Routt to Work program seeks volunteer coaches | SteamboatToday.com

Routt to Work program seeks volunteer coaches

Teresa Ristow

A participant completes a worksheet during a Routt County Bridges Initiative workshop in 2014. The program was revamped and renamed Routt to Work in 2015.

— A local program that helps adults work toward self-sufficiency in Routt County is seeking volunteers to serve as coaches for this year's participants.

Formerly known as the Routt County Bridges Initiative, the revamped Routt to Work program helps 15 individuals each year to set large and small life goals that help them become productive members of the workforce and achieve economic stability.

"These are motivated individuals. They're not making ends meet, and they’re motivated to make some changes in their life," said Lindsay Kohler, co-coordinator for Routt to Work, a project of LiftUp of Routt County, Routt County Department of Human Services and Routt County United Way.

The program acknowledges that making ends meet in Routt County can be difficult, as it takes three times the federal poverty level to attain self-sufficiency in the area.

Participants first spend seven weeks in a "Step It Up" phase where they learn and practice goal achievement as they prepare for a 10-month "Move It Up" phase during which time substantial goals are set for the participants to work toward.

Kohler said participants are gearing up to begin the Move It Up phase, and Routt to Work leaders are still seeking three to five more male coaches and two to four female coaches to help work with the participants.

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Coaches will volunteer to support participants in their goal work and help connect them to local resources, as well as participating with the individuals in monthly classes.

Coaches will commit about six to eight hours per month, including classes, for the duration of the program, which will run from this August to May 2017.

No special skills are necessary to be a coach, although coaches are expected to be patient, communicate with their individual and ask for help when needed.

"To be a coach, you just have to be interested in getting to know someone and supporting them in making changes," said Kohler, who coordinates Routt to Work along with Libby Foster.

Kohler said the program may help participants secure a stable job, but the program's goals are much larger.

"It's not just about getting a job," Kohler said. "There are so many other facets in your life that affect your ability to become stable and self-sufficient."

This year's Routt to Work participants are male and female and vary in age, including recent high school graduates as well as adults in their 30s or 40s.

Ideal coaches may have some life experience to share with the participants to help them with their struggles.

"This is very much about developing a relationship with them and being a sounding board and a cheerleader," Kohler said.

Coaches will attend a Move It Up training on the evening of June 14 and are expected to attend classes on Wednesday evenings from August to May.

For more information about Routt to Work or to become a coach, contact Kohler at lkohler@co.routt.co.us or Foster at lfoster@co.routt.co.us or call 970-870-5291 or 970-870-5288.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow