Grand County Juvenile Services Wins Grant for Mentors | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Juvenile Services Wins Grant for Mentors

At-risk Grand County kids ages 10 to 17 will be paired with mentors thanks to a $50,000 Justice Assistance Grant from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.

The grant expands Grand County Juvenile Services’ mentoring program, said Deb Ruttenberg, House Bill 1451 coordinator, who sees how risk factors like divorce, low income and poor academic performance contribute to antisocial behavior. Now more than ever, mentoring programs are key for keeping at risk kids on the right track.

“In East Grand County, only half of 6th through 12th graders report having three or more caring adults in their lives, and only 31 percent of 6th through 12th graders reported having positive role models,” says Ruttenberg.

At least 10 percent of East and West Grand Middle School families are struggling with divorce, financial stress or substance abuse. And 26 percent of East Grand and 35 percent of West Grand students receive free or reduced lunch.

Substance abuse is another risk factor for Grand County kids.

“We are always higher than the state average, and Colorado is higher than the national average for substance abuse.”

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The new mentoring program starts in October. The goal is to get 10 to 15 mentors volunteering two hours per week for one year and hopefully longer.

“The best results occur when a mentor commits to spending at least a couple of hours a week for at least one year with a youth,” Ruttenberg explains.

Anyone interested in mentoring should contact Ian Aneloski, 970-725-3137, ianeloski@co.grand.co.us. For more information, please contact Grand County Juvenile Services at 725-3063, or see http://www.co.grand.co.us.

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