The first Greater Littleton Youth Initiative meeting of the school year caused some founding members to wax nostalgic. John Brackney, president of …
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The first Greater Littleton Youth Initiative meeting of the school year caused some founding members to wax nostalgic.
John Brackney, president of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, remembered how the community came together in those early days after the Columbine tragedy, full of passion and sorrow and ready to set aside differences.
“Even though it’s human nature to blame, we decided not to point the finger at anybody,” he said. “We decided to focus on what we could agree on.”
Out of those first meetings grew a scientifically based process to identify programs that are verified to be successful in keeping kids safe. Known as “blueprint” programs, they include suicide prevention, early childhood education, nursing services, truancy prevention and more.
“Life’s problems aren’t solved by events, they’re solved by what you can do for people,” said Kay Wilmesher, a City of Littleton employee who serves as GLYI’s executive director.
The city funds GLYI to the tune of about $110,000 a year, but city council is slated to take a hard look at that as part of its current budget process. Also under examination are the senior refund program, Omnibus, Shopping Cart, the calendar and the Immigrant Resources Center.
Longtime member Jim DuBose is worried GLYI won’t make the cut, and he urged everyone to let their councilors know how important the program is.
Sue Chandler, GLYI president and a Littleton Public Schools board member, agreed.
“We have the weight on our shoulders to carry this on,” she said. “We need to evolve and grow.”
To that end, the group will elect a governing board, look for grants, update its bylaws, talk to the City of Centennial about participating, and increase its visibility in the community.
“The citizens should know what their money is doing,” said Wilmesher.
Former City Manager Jim Woods, who is now the outreach coordinator for Littleton Public Schools, noted money is always an issue regardless of whether the city continues to contribute.
“We’re always short of money, but what we’re blessed with is we have a lot of IQ,” he said.
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