YouthZone will kiss fund-raiser goodbye – until next year
Ali Paine, 17, would be happy to sing for any audience, but when she found out she’d perform at YouthZone’s Kiss-n-Squeal finale, she really got excited.To Ali, singing for the nonprofit’s fund-raiser finale next week is a reminder of how YouthZone changed her life.”It’s much more than an organization that helps kids get through mistakes,” Paine said. “It does help you get through whatever you got into, but it really helps you shine.” In 2001, when Ali got in trouble experimenting with alcohol as a minor, the people at YouthZone never yelled at her. They didn’t point fingers or belittle her, either. Instead, they built her up and helped her see the good inside herself.In fact, YouthZone opened Ali’s eyes to a whole community willing to help her understand more about herself and how to make better choices. In the end she realized her decisions affect more than just herself; they extend all the way to her neighbors. “YouthZone just turned it into a really positive experience,” Ali said. “They recognize that you made a mistake, and they don’t pound you for it. Instead, you learn so much about the community and what it means to be a part of it and give back to it rather than take from it.”To April and Don Paine, the lessons their daughter learned from YouthZone are what make it such an integral part of the Roaring Fork community.”That’s reason enough to support it,” Don Paine said. “It benefits everyone, not just a select group of kids who might get into some trouble.””Not every community is lucky to have a safety net for second chances,” April Paine said. “We’re really lucky to have an organization to help people make better choices.”Recognizing that every community has people pushing the limits and crossing boundaries, the Paine family understands that if it weren’t for those people in the community, YouthZone couldn’t exist. But April said YouthZone also can’t exist without people continuing to support it. That’s why participating in YouthZone’s Kiss-N-Squeal contest is so important, she said.”This is a real gem, and it deserves any kind of support people can give it,” April said.With a week left in the contest, participants have raised $20,147, and still have a ways to go in reaching the $89,000 goal. Locals can get involved by giving their donations to candidates or by sending donations directly to YouthZone, volunteering, or bidding on http://www.youthzone.com.The Kiss-n-Squeal contest will give the Paine family an opportunity to give back to the organization. Using their musical talents, Don and April Paine members of the Last Minute String Band, and children Ali and Trevor, will perform at the Kiss-n-Squeal finale on Aug. 4 at Two Rivers Park. Until then, the Paines encouraged others to support the organization.”Every single person that I’ve ever contacted at YouthZone has more than just a job that they go to,” April said. “There’s a heart for every kid that walks through that door and it’s pretty phenomenal.”ContestantsNancy Genova$5,044Josi and Savanna Pearson $4,052Elli McKinley and Jessi Weitzman$3,582Abraham Baeza$3,525Tom Regan$2,371Paul Freeman$967Jennifer Mendoza$606Total $20,147Goal $89,000Countdown is seven days to go
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