Q3 Charity Vote Nominee: Denver’s Save Our Youth

Citywide Banks next Facebook Fan Vote for its Quarterly Hand-Up Charity Donation will take place from September 8-20, 2011.  The following is one of five charities that will be spotlighted leading up to this quarter’s Fan Vote.

It’s easy to forget how vulnerable – and powerless – children are.  Some have parents in jail.  Others live with a grandparent who is stretched caring for many generations. Some move from apartment to apartment every three months, due to poverty and joblessness.

Such children likely struggle in school – and, in a bigger way, risk struggling with life.

Save Our Youth is a Denver-based, urban mentor-match program, connecting at risk kids with caring adults. It is unique in that staff counselors support mentors to be safe, non-judgmental and, when asked, to give advice. While the average mentor-mentee relationship lasts nine months, Save Our Youth’s bonds last on average, four years.

Sounds simple, but for these kids, it’s everything.

“I know that my mentor saved my life,” said one child.

“My mentor looks after me as if I was his son, and he has not given up on me like most people have,” says another.

Save Our Youth also runs a summer school bridge program that helps kids catch up on missed schoolwork. Students earn a stipend for attendance and completing coursework.

Founded in 1995, the program has served more than 4,000 children.  If the charity wins the upcoming Fan Vote, the $500 donation from Citywide Banks would fund further mentor support, to reach more kids.

“Our kids have unlimited potential but its virtually untapped,” said Executive Director Luis Villarreal. “Giving them a mentor gives them the possibility of finding that treasure.”

Save Our Youth is one of five Denver charities nominated to receive Citywide Banks’ $500 Quarterly Hand-Up Donation. Ready to vote for Save Our Youth? Visit Citywide’s Facebook Fan Page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks and become a Fan by clicking the “Like” button. Fans will be eligible to vote for their charity choice from September 8 – 20, 2011. Stay tuned to this blog for spotlights on the other nominated charities.

Learn more about how to make your own cash donation or volunteer your time to Colorado’s own Save Our Youth at http://www.saveouryouth.org.

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