Metro Denver Partners: Changing Lives of At-Risk Youth
A gang-related gunshot wound lands a teen in the ER. A stray bullet kills a neighborhood friend. According to Metro Denver Partners, it is often crises like these that make youth receptive to leaving gangs and turning their lives around.
Local nonprofit Metro Denver Partners sponsors a peer-run intervention program called GRASP (Gang Rescue and Support Project) to help teens involved in or exposed to gang activity. Taught mostly by former gang members, GRASP helps kids heal and grow through support groups, hospital interventions, parent awareness trainings, community mobilization and more.
The GRASP program is just one way Metro Denver Partners helps transform the lives of youth. For more than fifty years they’ve run a proven mentorship program that pairs young people with adult mentors. In just one year, children in the program are more confident, better at decision-making and have hope for their future.
“We’ve seen these kids stay in school and recognize their potential by having a caring person in their life to nurture and support them,” said Mary Ann Burdick, executive director of the organization.”
Metro Denver Partners’ endowment at Community First Foundation was initiated by the Kinstlinger family in memory of their son and former mentor Joseph Kinstlinger. Annual revenue from the endowment helps pay for school scholarships and youth mentorship activities. “Opening a permanent endowment ensures we can fulfill the donors’ intent and protect these dollars well into the future,” said Burdick.