A new place for youth to get back on track

Alex Zorn

YouthZone ushered in a new era on Thursday as community members gathered for the official opening of the youth organization’s new building in downtown Glenwood Springs.

YouthZone, which provides youth programs, including diversion and support services in conjunction with law enforcement and the courts, hosted the grand opening of the new building at Ninth and Blake; the former Glenwood Springs Library location.

“My involvement with YouthZone started 40 years ago when I took my son to one of the first classes YouthZone offered,” Marci Pattillo, board president for the organization, said at the celebration. “I’m thrilled to be here with you.”

YouthZone officials hope the new space will serve as a Glenwood Springs base for future generations for years to come.

YouthZone Executive Director Lori Mueller said she thinks the new space will “offer us brand new opportunities that didn’t exist before.”

During the grand opening celebration, she called the process of acquiring, renovating and opening the new building a heartfelt community effort as community members across Garfield County donated time and money to see the project completed.

The organization purchased the building from the city of Glenwood Springs last year, providing 9,000 square feet on two floors for the organization to use.

While the cost of the building was around $900,000, according to Mueller, moving and renovation costs pushed the project to closer to $2 million. She said reaching that total was made possible only through community donations, which included $600,000 from the Garfield County commissioners.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said at the grand opening that he hopes YouthZone will spend another 100 years in the building. He explained that the commissioners invested in the project because they wanted to invest in the community.

“It’s an investment in our youth and community,” Jankovsky said. “YouthZone gives [kids] the opportunity to make amends.”

He said that he’s known kids who got in trouble, went to YouthZone and now have big families and are positive contributors to society.

YouthZone serves over 1,000 youth and families per year from Aspen to Parachute through support services like teen and family counseling, substance use education and intervention, Restorative Justice and more.

Research shows that less than one in 10 clients re-offend during their time with YouthZone, according to the organization, compared with a state recidivism rate of more than 25 percent.

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