Grants to benefit Routt County youth

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To learn more about the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation and the Youth Advocacy Project for Routt County visit www.yap4rc.org. For information on the grants or to receive a grant application, go to the Web site or contact executive director Sara Craig-Scheckman at 879-0148.

— Gretchen Van De Carr has lived in Steamboat Springs for 17 years. She has heard countless people talk about changing the lives of area youth.

Then, she met Michael and Sara Craig-Scheckman, who moved to Steamboat in 2003 and founded the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation in spring 2005.

"I've heard the speech about making a difference," said Van De Carr, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. "Sara wants input. It's her money, but she takes our advice. Sara and Michael are making a huge difference in this community. You see the direct impact their money has. It has been fantastic."

Van De Carr, Partners in Routt County Executive Director Libby Foster and First Impressions of Routt County Executive Director Stephanie Howle, all of whom work closely with area youth, sit on the Youth Advocacy Project for Routt County's advisory board.

The mission of YAP is to "enhance the health, well-being and developmental assets in Routt County youth through the nurturing and empowerment of youth-serving agencies."

"We want to focus on grantees and get into what they might need," Van De Carr said.

The grant cycle for YAP runs April 2 through May 1, so Routt County nonprofits that work with low income, at-risk and special needs youth are encouraged to consider applying for the $50,000 that will be gifted during the May grants cycle.

"It's important to reach out to South Routt, West Routt and North Routt as well," Foster said. "It's very much encouraged they apply."

Foster, Howle and Van De Carr will work closely with United Way executive director Mark Andersen and psychotherapist Rita Rhodes, who has close ties to the more rural areas of Routt County, when reviewing the applications.

They will review the applications in early May, and the grants will be awarded later in the month.

"We're looking to provide long-term funding and serve as a resource and support," Foster said.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Partners and First Impressions, the beneficiary agencies of YAP, will receive a combined $75,000 during 2007. Foster said money Partners has been given goes toward funding the agency's one-on-one mentoring program and their school-based mentoring programs.

Van De Carr said Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation money given to Rocky Mountain Youth Corps helps fund the conservation corps program and the Yampa Valley Science School.

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdley@steamboatpilot.com

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