YouthZone’s Pals Mentoring Program in Glenwood Springs and Aspen is rewarding for everyone involved

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – “Mentors put smiles in hearts,” reads the YouthZone webpage for the Pals Mentoring Program, just one of the many youth and family oriented programs the nonprofit provides the community.It’s also something that puts a smile on the face of Sarah Woods, a case manager for the Pals program and the Aspen YouthZone office.”The best part is working with the kids,” Woods said. “Connecting with them and seeing them grow and learn how to take ownership with their success through the program. … It’s also just a great place to work.”Woods oversees the youths’ progress through whatever program she decides would benefit them the most for whatever reason they came to YouthZone. Most often she sees youths through the Pitkin County Court. However, it’s her work with the mentoring program that really makes her smile.”Working directly with the mentors I get to see a lot of the changes happen in the kids,” Woods said. “To see the trust grow in these kids that may not have been able to trust anyone before is a great thing. It’s about showing up for the kids.”It’s what YouthZone is about: Showing up for the kids.

Woods has seen mentors grow from the experience, too.”I’ve seen a change in the mentors, too,” Woods said. “I’ve also had kids who were in the program that have come back to be mentors.”The cycle continues.She splits her time in Aspen and Glenwood Springs. She is currently managing about 18 youths through the court sentencing, and another 11 in the mentoring program. It’s a busy job with a lot of emotional attachment, but it’s a very rewarding position.

But it’s not always that easy.That’s where the Holiday Fund comes in. The Holiday Fund is here to assist organizations like YouthZone in raising money.”The funds help families that can’t afford the whole cost themselves,” said public relations coordinator Mary Jean Carnevale.In that respect, it’s the community who’s helping the program that helps the community. And from the comments that Woods has heard, she knows firsthand the support the communities valleywide give to YouthZone.”Just by the referrals we get from the community, we know that the community really trusts us,” Woods said. Smile included.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.