Updated: Mar 2
Enriching youth lives through sharing events, supporting ideas, and saying "let's figure it out!"
Do you remember your favorite teacher from Middle or High school, and how that person made an on your impact life? Dr. Amanda Bolla is an individual in our community I'm sure many students claim as their "favorite teacher" because of the way she touched their lives during their time at school.
Providing enrichment to our youth through attending events, supporting their ideas, and having a "let's figure it out" attitude describes Dr. Bolla. She has connected so many youth in our valley with support and encouragement to continue their interests and develop their passions. Dr. Bolla’s leadership with the Gypsum Creek Middle School Hope Squad last year led to the blossoming of that same mental health focused, youth-led group at Eagle Valley High School. Her collaborative efforts tied Eagle Valley High School Green Team with mentor opportunities at Gypsum Creek Middle School. It also opened up fundraising and advertising opportunities; as well as helping individual youth grow in their interests and project field.
Sitting down with Amanda opened my eyes to her time living in Hong Kong. Interacting with so many people and being able to form those relationships over a diversity of interactions. Four years ago, she decided it was time to head to the Eagle Valley. Moving here with her 2 teens, Amanda found herself a job within the school district. Making connections with Eagle County Schools friends allowed her the time to share her achievements and interests in gifted and talented program growth. Providing gifted and talented programs, not just for special youth, but for all youth who have a passion and drive to grow. After working with all 4 high schools, she decided to take a more focused role. Eventually, Amanda made it to her current role as a trusted adult, leading professional, and collaborative teacher at Gypsum Creek Middle School and Eagle Valley High School.
Figuring out how to encourage youth to think in ways of "get to" rather than "have to" has been a fun part of Amanda's work. A recent success has been facilitating Eagle Valley High School Hope Squad meetings and helping them choose, design, and order bracelets advertising the new National Suicide Hotline (988). The team also enjoys baking and have identified cheerful pick-me-ups to be successful during stressful times. How can we use youth strengths to reach and impact other youth in a positive way? Cookie-grams encouraged friends to send kind words to each other with a sweet delivery. Why not make the message be delivered in a cool way? You have to do just that when trying to get that message to youth, and that's the type of content Amanda gets to facilitate, encourage, and take part in with Middle and High School youth.
Dr. Bolla's vision is to gather and unite youth, spread ideas to gain traction and participation, change policy to better serve youth needs, and find niches to empower youth. Thanks for your hard work for our community Ds. Bolla!
Written by Cam Dole, Youth Engagement Manager at Mountain Youth, firstname.lastname@example.org