GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Mesa County Community Summit is a group of hundreds of people and organizations fighting for local youth who are unhoused or living in poverty.

According to World Population Review, nearly 12 percent of Mesa County residents live in poverty.

District 51 has identified more than 900 local children living in poverty.

During this summit at CMU September 25th and 26th, local advocates and groups will share their gameplan and stories and offer their organization’s services.

One stand-out story comes from a person you might not expect, former NFL Cincinnati Bengals player Gaelin Elmore, who just so happens to be the keynote speaker of Monday and Tuesday’s event.

Elmore travelled all the way from Minnesota to share his story, his perspective, and his findings here in Mesa County.

He tells me coaches and teachers were a huge part in his success, not just physically, but mentally.

Elmore adds giving support to those unhoused, in poverty, or who are victims of abuse doesn’t have to be direct. He says you can also offer support or advice to someone who is already close to the person in need.

He tells me the best thing that could come out of this local summit is to see Community Summit members act immediately.