Mountain Youth recognizes the importance of having a trusted adult in the life of every child; someone they can look up to as a consistent support and positive role model. While we can celebrate that 70% of local middle and high school students report having an adult to go to for help with a serious problem, that still leaves over 1,000 youth in our community, or 14 school buses packed-full of students, that claim they do not have someone to go to turn to (2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey). Fortunately, Battle Mountain High School graduate and Colorado Mountain College student Joslyn Sanchez is quick to acknowledge individuals who have had a substantial impact on her life, and in turn, is committed to making a difference for others. As songwriter and pastor, Steven Furtick eloquently states, “The voice you believe will determine the future you experience.” These figures have encouraged Joslyn to work hard, give back, and find hope for the future.
Joslyn has sought out these voices to provide her with guidance through sunny and cloudy times. Mary Ezequelle, a spiritual clinician and reiki master, introduced Joslyn to meditation and alternative methods of healing. Mary provided emotional support and connected Joslyn to critical resources during dark times of need, and planted seeds for new opportunities for Joslyn once the sun came out. Etta McCarthy, known endearingly as “Grandma Etta” to many, served as a religious guide for Joslyn. A patient and compassionate artist, Etta frequently loaded Joslyn and many neighbors into her van for adventures throughout the state and developed incentive-based bible study programs in the community. “Etta helped me see that there is more to the world. She is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet and helped me realize a sense of hope,” reflects Joslyn. Finally, there is mom. Joslyn describes her mother as the most hard-working person she has ever known, stemming from her rough childhood dropping out of elementary school to sell homemade gelatin on the street corner in order to help provide for herself and nine younger siblings. Joslyn’s mother was a primary provider for her and her siblings, and essentially held the role that two parental figures play in many households. Her mother inspired her work ethic, as well as her healthy ego, instilling in Joslyn that no matter how much she achieves, she is never above anyone else.
Joslyn is grateful to have connected with positive role models who have influenced her ambitious mindset. They have taught her good from bad, and helped her learn how to navigate hard times. In turn, she is eager to be a support for others. “You never know what life has in store. Be present, enjoy each day before it becomes a memory, and make a positive mark,” Joslyn advises. She continues, “No matter where I end up, I always want to remember where I come from and how I grew, and to encourage others to do the same.” One of Joslyn’s fondest service memories was a mission trip to Utah with Trinity Church, where she aided young women transitioning out of polygamous lifestyles, one of whom she still visits with to this day. Born and raised in Eagle County, Joslyn is now focuses on giving back to this community.
Mountain Youth is honored to welcome Joslyn Sanchez as the newest member of the team, serving as Mountain Youth’s Youth Advisor. Joslyn’s bubbly personality coupled with her passion for connecting and serving as a bridge for the community are incredible assets. Joslyn is jumping right in, helping to lead multiple projects including PowerThru- a hub for activities, advice and connection for young people. This work has enabled Joslyn to reconnect with her artistic self as a dancer and musician. As she excitedly describes, “This is what makes me who I am; the artistic, creative side is a big part of my identity.” Check out Joslyn’s free guitar lessons at powerthru.us, and stay tuned for the July 12th He(art) of the Valley event where Joslyn plans to showcase some of her work alongside other young people including Mikaela Schiffrin, spotlighting arts as a means to overcome stress and challenges.
Looking for advice on how to lead an intentional, impactful life like Joslyn? She offers the following words of wisdom:
It doesn’t matter where you come from. What matters is what you do with yourself despite your background.
A specific moment will never come back. Try to make your interactions and experiences the best of yourself… it’s what you leave behind.
It’s ok to ask for help.
Michelle Stecher is the executive director of Mountain Youth, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports prevention programs and strategies. Mountain Youth continuously and collaboratively improves the lives of youth in the most powerful ways possible. In addition to positive youth development, Mountain Youth offers various levels of student and family education and training. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit www.mountainyouth.org