Coalition to take over mentoring

Grand Futures to fill void left by dissolution of Moffat County Partners

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Rather than leave the community's at-risk youths without adult guidance, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition has agreed to assume that responsibility for another community group that has fallen on hard times.

Grand Futures, a community group that specializes in steering youths away from drug and alcohol use, last week added another role -- mentoring area children -- a task once assumed by the now-defunct Moffat County Partners group.

"Prevention fits in well with mentoring," said Chad Kiniston, director of Grand Futures. "So, this is going to fit in well with what we do here at Grand Futures."

"We think it's important that someone -- a responsible, caring adult -- is working with children that may not have that in their lives," he said.

Grand Futures' decision to spearhead efforts with mentoring area youths came during a meeting last week. Representatives from the coalition met with community members who were concerned that Partners' dissolution would hinder the futures of at-risk youths.

Although Grand Futures is committed to mentoring area youths, the organization's ability to pay for it is uncertain. Kiniston said a brief financial overview indicates the additional efforts could cost $40,0000 to $50,000 to start.

This would include hiring an on-call employee to oversee the program and administrative fees.

Kiniston said plans are being made for groups such as the Boys & Girls Club of Craig and Moffat County United Way to help coordinate the program, as well as provide funding. Other ways to fund the program are also being explored, he said.

"We're going to do it, if we can get the funding," Kiniston said.

News about Grand Futures assuming the responsibilities of Partners signals an end to one of the area's most active youth-oriented groups.

Founded in 1997, Moffat County Partners paired adult volunteers with at-risk children.

Moffat County Partners made the decision to close its operation in late June. Board member John Forgay said a lack of funding played a pivotal part in the group's closing.

"Basically, we're closed," Forgay said. "The doors are closed. ... We couldn't get the funding we needed. Grants dried up. There was very little funding coming from the local community. Without the money, we just couldn't run it any longer."

Tara Jenrich, a former director who worked with Moffat County Partners for more than six years, said its dissolution was hard to hear about but not unexpected.

A funding shortfall forced her to leave the organization in mid-March. She now works for the Moffat County youth diversion office.

"It was hard to walk away from," Jenrich said. "I've seen an awful lot of success stories (come from Moffat County Partners). I hope Grand Futures can make a go of it. The community needs it."

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