Things have really gone ‘to the pigs’ at YouthZone |

Things have really gone ‘to the pigs’ at YouthZone

Mary Jean Carnevale
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Does it seem to you like things have gone “to the pigs” at YouthZone? Well, they have. It is the time of year when YouthZone holds its annual Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser. The time of year when you are being asked to donate to YouthZone. With so many organizations seeking donations, you might ask yourself, “Why YouthZone?”

This is the same question I received from a YouthZone board member at a recent juvenile district court docket. The board member was attending court to watch the process and before court began he said, “Why does YouthZone need to be here?”

In the next 3.5 hours of court, YouthZone was called upon by the judge, district attorney’s office, Department of Human Services, probation office, law enforcement, public defender’s office, private attorneys and parents. Everyone asking for YouthZone’s help.

Help for the 17-year-old who was burglarizing cars. The 13-year-old who had allegations of sexual assault. The 10-year-old who was involved in a school fight. The 15-year-old who continued to run away. The 16-year-old who was choosing gang involvement over family. All young lives with potential to be successful, contributing members of our community – but young lives taking a wrong road and needing a direction back.

Why YouthZone? I sometimes ask myself that question. Then I find myself in a police station in the middle of the night on a crisis call seeing tears, hurt, pain and hopelessness. Listening to parents plea for help to bring back their happy, fun child that has been lost to drug use or criminal behavior.

Why YouthZone? Ask the 15-year-old who brought in her friend who was contemplating suicide. The 28-year-old who stopped in with his son to visit the people at YouthZone that had helped him at age 11. The police officer seeking direction on how to handle a juvenile matter. The grandparent looking for answers to raise her grandchildren. The 13-year-old who wrote, “I wanted to be a drug dealer when I grew up. But, YouthZone helped me see things differently. I now want to be successful and help people, and I know I can.”

As I walk away from crisis calls and the daily routine at YouthZone, I am always reminded “Why YouthZone.” YouthZone is the place where people find hope and help. It is the place where kids and families feel safe and listened to. At YouthZone every person receives the assistance they need to build on their strengths and be successful.

By the time the court docket ends or a family leaves YouthZone, there is no longer a question of “Why YouthZone?” Instead one has to ask, “What would we do without YouthZone?”

When you give to YouthZone’s Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser you are giving to your future. Your donation is helping to build safer neighborhoods and healthier communities. You are buying smiles for young lives and happiness for families.

Go to to learn more about our pig-kissing fundraiser or send in your donation to YouthZone, 803 School Street, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.

– Mary Jean Carnevale, is YouthZone Events Coordinator

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