By: Mikayla Curtis, Director of Strategic Impact
Bella Matteo is a remarkable and inspirational young person. Not only is she gifted in numerous hobbies, sports, and passions, she runs a business with her father and has dedicated her summer to helping other youth connect to opportunities. Bella, an incoming 7th grader at Zealous school in Eagle, appreciates that this community is welcoming and makes her feel at home. Bella’s successes are also a testament to the impact of parental belief and support. Her parents show her they believe in her, and they make sure she has opportunities that fulfill her passions and support her along the way with the equipment, supplies, rides, coaching, and time needed.
When I first sat down with Bella, she started talking about her aspirations and talents in mogul skiing and training with her dad and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. However, when I asked about her hobbies and passions, the list took up two pages! She has become a self-taught avid artist as a way to cope during the pandemic. It’s a positive outlet for her and one that she’s passionate about sharing with others. Bella and I met at the He(art) of the Vail Valley Youth art showcase last month in Avon. Not only did she submit numerous drawings, paintings, and pastels to be displayed, she also had the confidence to stand up on stage and share with the crowd what art means to her. She began with an old notebook and mechanical pencils and has since upgraded her supplies and utilized online videos to expand her talent.
Of her other hobbies, Bella plays many sports, including rugby, softball, bouldering and rock climbing, and loves hiking, especially doing peak ascents and long trips. She has a goal to join her dad in future years to hike 14 fourteeners over 100 miles. Bella also plays piano, loves chess, coding, has tried jewelry making, and recently joined Valley’s Voice. She is interested in learning about the different issues youth face and enjoys organizing activities and opportunities that get young people out doing something fun. Issues she sees her peers struggle with are cyberbullying and mental health. She believes that by hosting events to create awareness - especially awareness that bullying can happen by accident - and then talking through restorative practices, this will help all parties see the other side and choose different actions in the future. Her goal is to see more respectful relationships in our community; she doesn’t believe everyone has to be everyone’s friend but that they have to treat each other with respect.
What makes this community great for Bella is that everyone is mostly friendly with each other, community events bring the town together, and most people know each other and don’t feel like a stranger. According to Bella, our community can only be strengthened by continuing to accept everybody, make them feel welcome and part of a big family. Most importantly, we all can help by noticing people, acknowledging them, and acknowledge what they’re saying. Bella shares that adults in our community can strengthen this by being respectful, preserving a safe community, keeping an eye on the youth to make sure they’re ok, and driving safely and slowly - acknowledging that there are other people on the road and they can get hurt based on our actions.
Bella is an incredibly inspirational person, and exhibits strong wisdom, modesty and humility. She believes in herself, works hard to refine her talents, and she does so with a smile on her face. Bella sees the good in this community and has high hopes for herself and her peers. It is apparent that her parents believe in her and there is great trust and love in their relationship. We are proud of Bella, of her drive, accomplishments, and commitment and service to youth opportunities in the community, and we know her family is too. Bella has a lot of interests she excels in and we look forward to seeing the great impact she’ll continue to make in this community.