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FYI, 15 years strong, but what is it?



Family & Youth Initiatives is 15 years old this year! As we celebrate and shout from the rooftops, it becomes painfully apparent that not everyone knows what FYI is. For many residents, Chaffee County Mentors had put us on the map with all the activities we do with youth in our community. And connecting amazing youth with awesome adults is only part of what we do.

Allow me to explain. FYI is a unique prevention division, housed under the Chaffee County Department of Human Services. Yes, DHS is the place for food stamps or SNAP, Medicare/Medicaid, employment assistance, child support enforcement, adult protection and child welfare. The professionals who help community members when they need a boost also has FYI and its programs, including Mentors, Parenting and youth classes, teen groups, community collaboration (Chaffee County Youth Alliance) and individualized case management.

We are under one roof. We are all part of FYI, unified in solidarity with one intention, “to provide evidence-based prevention programs to promote safety, health and self-sufficiency among Chaffee County youth and families.”

A little bit of background about us. Chaffee County Mentors, started by Miki Hodge in 2002, and the Nurturing Parenting Program, started by Jane Whitmer in 2003, joined forces. Meanwhile, Patti LaTaille, was running Youth at Crossroads in 2004 joined Jane and Miki. In 2005 Arden Trewartha and Susan Bristol working with Build a Generation (BAG) coordinated bringing in a consultant to assess the county’s resources. The result of the assessment was for certain programs serving families and youth often connected with the Department of Human Services (DHS) all come together under one roof with the County. In 2007, FYI found its place under DHS, where it still exists today.

Besides county funding, FYI is 85 percent grant funded. Just last year, FYI served more than 920 youth and families in Chaffee County. And Chaffee County is committed to keeping FYI up and running

Because of COVID, FYI did not offer a fund-raiser this year or last. Instead, FYI has quietly asked for private donations to fill the gaps that the grants and county funding do not cover. If you are able to donate, please visit our website at https://www.chaffeecountyfyi.org/

Kirsten Love, LCSW, is a Youth Program Coordinator and Grants Project Coordinator. Kirsten can be reached at klove@chaffeecounty.org or 719.530.2584.

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