Children need to understand that the realities of violence are heartbreaking |

Children need to understand that the realities of violence are heartbreaking

Evan Zislis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I recently attended the Colorado Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) Conference in Breckenridge. For the better part of a week, I listened to account after horrific account of what happens when ordinary people become victims of violent crime. I am grateful to know that extraordinary people working for dedicated agencies locally and across the state exist specifically to provide some measure of sanctuary, support and consolation for people facing imminent danger, horrific tragedy and profound loss. Hearing the actual accounts from the victims themselves brings the unimaginable to life – and home like nothing I’ve experienced before.

I am not an alarmist or a sensationalist. Nor do I mean to be melodramatic in my tone. But please help your children to understand that the violence on television, in movies and on video games is real. Off screen, when people experience violence, the realities are heartbreaking. Sexual predators preying on the children in our neighborhoods over the Internet are not mythical – they are real. Victims of relentless domestic abuse live in fear this very moment, and they live on your street. Despite the myriad of state statutes, federal laws, and civil servants out there protecting us, countless individuals and their families become victims of crime almost every minute of every day; many of them live right here.

I recently heard that national rates of violent crime are down again for the third year in a row – a lovely sentiment, but not enough to quell the local, state and national need for victims’ advocates, battered women’s shelters, SANE nurses, and grant monies to support agencies supporting victims of crime. State statute requires that every judicial district in the Colorado appoint a Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) Board. The sole purpose of that board is to grant monies collected from court fees and fines to help aid victims of crime and the local agencies who support them. In the last three years, the 9th Judicial District VALE Board awarded approximately one million dollars to local organizations tirelessly working to support local victims of crime. As one of five voting members of the 9th Judicial District’s VALE Board, I am honored to support the agencies whose tireless efforts make a real difference when people need them most.

Serving over 1,000 young people every year, YouthZone has been quietly working behind the scenes from Aspen to Parachute supporting young people and their families. Whether through juvenile diversion court case management, restorative justice programs, teen discussion groups, substance abuse prevention classes, school-based programming, one-on-one counseling, or family mediation, YouthZone understands what it takes to support your community and they have been doing it since 1976. As the manager of YouthZone’s Aspen to Carbondale division, I am so proud to know that YouthZone understands the important impact our local VALE Board has on the communities we hope to serve.

For more information on YouthZone’s programs and services or to learn more about the VALE Board, call Evan Z. at YouthZone’s new Carbondale headquarters at 970.963.0618 or visit us online at

– Evan Zislis, Division Manager (Aspen-Carbondale) and Community Outreach (970) 948-7283

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User