Moffat County youth programs in jeopardy

Several Moffat County youth programs are in trouble now that a Tony Grampsas Youth Service grant request has been turned down.

This year, RAD, Grand Futures and Moffat County Partners all did not receive the grant -- puzzling some within the organizations.

"I am very, very confused," said Dianne Gould, the executive director for RAD. "We had a strong proposal and strong collaboration."

According to the TGYS application form, about $3.4 million was expected to be available to fund about 100 local programs across the state for the 2005-06 year. TGYS grantees receive three years of renewable funding dependent on the availability of funds and performance. Although there is no set funding limit, the average grant size in the past has been about $30,000 to $40,000 for single agency applications, according to the application.

Gould said the cost to run youth programs is a lot more expensive than most people think.

"The community doesn't know how much money goes into these programs," she said.

The TGYS grant program was established in 1994 to provide state funding for community-based programs that target youths and their families in an effort to reduce incidents of youth crime and violence.

Tara Jenrich, the executive director for Moffat County Partners, said the application process this year was very competitive, and most of the funding went to the Front Range instead of the Western Slope.

Moffat County Partners and RAD are programs designed to mentor and work with youths on a variety of levels.

Partners serves as a mentoring program for all youths, and RAD provides after-school programs for fifth- through eighth-graders.

Both have served more than 300 youths in the community since their services began.

Gould said now without the funding RAD is in danger of having to shut down.

"We are really, really struggling now," she said. "We're doing all we can to keep afloat."

Gould said the goal of RAD is to keep the youths of Craig safe and distill in them strong values at a young age. She also said all of the parent input has been positive about the program.

Gould said if RAD is forced to close she anticipates a huge effect on the community. In RAD's 4 1/2 years in Craig, the juvenile crime rate has continued to go down, she said. Without RAD, Gould said more crime could be in the future.

Jenrich, who has been with Partners since 1999, said she will collaborate with other nonprofits in hopes of getting funding to keep youth programs alive.

"I'm going to be determined to make this work," she said. "I'm determined Moffat County Partners will still be here in five years."

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