A message from our local school district leadership
The last two years of disruption and uncertainty have been challenging for everyone, and our children may be experiencing the most profound and the longest-lasting of those impacts. Although our teachers and staff have worked tirelessly to support student needs, COVID has affected school attendance, academic progress, and social-emotional growth in Larimer County youth. Education has never been an easy profession, and the challenges we face in the wake of this pandemic are creating new opportunities for partnership and a collective approach to supporting our students. Please join us in wrapping our collective arms around children, youth, and families as we transition from the school year to summer break.
Across the U.S. and here in our own community, we are facing a youth mental health crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a recent report that says over one-third of high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with 44% saying they felt persistently sad or hopeless. Many experienced isolation from their peers, significant changes at home and the loss of safety and engagement created by a daily school routine. Teachers in elementary and middle schools are also struggling with increased behaviors and disruptions in the classroom often caused by pandemic-related trauma. Local nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has seen a 37% increase in dependency and neglect cases, and 90% of kids participating in Partners, a Larimer County youth mentoring organization, are experiencing mental health issues personally or in the home.
We know that keeping kids connected is critical to their social-emotional well-being and for them to remain on track with their studies. As the end of the school year approaches, we are asking our community to consider giving of their time, talents, and treasure to support our students. We can change the trajectory for so many children by coming together around this critical need. Please join us in leading a Larimer United for Youth.
Colorado 211 is a fast and easy way to connect with available resources. Colorado 211 updates its database daily, and services are confidential and multi-lingual. Trained navigators help connect users with resources, available online, through live chat and by dialing 2-1-1 on any home, office, or mobile phone. Colorado 211 has recently expanded its efforts to connect users to behavioral health services across the state.
Gifts of time and talent
Positive adult role models help a child increase their self-confidence, improve their social skills and help inform important decision-making. Since the onset of the pandemic, Partners has seen a 200% increase in referrals to its prevention education while at the same time experiencing a 50% decrease in volunteer inquiries. The gift of your presence in a student’s life is more important than ever. Visit NOCOVolunteers to find out how you can plug in and make a difference. There is a wide range of volunteer opportunities, with time commitments ranging from one to more than 100 hours per month!
United Way of Larimer County is currently supporting important literacy needs across Poudre, Thompson, and Estes Park school districts. Your gift to the Emerging Priorities Fund ensures that United Way can quickly respond to needs across Larimer County related to early education, literacy, math skills, mentorship, and more. Please consider donating to help our PK-12 students, both in and out of the classroom this year.
It is an honor and privilege to lead our local school districts, and we are truly grateful for the ongoing support of the communities we serve. Your investment in youth and education programming increases exponentially, as our children grow and thrive in Larimer County. A Larimer United for Youth is a community that creates a brighter future for all.
Poudre School District Superintendent
Dr. Marc Schaffer
Thompson School District Superintendent
Estes Park School District Acting Superintendent