August 2, 2022 |

The ribbon cutting and open house event for the Stepping Stones Youth Home in Rawlins will be held tomorrow afternoon. The event runs from 1-3 p.m. with the ribbon cutting scheduled for 2 p.m.

John Tengsdahl is the Senior Director of Youth and Outreach for the Volunteers of America, the agency that has run the facility since February. Tengsdahl addressed the Rawlins City Council at the July 19th meeting and expressed his gratitude for the support the community has shown since reopening the doors.

Pictured above: Stepping Stones Youth Home operated by Volunteers of America Northern Rockies. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

The facility that helps youths in crisis situations was experiencing a crisis of its own when VOA stepped into the breach. The previous operator had abandoned the facility in October unexpectedly. The doors to the facility remained closed until it reopened under a new name and with new management earlier this year. A report to the county commissioners at the end of June showed the facility is serving a big need.

Mayor Terry Weickum thanked Tengsdahl for VOA’s efforts.

VOA began operating the facility in February of this year with eight total beds. Four are for crisis situations with children placed by the courts, law enforcement, or their legal guardians. The other four beds are for long-term placements filled by the Department of Family Services. At least half of the beds were occupied during the first four months of operation, according to a report provided to county commissioners in June by the facility.

Next week, Stepping Stones will present a workshop on helping kids who may be experiencing mental health or coping issues. Tengsdahl said those issues can present themselves in identifiable ways if you know the signs. The course is called Youth Mental Health First Aid, and is meant for adults who deal with 12-18-year-olds.

The mental health first aid program is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9th from 8:30 to 2:30.

You can find out more about that program and Stepping Stones in general at tomorrow’s open house from 1-3 p.m.


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