Partners in Routt County receives $143,782 in AmeriCorps grants |

Partners in Routt County receives $143,782 in AmeriCorps grants

After spending months preparing a hefty application, Partners in Routt County received $143,782 from AmeriCorps through Serve Colorado to fund a portion of their expenses for the next two years.

The funding will allow Partners, which works to address high risk behavior and lack of social support through one-to-one mentoring services to schools in Routt County, to increase the number of full-time mentors from nine to 11 and expand into the county’s three high schools.

“Our elementary program is preventative in nature, the middle school intervention and the high school will help continue that intervention,” said Partners in Routt County’s school-based mentor program manager Lindsay Kohler. “We have seen success with continued support, and this grant will help fund that.”

The grant Partners received was one of 18 awarded by Lieutenant Governor Joe Garica to 15 Colorado organizations with AmeriCorps members. In total, $4.8 million was award to organizations throughout the state that tackle energy and water conservation, increasing literacy rates in children and providing learning opportunities for preschoolers and their families.

“We believe that Partners in Routt County is an incredible intermediary resource to support children and families in Routt County,” Serve Colorado Executive Director Lindsay Dolce said. “They have a strong track record in the community and have met or exceeded performance measures. They’re truly an ideal organization for a funder.”

The grant subsidizes 45 percent of the Partners’ annual budget. Through that funding, Partners is able to not only function and grow year after year but also continue to attract high-quality college graduates who are members of the AmeriCorps organization.

“Grants like this are so important to use because it helps bring in the reputation and honorable service that AmeriCorp members provide in addition to a chunk of our funding,” Partners Executive Director Michelle Petix said.

“Something that gets lost sometimes but is really special is the highly qualified people that come to this community,” Kohler said. “They frequently stay to work with nonprofits, as a teacher or a paraprofessional in one of the schools.”

The 11 AmeriCorps members who work with Partners each have nine students they mentor for at least one hour per week. The mentors also plan and oversee in-school and after-school programs.

“We have the mentoring model that if a student is cared about, then they’ll care more about themselves,” Petix said. “When they care more about themselves, they’re less likely to engage in risky activities and succeed.”

Partners in Routt County received a three-year grant in 2012, which allowed the organization to increase the number of mentors from seven to nine. In the last year, they have transitioned to a part-time mentor program at the Steamboat elementary schools so that they can also serve North Routt Community Charter School.

To reach Liz Forster, call 970-871-4374, email or follow her on Twitter @LizMForster

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