It’s not hard to convince someone to grab a post workout burrito or to catch up over coffee in this town, but did you know that this month your burritos and lattes will do a lot more than fill your social calendars?
Throughout the month of October, FirstBank Colorado has teamed up with Dos Gringos and Carbondale Creamery and Cafe to donate up to $10,000 to support Stepping Stones’s Capital Campaign; and for every burrito purchased at Dos and latte and croissant purchased at the Creamery, FirstBank will donate $5 directly to the campaign.
As a community-based youth mentoring program, Stepping Stones strives to meet the needs of youth by providing consistent adult and peer interactions within safe environments.
Founded nearly six years ago by current Board of Directors president Kristin Nelson, Stepping Stones opened its doors to support teens and their families. Operating mostly as a clinical space, they provided immediate crisis services, but as the community’s needs started to evolve, Nelson and her staff quickly recognized the opportunity to serve more kids.
“We have kids of all different backgrounds and challenges,” Executive Director Kyle Crawley said. “We decided after a couple of years that we also wanted to start a program for youth – the middle school program — in an effort to work on the prevention side of things and to get ahead of some of the challenges we were seeing from some of the kids.”
Since starting the middle school program, Stepping Stones has transitioned into their commercial space located on Highway 133 and currently supports over 200 individuals ranging in age from 10 to 21 years old.
At Stepping Stones, kids are offered a spectrum of services; from completing job applications, to playing video games with friends, to receiving mentoring services from full-time professionals, kids can grow both mentally and emotionally. To accommodate physical needs, kids are able to take advantage of shower and laundry services as well as daily community meals.
“The amount of dedication and time you can give to kids is an important part of our model,” Crawley said. “Some of these kids are here 100 plus days a year and spending 15 hours a week here. We can really honor the youth journey by giving them the time and effort it deserves.”
True to its nature, Stepping Stones once again heeded the call of the community as interest continued to rise and the need to expand services became apparent.
“We’ve been functioning in these residential settings, so [the remodel] will be a space specifically designed for youth and their needs,” Crawley said. “It’s going to be a whole revamp of the facility.”
The campaign includes a massive initiative to remodel their 5,000 square foot commercial building in Carbondale and connect it to their adjacent 2,500 square foot residential home. Included in the remodel is a wellness center, a large commercial kitchen, a beautiful new outdoor recreation space with a basketball court and a lounge, in addition to new furniture and appliances to encourage a warm and welcoming space for youth to grow mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Beginning in 2020, Crawley said they had an ambitious goal of completing the remodel by the end of 2020. However, like many other organizations across the nation, COVID-19 took precedence and Stepping Stones had to reevaluate their timeline.
“When Covid happened we put a pause on the campaign and we pivoted towards serving our families and their needs during COVID,” Crawley said. “We called all 200+ families that we serve and did a needs assessment with them, and overwhelmingly there was a need for financial assistance.”
Crawley said that about 80 percent of the families they serve had at least one parent lose their job and that all families were struggling financially. To support their families, Stepping Stones connected with donors to set up a COVID relief fund and together they raised over $100,000 for their families in need.
In early August, once families started to feel settled, Stepping Stones restarted the capital campaign and is now ready to move forward.
Stepping Stones still needs to raise $120,000 for the remodel. Your generous donation will not only open the doors to a new facility, but it will also support the continuous growth of a nonprofit that truly believes every child is worthwhile.
Ready to donate?
Direct Donation: https://www.steppingstonesrfv.org/capitalcampaign
Indirect Donation: Visit Dos Gringos or Carbondale Creamery and Cafe for a burrito and latte