Our Vision and Mission
Co-founders Elaine Menardi and Jess Buller are former educational leaders and teachers who have devoted decades to public school education in small rural towns. Recognizing the challenges of a rapidly-evolving future, they wanted to make a greater impact in the lives of young people by extending the walls of a school building, teaching students to become good stewards who use their gifts and talents to make the world a better place. Non-profit work was a natural evolution for them.
Elaine designs new and innovative out-of-school time programs that challenge students to rise above their limitations and excel in all areas of life. She believes education is the most valuable asset for young people, giving them hope for a better future. She is committed to making the future brighter for all.
Colorado AeroLab originated from the desire to do more for students. I want to serve them in a different way than traditional public education can. As a classroom teacher, I felt limited by curriculum standards and testing, with never enough time to explore real-world applications of what students were learning. Out-of-school time programs give our instructors greater freedom and flexibility to engage students’ passions and interests as well as reignite their own love of teaching young minds.
Elaine Menardi, Executive Director
Colorado AeroLab’s vision is to reach the child who hungers for purpose. Young people long to find meaning and purpose in their lives using their gifts and talents to solve the complex challenges facing humankind. We want to empower them with empathy and compassion to reach their highest potential and serve the world in their own unique ways.
Today, educators face unprecedented challenges at the intersection of academic knowledge and the Future of Work. Equipping students with the skillsets for 21st Century success is a vital mindset driving all our programs. We prepare future-ready students by building authentic relationships, teaching relevant academic content and mentoring young people with the professional skills they need for their careers.
Young people create social impact and change through multidisciplinary, problem-solving design challenges. Building leadership and empathy skills helps lead them to deeper community engagement and personal life success. We strive to harness their hunger for purpose and channel their skills into projects that make a difference for their local communities as well as the larger world.