By Kirsten Love
Family & Youth Initiatives has reached a milestone by serving Chaffee County with evidence-based prevention programs for 15 years, thanks to the help and support of our community members. Fifteen years, people! If it weren’t for COVID, we would have blasted this news far and wide in our signature loud, colorful and fun-loving style. Instead, we’re celebrating more quietly.
But I’m OK with quiet, as I’m going through my office items, packing to move across the hallway to our new digs for the mentoring team as FYI spreads out. I’m reflecting on all that’s happened at FYI and my eight years here. Over the years, FYI has grown and we’re taking up a larger footprint. I’m pulling out things I haven’t seen in a while, including an old scrapbook, photos and a Youth at the Crossroads hat that represents a program that has evolved and been renamed. I’ll likely pass this hat along to a coworker, working within youth programing now.
Many things have changed in 15 years. Staffers have moved through, leaving imprints of their personalities and visions. Funding streams have shifted, and we’ve had to make a number of adjustments. We’ve endured state budget cuts, then the county rallied behind us with financial support. Meanwhile, our community of supporters has become even more robust, allowing us to keep moving along with our work, serving more families.
After COVID, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of people interested in becoming mentors, although we do need more. Trusted adults have really shown up, wanting to volunteer. This warms my heart. And I’ve come to realize that I enjoy working with mentors and mentors-to-be as much as I like working with mentees.
As I settle into my new desk in my new space, I’m excited for the next 15 years here at FYI. I’ll be happy to know more families and work more closely with my team. Whatever is to come, whatever will happen, I say, bring it! I’m ready.
Kirsten Love, LCSW, is a Youth Program Coordinator and OBH Grant Project Coordinator. Kirsten can be reached at email@example.com or 719.530.2584.