Grants benefit pool, teen parent program |

Grants benefit pool, teen parent program

Staff Report

The Aspen Valley Community Foundation awarded $35,000 to the Let’s All Pledge campaign to build a swimming pool at the Glenwood Springs Community Center and $90,000 over three years to launch a school for teen parents in Parachute.

The community foundation awarded a total of $285,400 to 22 local nonprofit organizations.

“This is the push we needed in order to get our LAP grassroots campaign moved back up in the minds of our community,” said Terri Miller, spokeswoman for Friends of the Community Center.

The group faces a fund-raising deadline of June 30, imposed by the Glenwood Springs City Council because of spending deadlines for Community on the Move bond money already committed to the project.

More than $1.8 million of the $3.2 million needed for the pool had been pledged to date, Miller said.

The pool will include an eight-lane competitive lap pool, leisure and learn-to-swim areas, a play slide and a spa.

Highlights include a three-year grant of $30,000 per year to support the start-up of a new teen parent program in Garfield County School District 16. This year’s grant included $2,000 from the Marcie and Robert Musser Advised Fund and $500 from the Lynn Russell Advised Fund.

Pregnancy rates for teens 13 to 17 in Garfield County rose from 9 percent to 14 percent between 1990 and 2000.

Teen parents can attend Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, but the program is filled to capacity with 25 pregnant or parenting teens and their babies.

In 2002, there were 17 teen mothers in Parachute and 23 in Rifle, and only five attended the Yampah program.

“Due to the travel barrier and capacity limits, many of our students are not able to take advantage of the Yampah Teen Parent Program in Glenwood Springs,” said Rhonda Dillon, coordinator for curriculum with the Garfield County School District 16. “We saw the need in our community for a similar program so these young mothers can continue and complete their high school education.”

Students in the program also receive parenting education and their babies attend accredited early childhood programs right next door. Mother and child spend time together throughout the day, ensuring healthy attachment.

“The opportunity to work with Tom Heald, principal at Yampah, and his staff to create a similar program based on Yampah’s successful model will eventually benefit all of Garfield County,” said Dillon. “The program will have a long-lasting affect by allowing teen parents to finish high school education and break the cycle of teen parenting.”

A complete list of grant recipients will appear in a later edition of the Post Independent.

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