Carol Dobbs is one of those special people who inspire others just by being herself.
Born and raised in Kansas City, KS, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. “They offered one of the top programs in the country,” she pointed out.
She moved to Evanston, IL where she taught children with physical and learning disabilities. “Most schools separated these students into different schools. I knew mainstreaming was the future.” Typical of Carol, who always has time for others, she stopped to explain completely. “The children with physical disabilities had normal IQs.” Working with these special children was greatly fulfilling to her. “They taught me as much as I taught them.”
Carol “was always interested in the medical aspects of learning,” she explained. She wanted to go to med school but sometimes life puts you on a different path. In Carol’s case, it was meeting and marrying her husband, Greg and then finding themselves living abroad while Greg worked as a foreign correspondent for ABC News. They lived in London for five years and Paris for four. Her two sons, Jason and Alex were born abroad.
“It was a great opportunity to live out of the country. You learn about our own country; things are done differently.” In Paris, she taught and diagnosed children with disabilities at Marymount International School. “There were a number of kids who were thought to be normal kids, but when I tested them I found they were really gifted.” She noted that working in two (or more) languages created a great challenge for the students. “The French had a different approach to education. “I don’t think that system found special needs like ours did.”
When they returned to Colorado, Carol worked as an Education Specialist at Fletcher/Miller for seven years and later, at Bergen Elementary. “I did a lot of oral work, using humor. I was teaching them to read and speak. There were six kids who were considered non-verbal.” With Carol’s dedication and kindness, all six learned to speak.
Carol taught for a total of 30 years. Today, she still misses teaching. “There was a lot that I loved: the creativity, working with the kids and their family.” She enthusiastically added, “And I loved teaching regular fourth grade. We studied Colorado history, Africa, Japan, earth science…”
Today she has a full calendar. “I have drawn with Tom Ware (who holds a class for both drawing and sculpting each week) since I moved here. I started with Tom the first month and started sculpting the last years while I was still teaching.” (On one of their first meetings, she and Ware found their common ties to Kansas City. It didn’t take long before they discovered that Ware’s good friend, Mort Walker, author of the famous and beloved Beetle Bailey cartoon, was Carol’s uncle.) Carol guards this time not only for the artistic experience but also for the friendships she has built.
Carol’s love of art goes far beyond her own impressive artistic talent. “There wasn’t an art center when we moved here in 1986. Everywhere I’d been there had been an art center.” So, she joined the Evergreen Area Council of the Arts. “It was made up of all the arts groups; there were two children’s theaters.” Today Carol serves on the Center for the Arts Evergreen board, Capital Campaign, and Long Range Planning Committee. She is a founding member and served on the board of Art for the Mountain Community (recently renamed Sculpture Evergreen) for 11 years. Carol also was involved in forming the Arts in the Schools program and Artist in Residence that continue in the local schools today. “It’s so hard for our kids to go find culture; so, we bring culture into the schools.” The program encourages students to bring art into their lives through other local art opportunities.
Carol believes that all non-profits benefit by having new people serve on their boards. “I can be a big supporter and I can attend events without serving on the board. Because Evergreen is not incorporated, our community is really run with the efforts of non-profit organizations. It’s a great way to know a variety of people. There are wonderful people here.”Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Carol knows that she is definitely one of them.