YouthZone column: YouthZone supports our most precious assets — our children and families |

YouthZone column: YouthZone supports our most precious assets — our children and families

Alexander Williard

At YouthZone, our mission is to provide a safe environment that promotes self-discovery for our community’s youth. It’s our belief that strong communities are built upon the foundations of empowered families. Our credo at YouthZone is that every daughter, son, student and friend deserves the tools necessary to develop healthy relationships, creating a sense of unity throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

The reality, sadly, is that our culture has been tricked into embracing casual judgment. Often times we take to focusing on the brand names that divide us and the social structures that group us, rather than looking for the common threads that connect us. For better or worse this has become the national standard down to community levels. Fortunately, like our youth, we are still improving upon our own ability to empathize. Embracing a more forgiving mindset, free of our own self-criticism, allows continued growth in healthy directions. If we expect to hold our youth at that same standard, however, we must look upon them free of judgment, regardless of their history. It’s our responsibility, as community members, to extend this deeper level of loving respect to our neighbors. By doing so, we aid the ever-present cycle of care.

This is why at YouthZone our experienced counselors offer a variety of comprehensive programming tailored to your child, or student’s, specific needs. The family-focused approach of individual and group counseling sessions provides safe environments that encourage emotional exploration. Additionally, YouthZone connects clients to mentorship opportunities, which offer other ways to supplement our onsite programs. Thankfully the continued support from organizations, like The Aspen Community Foundation, help fund a portion of these programs. If you’ve considered becoming a sponsor, now is the best time to support programs that directly benefit our youth.

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to the community for allowing us to continue supporting Colorado’s most precious assets — our children and families. Next time you think “positive youth development,” think YouthZone, because personal growth shouldn’t be stigmatized.

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Alexander Williard is an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer.

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