Montrose House duckied

Rubber duckies blanket the front yard at 1512 Manchester Dr. in Montrose. The home was ducked by Partners youth mentoring.

The community helped a critical youth mentoring program weather the COVID-19 pandemic that was declared last year by participating, in force, in its annual auction.

This year, Partners of Delta, Montrose & Ouray will bring back its silent auction fundraiser for the 32nd year, and as in the past few years, this will again be conducted online, at partners-west.auctionanything.com. More than $40,000-worth of donated goods and services are on the block. Bids are open April 19 — 22.

In addition to eager bidders, Partners is hopeful for more sponsors and donors; those interested can call 970-249-1116 or 970-874-4661 during regular business hours, or email Curtis Hearst, Partners executive director and director of the online auction, at curtis@partners-west.org.

The online option helped Partners last year, when COVID-19 hit businesses and nonprofits; because the auction had already been conducted online in past years, transitioning was not an issue and the community was generous, Lissette Riviere, case manager, said. Also, the online format enables Partners to list and display however many items and services necessary.

“It has been so successful, because we’re unlimited as to the amount of items we can have,” she said. “Last year, when the COVID hit, we were already online. We didn’t have to (scramble). That was good.”

The online format also lets Partners provide a link to donors’ websites, putting them one click away from potential customers, she said.

The need for ongoing funding remains keen, as does the need for adult mentors to pair with children and teens. Although the auction proceeded as normal last year, ordinary service and activities were interrupted due to restrictions and safety precautions, requiring some creativity to continue linking at-risk youths with positive role models (mentors) and programs.

“We had to suspend our partnerships’ face-to-face meetings. We were able to provide our families with gift cards for meals, activity boxes and some Zoom training so mentors and mentees could Zoom together. It was nice being able to support our families during the whole pandemic,” Riviere said.

The money from fundraisers like the auction helped pay for that and Partners purchased meal gift cards from local restaurants to in turn support local businesses.

The Partners program matches adult mentors to youths of the same sex to foster self-esteem, academic improvements and bonding with positive role models.

Volunteers of all sexes who are willing to train as mentors are welcome to apply; there is a special need for male volunteers.

“They (volunteer mentors) don’t have to have special talents or gifts, just be a caring and responsible adult,” Riviere said. “We get a lot more boys referred to the program. We are always looking for men for the boys in the program. Definitely women too, but there is always a higher need for males.”

People can check out more auction details at the website listed above. Visit partners-west.org for general information and volunteer opportunities.

Other Partners news

• Partners in late March received a $15,000 grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation, a portion of $1 million the foundation made available for COVID relief.

• Partners is putting on a production of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and is seeking people 12 and older for both cast and crew.

Applications are due April 30 and auditions to be held May 6 and 7. Visit partners-west.org/upcoming-activities for the application form and more information.

The play is intended as an extension of the Art Partners program, offering artistic outlets to youths interested in acting, set design, makeup, costuming and more. Performances are planned for Sept. 17 and 18.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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