New programs at Pagosa Springs Youth Center

By Joanne Irons
Special to The SUN

Pagosa Springs Youth Center will provide four new programs for the youth of Pagosa Springs, beginning in February, March and April.

The programs are a result of collaborative efforts between different agencies.

Girl Talk starts Feb. 4 at the Pagosa Springs Middle School for girls in fifth and sixth grades. The mission of Girl talk is twofold: giving high school girls the opportunity to share their experiences as positive role models, and giving middle school girls the chance to learn from older peers that they are not alone in the issues they face, and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the basis for relationships among girls their age.

Our high school girls committed to 12 weeks of getting together on Mondays after school to discuss different topics they have experienced. Topics covered include friendships, communication, body image, bullying and community service. Building relationships and caring for what they are going through will help the younger girls make better choices as they go through some of the same issues their mentors have been through as well. This group will meet at the middle school.

Ready for Work begins Thursday March 7, and is for boys and girls ages 12-14. This class will meet at the Youth Center on Thursdays after school from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and will continue for eight weeks. The class will help prepare those youngsters who are looking for employment, and will include topics such as how to fill out an application, interviewing for a position, dressing for work and customer service. We hope to give students an insight on how to be successful when looking for work. Members of the community and agencies that will help include the School to Work curriculum, Beth Rivas from SWAP, and Mary Jo Coulehan, Chamber director. Business owners will also get involved, talking with the students to help guide them to becoming successful applicants and successful employees.

Coffee Shop Church will take place after school at the Riverpoint Cafe on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m., starting in March. Students often have many questions about church, spirituality, faith and God and don’t necessarily have an outlet where they can comfortably discuss some of these topics. Different faith-based leaders are welcoming an opportunity to discuss these topics, which the students will generate. This program will begin with middle school-age students — sixth- to eighth-graders. A specialty drink will be provided. This is nondenominational and all students are welcome.

Kids Running America will form teams in April. This is a great program designed to end childhood obesity, and is a wonderful way to get and keep kids moving and healthy. Team leaders are needed and a final mile event is planned for this summer. You don’t have to be a runner to join, but mentoring youth in this program will provide many rewards. If you are interested in forming a team or learning more about Kids Running America, visit the website at www. This program will focus on school-aged children.

The Youth Advisory committees for this year is forming and anyone interested in participating should contact Lezlie White at the center for information. The center is open after school for kids 12-19.

If you have questions about any of the new programs, call the Pagosa Springs Youth Center at 264-5030, or Joanne Irons at 946-7545.

This story was posted on January 31, 2013.