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A brighter future by and for the youth

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YouthZone, a local program that helps young people improve their future outlook, is looking to expand collaboration among the population they serve.

According to their website, YouthZone is a “family-first nonprofit dedicated to fostering positive youth development for teens that call the Western Slope their home.” YouthZone has a facility in Glenwood Springs that offers counseling services, substance intervention, LGBTQ+ support groups, volunteer opportunities and more.

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Magdalena Palomares, the youth advisory chair on the YouthZone board of directors, is seeking students from across the Valley to be a voice for the youth in the community by joining the nonprofit’s recently formed youth council. Palomares says the goal is to “get everyone in one room and discuss how to help.” The youth council is still in the process of being developed, so there’s an abundance of space for creative ideas. 

Youth council members will engage with the board and have meetings with Executive Director Jamie Hayes to discuss current and upcoming projects. This way, the youth population in the Valley has direct communication with YouthZone regarding the kind of support their peers need. Palomares sees mental health and substance abuse as significant issues within our community which she strives to address with the new youth council. She is hoping to visit schools, along with newly appointed members, to talk more about these issues soon. 

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The youth advisory council has openings for middle and high school students across the Valley. As Palomares says, “Anyone is welcome!” 

Students who would like to be part of the youth council must be motivated to help the community. The perfect candidate is “someone who wants to help by working with others … and is willing to share their ideas.” Palomares also hopes to see more content and programming originating from the youth council in the coming months, including videos, a social media presence and workshops. 

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The purpose of YouthZone is to give kids and teens a space to be themselves and get help if they need it. The organization wants to get the word out about the kind of services they offer. Counseling, or simply advice, is offered if you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health struggles. As Palomares put it, YouthZone is a bright reminder that “it’s not anything taboo to feel down, or like you need help.” 

According to Palomares, joining the advisory council would have significant benefits for the individual and their community. “On top of being a good activity, it will help you become a leader, be comfortable speaking with adults, grow up and be around an office atmosphere. Not only that, but it could look great on college or job applications,” she continued. “If you know someone who would be a good fit for the youth advisory council, or are interested yourself, consider joining to help the community.” 

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In conclusion, Palomares wanted to pass along that “anyone who feels like their voice isn’t heard and wants to have their perspective out there as a youth from a different background should join.” She encourages her peers to be the change in their community, help others and get work experience through this new initiative. 

For details on how to join the youth council, visit www.bit.ly/YouthZoneAdvisory

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Tags: #Jamie Hayes #Maeve Murray #Magdalena Palomares #Youth #YouthZone
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