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Difference Maker: Ricky Luevanos




Ricky is, above all, a devoted family man. As of this writing, he and his wife, along with their two sons, have just welcomed the arrival of their first baby girl. However, Ricky's sense of family extends beyond his own children. Through his role as Sr. Manager of Youth Development at the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 and director of COPA, YouthPower365’s summer soccer program for children aged 3-17, Ricky mentors hundreds of young people each year. This, he says, is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. Not everyone has the privilege of doing something they love for a living, but Ricky considers himself one of the fortunate ones. He finds great joy in teaching the players, coaches, and referees at COPA about some of his core values such as empathy, compassion, communication, and love.


He attributes these values to his older siblings. Growing up as the youngest of six in a diverse and driven family, Ricky was inspired by his older brother's success in banking and his other siblings' pursuit of their careers. Their dedication to education and the drive to build a life in Eagle County greatly influenced Ricky's own path and his community work with COPA.


Now in its 16th year, COPA is serving 850 families this summer after registration quickly filled up in March. For those who missed out on registration there are still opportunities to get involved though. COPA hosts games every Sunday at Freedom Park in Edwards and they’re always looking for volunteer coaches and referees. Ricky highlights that refereeing is a great first job for teenagers and a meaningful way for adults to support the next generation of soccer players. Who knows, you might be coaching or refereeing the next soccer superstar—at least, that's Ricky's hope. His only regret in doing this work so far is not having more time to dedicate to the players, his team, and the impactful work he does.


Despite that challenge though, Ricky is immensely proud of what COPA has achieved in Eagle County over the past 15 years. The program not only offers a safe space for youth to spend their summers but also imparts valuable life skills such as good communication, goal-setting, teamwork, empathy, and resilience. Moreover, COPA fosters a sense of community. Whether it's kids playing on the field, teenagers and other young people serving as referees and coaches, or families cheering from the sidelines, there's a place for everyone on Sundays at Freedom Park, thanks in large part to Ricky and his enthusiasm for the sport and his community.


Thank you Ricky, for your dedication to improving the lives of young people!

To learn more about YouthPower365 and COPA or to get involved, you can contact Ricky at rluevanos@vvf.org.


-Jo Pennock, Marketing and Events Manager at Mountain Youth


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