The Family YMCA hired Aaron Purtzer as director of a pilot Reach and Rise Mentoring Program, which will officially launch in March.
“The Reach and Rise Program is an excellent opportunity for members of the community to empower youth,” Purtzer said, adding that his priority now is to connect with community stakeholders and members to engage volunteers as mentors. “This program adds a new resource for community youth, but is needs adult volunteers,” he said.
In establishing the Reach and Rise Program, Purtzer’s main focus will be to connect with the greater community of Los Alamos and utilize existing supports. If regional area volunteers step up, such as residents of Rio Arriba County, the mentoring program can support regional youth, but training in Los Alamos will be required.
Purtzer completed his Master of Arts in Human Services from Bellevue University in 2012. He has a diverse professional background that includes counseling, work as an archaeologist and sales. He said he hopes to apply the Y’s mission and core value of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility to help local youth experience successes.
Purtzer previously worked at Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health as a Crisis Case Manager. There he helped to implement a pilot jail diversion program, taking referrals from law enforcement and diverting individuals with mental illnesses into treatment instead of jail for nonviolent misdemeanor offenders. Purtzer worked closely with the Yakima County crisis response unit and performed crisis interventions, mental health evaluations and assisted with involuntary psychiatric detentions for children, adolescents and adults.
Purtzer is a new transplant to New Mexico having relocated to Los Alamos from West Richland, Wash., with his wife LeAnn who works at LANL, and daughter Iris. In his free time Purtzer enjoys hiking, running, spending time with family, or reading a good book.