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Steamboat Magazine

Little Givers Make a Big Impact

06/29/2023 07:00AM ● By Kaitlyn Kinshella
(The Little Givers work on a spring project to gift plants to teachers, friends and neighbors. Photo by Dustin Trider.)

From Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2023.

A small cup of coffee can make a big difference. When Stephany Traylor opened her Steamboat Springs coffee shop, Dusky Grouse, she knew that she wanted to brew beans alongside connection and community. Now, nearly two years since its opening, many of Stephany’s customers see Dusky Grouse in the same light as she does: a space that does so much more than serve lattes. 

Stephany has created a business that gives back to the community in many forms, including offering a safe and sober place for people and nonprofits to gather and connect. And now she wants to pass her expertise to the next generation. Last January she started Little Givers, a group of 4-12 year-old children who – with help from their parents – complete volunteer projects each week. Their altruistic tasks have ranged from raising money for LiftUp Routt County by cleaning bikes to volunteering for the Thanksgiving dinner at the Community Center.

It doesn’t matter to Stephany what Little Givers does each month, as long as the kids are intentional with their giving. During their group gatherings, she teaches them this hopeful message through fun and thoughtful children’s books from the Moniker Foundation. In the books, a superhero brother/sister duo urges readers to donate their time, talent and treasure to a cause that is important to them. 

And what is important to Steamboat’s youth? At this point, Stephany says, many of them want to help puppies, kittens, fairies and their families. But she encourages them to think outside their immediate friends and family. One of her favorite projects has been writing thank-you cards for service workers in town. 

(Charlie Traylor, 6, replants a spider plant during a spring Little Givers meeting. Photo by Dustin Trider.)

“My kids wrote a thank-you card for a bagger at City Market,” Stephany says. “He lit up when he got the card. It was amazing to see his reaction and then my kids’ reaction to his reaction.”

Just like a tiny shot of her strongest espresso, Stephany recognizes that kids are powerful. Her goal of showing them how to use that power to make positive changes seems to be working. “My five-year-old has become more mindful of his actions and impact,” shares Shelly Wu, a local mother whose son started picking up trash left behind, putting the correct items in the recycling, making cards for others and expressing more gratitude since he started Little Givers. 

Eventually, Stephany hopes to spread more actions of kindness by getting Little Givers into Steamboat’s school system. In her vision, all students would log into the Little Givers website to find out what the weekly project is. Then they would dedicate time together as a class to complete that volunteer assignment.  

But for now, Stephany and her crew of Little Givers will continue to brighten someone’s day while strengthening the community. “In a community that is so small and tight, you can actually see the difference you make,” she says.

If you would like your child to join Stephany and her crew in making a difference, check out the monthly plan on her website As Stephany firmly believes, even a small gift – whether it be a child volunteering or a quick conversation over a cup of Joe - can go a long way in our town.