Youth Zone needs our support | AspenTimes.com

Youth Zone needs our support

Youth Zone and its diversion program offered my son a second chance. I was saddened to hear that state funding has been cut for this positive program, which affects us all.

My son was referred to Youth Zone by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department a couple of years ago on a paraphernalia charge. If Youth Zone had not been involved, my son (16 at the time) would have had to face a judge on a drug charge, and probably be sent to youth corrections or home detention ? pretty severe considering the circumstances.

Instead, through this program, my son was offered the second chance if he complied with certain rules. He took weekly drug tests for a year and remained drug-free during that time. He also completed many hours of community service ? including helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home.

We attended counseling at a discounted rate, which was very instrumental in bringing us back together as a single-parent family, and I was also offered a low-cost parenting class that helped me on a personal level.

If Youth Zone had not been a part of our lives for that period of time, I’m sure I’d be visiting my son in a youth correction facility, or even worse, jail. Instead, he is a healthy, independent, well-adjusted young man.

Youth Zone made a positive difference in our lives. What can we do to make a positive difference for Youth Zone to keep the program running? I’m happy to help ? are you?

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Wendy Hemingway

Snowmass