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Colorado Gives Day, in perspective of a local non-profit

The YouthZone staff receiving a donation from Alpine Bank, 2023
Courtesy image
The YouthZone staff receiving a donation from Alpine Bank, 2023

Colorado Gives Day is tomorrow, and nonprofits all around the state have been getting ready. KDNK reporter Lily Jones spoke to Ali Naaseh (Ally Nah-say), the Deputy Development Director at YouthZone in Glenwood Springs to find out where these funds go and how they are being used. Naaseh is responsible for fundraising, and data collection, with unique insight into this day of giving.

"Naaseh: Colorado Gives Day is really just a way to highlight non profits around the state that are doing critical work and encourage people to divert that funding that they may have that they're trying to figure out what to do with at the end of the year towards causes that are going to make a huge difference in someone's life.

Jones: YouthZone is described on their website as a family first non profit. As a diversion and advocacy program for at risk children and teenagers, they currently support over 1, 000 youth across the Western Slope. Like many non profits, they are reliant on the generosity of citizens and institutions alike.

Naaseh: Most of the kids that come to YouthZone are coming to us from the court. The court will usually say, if you can complete a YouthZone program, we'll give you the opportunity to drop your charges. So they come to us. We only charge them 150. That's the only cost that they incur. And from their first visit, we provide on average about 2, 000 worth of services. We offer them life skills classes, case management, substance use classes, counseling, coaching, mental health services, basically whatever, whatever our assessment. We get a lot of money from state grants and local governments. And then we just fundraise for the rest of it. Our goal this year is 50, 000, which I think is the same as our goal last year.
50, 000 can go a few different ways. Like, that would pay for the initial 150 cost for 330 clients. And to put it in perspective, last year was About 500 clients all together, so that would go really toward offsetting the cost for as many families as we could. Um, there's a lot of families that we work with that are low enough income that 150 is a challenge for them. And then another way to think about 50, 000 would be you could pay for the entirety of one of our programs to keep the staff employed.

Jones: Naaseh says, the spirit of giving is also in volunteering. Youth Zone is always looking for volunteers who want to offer support to parents and kids who want to offer support to their peers. Naaseh reports that around 15% of youth zone clients are community members coming in of their own volition to ask for assistance. Anyone interested in learning more can visit youth zone.com or Coloradogives.org. For KDNKNews, I'm Lily Jones."

Lily Jones is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a concentration in Broadcasting and Digital Journalism. At WMSV, MSU's college radio station, Jones served as the Public Affairs and Social Media Coordinator.