I love this time of year in Colorado. There is so much to do throughout the entire state – from road trips to the Western Slope, hiking and camping to planting a vegetable garden and attending the annual Parker Days festival in downtown.

This issue of Parker Lifestyle brought me great joy. Not only are we including landscaping tips and information about ways you can spend your summer days, but we’re also highlighting the giving nature of this community.

The individuals featured in this month’s articles make me proud to be a resident of Parker, where people truly care about their neighbors and want to give back in so many meaningful ways.  The youth, in particular, are a true inspiration.

Let’s start with all three public high schools. Inspired by the stories of two of their own and a 4-year-old, the students at Legend, Ponderosa and Chaparral high schools raised more than $95,000 in three short months for the Make-A-Wish Colorado, so that about a dozen total wishes can be granted. That is incredibly impressive.

But it doesn’t stop there. This issue also features some former high schools students who have returned to their schools to help coach the sports they participated in. And they say they are doing it because they want to give back and be a part of their high school communities.

Finally, we have the story of Christopher and Amy Smith, who repeatedly give back to the community in various ways, including August’s Urban Nights fashion show to benefit Urban Peak, which helps at-risk and homeless youth within the Denver and Colorado Springs areas.

When you are done reading about these fabulous people, please continue through the magazine’s pages to learn about the new features at this year’s Parker Days celebration, as well as suggested plants for xeriscapes and backyard privacy.