Pigs can fly at nonprofit
Impossibilities seem to check themselves at YouthZone’s front door, along with all the skepticism, negative attitudes and textbook excuses surrounding a challenge.When YouthZone executive director Debbie Wilde mentioned this year’s Kiss-n-Squeal target of $89,000, jaws dropped and astonishment quickly surfaced. “When pigs fly,” some of the candidates said in response to Wilde’s goal. Unbeknownst to them, soaring quietly above one of the windows in the YouthZone office hung a piglet.”In our mission and the work that we do, people sometimes think it’s impossible,” Wilde said. “Sometimes the things that we do seem fairly impossible, and yet things have happened over and over again. And when we reach that goal, not only is it a great accomplishment and a high for YouthZone, but the community gets to say, ‘Look what we did.'”In years past, the Kiss-n-Squeal contest raised nearly $140,000. The summer that the Coal Seam Fire raged through Glenwood Springs, locals supported YouthZone while simultaneously trying to support themselves in the midst of adversity. Memories of past contests has left Wilde wondering why this year should be any different.”It really sort of instills a spirit of possibility,” Wilde said. “We like that challenge, and it is so absolutely incredible how people can respond to a challenge and step up to the plate. People say, ‘Well wait a minute, I can make changes in my community.'”In his first year as a Kiss-n-Squeal candidate, Tom Regan said he’s never doubted the valley’s willingness to aid the youth.”I just have a lot of faith in this community, and I see a lot of good things happening around here,” Regan said. “I think we’re going to reach about 90 percent of the community.”As a nonprofit organization, YouthZone’s dependence on fund-raising always helped sustain its status in the community. Fund-raisers like the Kiss-n-Squeal contest continue to give locals a chance to see and experience the difference YouthZone makes in the lives of parents and kids.”In a way, it’s very visible for the community,” Wilde said. “People’s issues are confidential, and the community doesn’t have a chance to really stick their hands into the work of YouthZone.”Wilde said she really wanted people to recognize and understand what YouthZone has to offer, and to simply be aware of the nonprofit’s presence. “We want them to know that YouthZone is there for them,” she said. “We’re the place for parents and kids, and whatever situation they’re dealing with, and if we can’t help, we know who can.”Locals can get involved in the contest by giving their donations to candidates or by sending donations directly to YouthZone, volunteering or by bidding on the auction at the Web site, http://www.youthzone.com. As always, the candidate earning the most donations and votes will lock lips with one squealing pig at the Kiss-n-Squeal finale at 6 p.m. Aug. 4, at Two Rivers Park.
Abraham Baeza, banking officer with Alpine BankNancy Genova, dean of the CMC Roaring Fork Campus Tom Regan, self-employed glazierElli McKinley and Jessi Heitzman, 13-year-oldsSavanna and Josi Pearson, 11-year-oldsJennifer Mendoza, Senate Bill 94 state coordinatorPaul Freeman, principal at Glenwood Springs High School
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