Caring for Colorado Foundation and Colorado Education Initiative Announce “Youth Connections”

February 24, 2020

Statewide Effort Supports Mental Health and Well-Being in Middle and High Schools

Caring for Colorado Foundation (CFC) and Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) are excited to announce Youth Connections: Supporting Mental Health and Well-Being, a new joint venture to redesign systems in middle and high schools. Caring for Colorado will invest up to $6 million to strengthen the capacity of schools to respond to and promote social, emotional, and mental well-being for students, particularly those who experience the greatest barriers to feeling connected, supported, and engaged. Middle schools and high schools in Alamosa School District, Cañon City Schools, Mesa County Valley School District 51, and Sheridan School District were selected to be included in this exciting initiative.  A second cohort of schools will be invited to participate in Youth Connections in 2020.

“We believe that designing for social emotional resilience and mental health is one of the most important shifts we must make to transform our K-12 system,” said CEI President and CEO Rebecca Holmes. “This requires working with teachers, families, and students to imagine and create relationship-rich school ecosystems that support all students in realizing their full potential. CEI is honored to work alongside the selected school districts to partner in this work.”

The Youth Connections project aims to increase capacity and expertise over the next four years. The design efforts will include community members, teachers, and students to build new vision, strategies, and systems. The teams will create an implementation plan after connecting these ideas and feedback into a cohesive plan for schools.

“Caring for Colorado Foundation is honored to work with school communities across our state. We believe that all students deserve well-being and supportive environments and are excited to be working with the Colorado Education Initiative given their long track record of success in this arena,” said CFC Executive Vice President Linda Reiner.

“Alamosa is thrilled to be a part of the Youth Connections project,” said Alamosa School District Superintendent Rob Alejo. “We believe this will support our current efforts underway to build social emotional supports for our students and staff while catalyzing progress and alignment in our system.”