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Youth in Action

Youth In Action is a unique program in Chaffee County that provides an opportunity for middle school students and preschool students to be matched together while developing literacy, social emotional, and leadership skills. YIA matches in Salida and BV meet once a week after school and focus on relationship-building, reading, learning about the community, and playing. 

Cultivating Literacy & Leadership

Youth in Action is a program that has been in our community since 2006, and was inspired by the idea that kids enjoy and see great benefits when they have the opportunity to learn from their peers. Middle schoolers are in a great position to mentor preschool children, particularly as it relates to literacy and social-emotional skills. There is also no better place to develop leadership and social skills than when serving as a mentor. 

Middle School Mentor Eligibility

Mentors come from Salida Middle School and Buena Vista Middle School. Applications open in the fall through the schools, and the program runs throughout the school year's calendar. Participants are only accepted once per year during the application process.

Sometimes kids learn better from other kids, and that’s the whole idea behind Youth in Action. If you would like to see your middle schooler’s leadership skills, social skills, patience, and empathy grow this school year, this program is for you!

Location: Chaffee County

Eligibility: Salida & BV Middle school students

Preschool Mentee Eligibility

Preschool mentees come from the Salida Early Childhood Center and The Grove. Applications open in the fall, and the program runs with the school year's calendar. Participants are only accepted once per year during the application process.

Sometimes kids learn better from other kids, and that’s the whole idea behind Youth in Action. If you would like to see your preschooler’s social skills, interest, and skill in reading improve, this is the program for you.

Age: 3-5

Location: Chaffee County

Eligibility: Students at The Grove or Salida Early Childhood Center

  • I'm looking for more information on Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) or Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT). Who do I contact?
    For the TND and MRT classes, contact Elisia Parham at
  • I'm worried about the safety of a youth I know. Should I contact you?
    If it is a question of the youth safety, please call the child welfare hotline at 844-Co-4-Kids
  • I'm interested in learning more. How do I get in touch?
    Reach out to James Fenwick at or contact us through the form at the bottom of this page.
  • I'm 20 years old. Do I still qualify for any of your programs?
    Most of our programs and funding sources support youth up to their 21st birthday. Reach out to James Fenwick at for more details.
  • What will I be doing in the program?
    Although Community Partnership for Families is a voluntary program, it will require your active participation in establishing goals and working to achieve those goals. FYI's staff will assist by supporting your efforts and meeting on a regular basis to encourage and connect you with the resources you need to be successful.
  • Can my family participate without a referral?
    It depends, though almost all families participating were referred to the program through Chaffee County Child Protection Services or other community organizations. For more information, contact Donna Golden at
  • How often does Youth In Action meet?
    Once a week during the school year, Mondays in BV and Tuesdays in Salida
  • How is Youth In Action funded?
    Youth In Action is funded through a number of different sources. Prevention work is important to our local county government, which supports our program. Many of the dollars for direct program operations come from grants and community donations.
  • What do matches do when they meet?
    Matches have the ability to determine what they want to do when they meet, and it can vary from week to week. Some examples of match activities include; hiking, biking, cooking, baking, arts and crafts, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, reading, watching movies, gardening, reading, lawn games, etc. You get the idea; the sky is the limit!
  • How often do matches meet?
    Matches are encouraged to meet once a week for two to three hours on average.
  • How are Chaffee County Mentors funded?
    Prevention work is important to our local government too, which therefore supports our program. Many of the dollars for program operations come from grants and community donations.
  • I want a mentor. How do I apply?
    Just fill out the Mentee Application Form and someone will reach out to you! If you want to nominate a youth to be paired with a mentor, fill out the Mentee Nomination Form.
  • I'm in! How do I apply?
    Fill out a Mentor Application Form, and send the Mentor Reference Form out to three references!
  • What if I’m a mentor and am going to be gone for a couple of weeks?
    For prolonged time away, program staff can jump in and spend time with your mentee-remember, we like to think young people are fun to hang out with too! Also, thanks to technology, even when you are away for an extended time, you can still maintain contact.
  • I'm in middle school. Can I join a teen council?
    Unfortunately, at the moment we do not have a middle school council. Feel free to still reach out, and we will make sure to get you connected to a teen council when you begin high school!
  • How does a teen join the youth council in Salida or BV?
    Simply come to one of the standing meetings 1x week at the Salida or Buena Vista High School - always accepting new members. Contact: Dibby Olson,
  • What is your focus as a coalition?
    Our focus is on promoting youth health in Chaffee County, particularly "upstream" prevention efforts. Much of the focus in the past six years has been on addressing statistically high rates of underage substance use.
  • Can I join CCYA?
    As a community-based coalition, CCYA is open to anyone from the community who wants to participate. Reach out to us through the contact form below, and we can get you connected.
  • Where do you meet, and how often?
    CCYA alternates meetings between Salida and Buena Vista, meeting every other month.

Join Us

Contact Kelsey Leva, or 719-530-2584 to learn more about our Youth In Action Program.

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Testimonials & Impact

"Kayleigh loved YIA. She talks about her big kid all the time. She's become more outgoing, happier, and just all around a great, spirited kid that now has less fear of doing things." 

"This (YIA) is an excellent outlet for Radana's compassion and desire to work with young children. She has learned a lot about how to mentor youth, compromise, and negotiation."

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