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Youth in Action Program

Youth In Action (YIA) 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 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. On the flip side, there is no better place to develop leadership and social skills than when serving as a mentor. 

Eligibility And Details

Mentors come from Salida Middle School and Buena Vista Middle School, and 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. 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!

Age: 7-18

Location: High School

Eligibility: Any Salida Resident

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How can I refer a teen to take one of the secondary prevention classes?
    Contact James Fenwick at
  • 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,
  • How often does Youth In Action meet?
    Once a week during the school year, Mondays in BV and Tuesdays in Salida
  • How is YIA 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.
  • What does the program consist of?
    The program is voluntary, but it requires your agreement to actively participate by establishing goals and working to achieve those goals. The case manager 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?
    No. Referrals are submitted to the program through Chaffee County Child Protection Services or other community organizations.

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."



Join a Youth in Action Program

Buena Vista YIA matches meet Mondays after school at The Grove. YIA staff provide transportation for the middle school students. Preschoolers are picked up at 5:30 pm and middle schoolers are picked up at 6:00 pm. 


Salida YIA matches meet Tuesdays after school at the Salida Early Childhood Center. Preschoolers are picked up at 5:30 pm and middle schoolers are picked up at 6:00 pm. YIA follows the school district calendars and observes the same snow days and holidays.

FYI Programs

As a community-driven organization, our programs meet those we serve where they're at for a widespread, positive change.


Learn, develop, and acquire valuable life skills. 


Healthy households are the foundation of thriving communities.


Create positive mentoring relationships.


Case management, service linkages, and community support.


Promote positive youth development and work towards long-term systemic change.


Prevention starts with listening.

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