more members of the Vail community.

Now it’s your turn to learn more about Heather and her efforts. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently the Programs Coordinator for the Vail School District. That means that I get to be the district liaison to our community and the community liaison to the school district. I am fortunate enough to work with many groups in the district including our Student Services Coordinators, Wellness Coordinators and Volunteer Coordinators. In the community I work with with our Reading Heroes Program, United Way, our Religious Leaders and the Arizona Senior Academy. I also Co-chair the Vail Pride Day committee and one of my FAVORITE parts of my job is partnering with the community on our Angel Tree project.

2. What made you get involved with the Angel Tree in Vail?

Last year around this time I was chatting with our amazing Student Services Coordinators. These are the folks at each of our schools who truly support our students and families in need. They are also the staff members who help to identify the families that may need assistance during the holidays. The Student Services Coordinators shared with me that there were many families who needed help last year and they were having trouble finding enough support. I offered to reach out to the community to help.

3. Do you have a favorite story or memory from past years about this special program?

My favorite memory by far was being at the Chamber breakfast last December. I reached out to the members of the Greater Vail Chamber of Commerce one chilly, dark morning, and their generosity was beyond anything that our Student Services Coordinators could hope for! During one Chamber breakfast, $2,413 was raised which provided gifts for 45 Angels in our community. Feeling the true power of giving that morning brought not only myself to tears, but more than a few of the Chamber members as well. Santa came to many more homes in Vail thanks to the kindness of many of our local business owners.

4. What are your top 3 favorite things about Vail?

#1 – Our strong sense of community

#2 – The value that we put on education

#3 – The sunsets!

5. When you’re not working to support families in our area, what are some of your hobbies?

Well, 3 years ago I would have told you that yoga and reading were my hobbies. Since then, I have been blessed with two beautiful children, Maddy, who just turned 3, and Jackson who is 5 months old. They are my husband and I’s world!

6. Final question – Where can folks make a donation to the Angel Tree?

Feel free to contact myself if you would like to donate to Angel Tree.


Phone: (520) 879-3915

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Lucretia Free