Youth support program moving office to Parachute

Alex Zorn

YouthZone director Lori Mueller embraces two young youthzone advocates Jessica Lee and Eli Sweeterman at the ground breaking ceremony in the new Youthzone building located at the old Glenwood Springs Library.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Garfield County Coalition for Families, a multi-agency collaborative focused on supporting families and their needs, will be moving out of the Rifle YouthZone office this summer into a new spot at the Garfield District 16 family resource center. 

YouthZone’s Amanda Longhurst, who will be taking over as the executive director of Garfield County Coalition for Families on July 1 when the move is complete, said that over the years the program has helped many families and youth who are at risk. 

Her role as the coalition’s family support partner has been to walk alongside the youth to see what exactly they are facing and determine what resources are best for them. 

“We are not an agency that tells people what to do,” she said. “We listen to find out what the family needs are.”

She said this may include attending court hearings or attending meetings with different agencies and departments across the county to see where the problems are for the youth and family to prevent them from continuing.

Longhurst said the partners in the program — which include local school districts, YouthZone, health professionals, judicial members and others — all collaborate and work together to support the families and their needs. 

YouthZone Executive Director Lori Mueller said the organization’s mission is to support healthy families as the Coalition for Families program offers an intensive, long-term way to do just that. 

The coalition works to support families by collaborating with all the community partners to ensure effective problem solving and decision making as well as shared authority, responsibility and accountability to create mutually beneficial relationships. 

It brings everyone involved in the child’s and family’s lives to the table, including health professional, teachers and YouthZone administrators. 

Mueller said the move to the Garfield 16 family resource center would provide a better set up for Garfield County families as the school district has more resources available to it, including the option to bill to Medicaid. 

She added that even though the Parachute location will be less centralized for Garfield County families, accessibility won’t be an issue.

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