The Longmont Rotary Charity Fund awarded $25,000 in grants to address the unmet needs of youth in our community, relative to COVID-19. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the young people in our community and the grant money is making a huge difference in their lives.
 
Melissa Frick has been the Executive Director of the Pearl Organization since 2019. The organization supports single-parent families through a variety of programs, including monthly car maintenance clinics and the Above All program. Volunteer mentors meet one-on-one with youth to help with homework and provide overall guidance.
 
The grant money was used to provide meals for children and their mothers via King Soopers gift cards, as well as the purchase of two laptops to help children at home complete homework assignments and connect with their mentors. Additionally, WalMart gift cards were provided to families to purchase back-to-school supplies.
 
Jenna Clinchard is the Executive Director of Rise Against Suicide (formerly the Second Wind Fund of Boulder County). The organization provides counseling services to uninsured or underinsured youth who have expressed suicidal ideation. The average age of their clients is 13.9 years old; 64% are Caucasian, 63% are female and 56% are students in the St. Vrain Valley School District. 
 
Youth suicide rates increased 58% from 2016 to 2019. Colorado ranks 10th in the US for suicide deaths. Therapists are now seeing the youth through telehealth visits and the grant dollars will fund 63 mental health sessions.
 
Elaine Waterman is the Executive Director for the Firehouse Art Center. The organization strives to inspire cultural awareness and human connection. They work to shape Longmont's creative identity and try to bring art to everyone in the community.
 
The grant money was used to provide outreach art classes to students of all ages with low access to arts education, art kits for Longmont Summer on the Streets event, 55 free art classes on Facebook, and the creation of a bi-lingual arts education program.