Story by Amanda DeVos/Photo by Corey Kopischke
Michelle Petix was raised by a single-father and remembers seeking out strong, female role models.
Her own childhood may have provided impetus for her involvement in youth services in Steamboat Springs. As the new executive director of Partners of Routt County, Petix works to facilitate effective one-on-one mentorship matches.
“I was that kid that needed these services,” she reflects.
Petix helped establish Partners locally in 1996 and served on its board until 2001 before taking a hiatus to devote more time to raising her daughters, Kelly and Corey. But she made her “comeback” into the professional field this summer, returning to Partners.
Adult mentors can make a positive difference for youth because they create unique support systems for children and make them feel valued, Petix says.
The timing for her transition was perfect, as Petix recently wrapped up almost three years at the district attorney’s office as the juvenile diversion coordinator. Her job there involved working with teens to provide an alternative to court for first-time offenses. Petix helped them to improve their decision-making skills and sense of personal responsibility.
“I am very passionate about all youth services, and there are so many ways to support the development of a child,” she says. “It seems like no matter the event, I end up getting involved.”
Among her many other roles, this summer Petix was the assistant director of the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament, coordinating a record 120 teams. Even though she continually finds herself saying ‘yes’ to helping with various projects, Petix says she doesn’t get burnt out.
“My friend says I must like the adrenaline of taking on a lot because I do it, all the time!” she says with a laugh. “My husband hucks himself off cliffs skiing, and I volunteer for 18 things.”