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    • Difference Maker :Tsvetelina Fuentes

      “I hope more people think they are capable and decide to be curious about different ways of accomplishing something. I also hope more people of all ages participate in activities and actions that promote inclusion and diversity.” This encouraging statement comes from Tsvetelina Fuentes, who, for the past 13 years, has created environments in classrooms where students felt cared for, encouraged, and believed in. This type of environment cannot just stay in the classroom, it needs to exist outside of school in our daily lives, which is exactly what Tsvetelina has achieved. After noticing a decline in students' academics when quarantine started, she knew students would fall behind, and something needed to be done. Tsvetelina reached out to Sandy Schroeder, Director of Community Engagement, with the idea for some of Valley’s Voice Youth to tutor students that needed extra help with academics. The idea was presented to several Valley’s Voice high school and college students and they were excited about the opportunity. From the start, Tsvetelina said that it was “so rewarding to work with young people who are so motivated and driven to provide service to the community.” The “Tu Guia” or “your guide” summer tutoring program started with 18 students and nearly doubled by the end of the summer. One reason for its success was that when someone is passionate about something, others pay attention, start following and join in. The passion and dedication from Tsvetelina and tutors like Britney Chavez, Olivia Soukup, Victoria Aragon, Claire Krueger, Joslyn Sanchez, and Alex Lange, inspired other students and teachers to join. Tutors would come to Tsvetelina daily with their new ideas, and she saw how much heart the students were putting into their work. Another reason for the success of Tu Guia was the connection that the tutors were making with the students. These connections help build relationships, which encourages social and emotional learning. Tsvetelina taught the importance of these connections in workshops she led at the start of Tu Guia. When their parents signed them up for this program, these students now had a tutor who believed in them and pushed for their success. This push gave students the tools needed to increase interest in their academics. A Tu Guia student’s math skills have improved drastically from the previous year, receiving praise from a teacher only a week into the school year. Not only have there been significant growth in student's skills, but the tutors have also flourished. This valuable project is teaching diversity, equity, and cultural awareness. During the summer tutoring, the students were not the only ones learning. Tsvetelina knew that social and emotional learning started with support from parents. For seven weeks, Tsvetelina taught parent workshops that focused on self-awareness, self-regulation, relationship skills, problem-solving, social and emotional skills, and decision making. These workshops taught parents how to engage and motivate their children. Tsvetelina's secret for parental education was getting them to act like kids. When kids are silly and creative they get excited about learning, causing them to learn best. Throughout the workshops, parents worked to increase productivity, memory tools, motivation, and gratitude. All of these skills were focused on parenting, but also translated to other areas of their lives, making them better people and professionals. Throughout the seven weeks, the parents were in an environment where they felt heard and valued. The workshop created a place where group discussion was encouraged, gratitude was abundant, and a community was formed. Many parents did not want the sessions to end and even described that the whole experience of Tu Guia as life-changing. Tsvetelina fills up her life with as many opportunities to educate as she can. Aside from being a Multilingual Teacher, helping with Tu Guia, and leading the parent workshops, she is the founder of Fuentes Learning, LLC, and is a brain health coach and speaker. She works with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and U.B.U to bring the community an email campaign called the weekly Pause. The hope is that the Pause can be a ray of sunshine or hope into someone’s life, by allowing them to take a break from the craziness. The weekly email addresses multiple modes of understanding and learning how to improve one's overall wellbeing. This is one of her favorite projects, offered in both English and Spanish. Each week they provide video interviews from community members that relate to each topic. She encourages everyone to subscribe! Community is valuable to all of us. Tsvetelina has been doing incredible things to bring people together, and provide important resources. We applaud her for all of her hard work and dedication to the community. If you are interested in receiving emails from the pause, sign up here. To learn more about Tu Guia email ajohnson@mountainyouth.org

    • Youth Spotlight: Kimberly Mayorga

      The future of Vail Valley is in the hands of our youth, and with Kimberly Mayorga, the future looks bright. Kim is a dancer, a leader, an activist, and an inspiration to anyone lucky enough to work with her. Growing up in the Valley, Kim has taken advantage of every opportunity presented to her, and has always been incredibly active in the community. Currently, Kim’s involvement is focused on service. For Valley’s Voice, she is a tutor for the Tu Guia Program and a new member of the youth executive board. At EVHS, she is an active member of Student Leadership (StuCo), an executive committee member of their Make a Wish program, and a participant in Mountain Youth’s Diversity Council event (September 2019). While Kim naturally exudes qualities of a leader, she continuously seeks ways to “step up” and give back. Mountain Youth hosted an event on July 12th, The He(art) of Vail Valley’s Youth, where Kim showcased her talent, creativity, and desire to make change. The event featured art created by young people from across Eagle County, and Kim submitted not one, but two pieces. The first was a gorgeously choreographed modern dance representing life during quarantine. The second was a voice recording in which Kim discussed why Black Lives Matter is such an important movement for her—it was a powerful display that demanded attention and brought many to tears. When asked why she created the recording, she responded saying “It was 2 in the morning, and I thought, ‘I am going to do this. I am going to talk about this’” because people need to hear it: “Growing up, the closest I got to racism was it being said to my parents. Growing up being Mexican and having pale skin I never experienced racism personally. I was never told to go back to my country like some of my friends were. I was never excluded from anything like my parents were ... I have privilege and I am aware of it … This is why I fight for Black Lives Matter. Because although it hasn’t affected me personally, I realize that it is affecting millions around me … This is indeed a huge issue that needs to be fixed and it is up to our generation to do something about it. I will fight for BLM, I will fight for immigrants … My voice has been quiet for way too long and it is about time I start using it because I have a lot to say. I promise you I will strive to create change in our valley because change is needed and we are going to create it.” (Excerpt from “A Message from A Pale 16-Year-Old Mexican” by Kim Mayorga) As you can tell, Kim is willing to stand up for what she believes and better her community in the process. Academically, Kim is equally as impressive. She takes as many AP Classes as possible, enrolled in two classes at CMC this summer, and plans on graduating high school with an Associates Degree in addition to her high school diploma. It is rare to find someone who can blend creative and analytical thinking, but Kim thrives in both the world of the arts and in her math and chemistry classes. It may be surprising, but this dancer’s favorite subject is math. As a tutor, Kim loves teaching kids about math—and about how it can be fun. One student who Kim is tutoring was also last year’s EVHS Make a Wish recipient, and he loves Kim’s math lessons so much that he asked her to meet more often than they already were! Kim loves teaching but also appreciates what kids can teach her—even if the lessons are hard. “Little kids are really critical. I improve from that.” More than anything else, Kim loves to dance. She has danced at nearly every studio in the valley, including Vail Valley Dance Academy, Studio 8100 in Avon, and More2Dance in Eagle. Also, Kim did an internship with Celebrate the Beat where she was an assistant to Eagle County CTB director Kris Ashley and was an ambassador for the Vail Dance Festival. Today, she is an independent dancer with a big support system. Plus, she plans to pursue dance as a minor in college. Kim is going into her junior year at EVHS and we are so excited to see what she accomplishes next.

    • Anabel Johnson - Youth Spotlight

      Anabel Johnson: REVEALED! Mountain Youth absolutely does NOT want Anabel Johnson to be our best kept secret. But, her contributions to date (67 days from her date of hire as a matter of fact) have been kept secret for too long. In fact, those contributions have been so significant, she is selected as this month’s Youth in the Spotlight. Here, we are going to use the official definition of “youth”, which includes individuals up to 25 years of age. She is a 2020 graduate of Boston College who has decided to return to this beloved valley to begin her professional career. One of the biggest criteria for her interview committee, a group of 6 high school-aged youth, was that the Youth Engagement Coordinator be young-ish and relatable. Anabel exudes these qualities and that has led her to 67+ days of amazing success. Here is Anabel, by the numbers. Since her official start date on May 15, 2020, she has accomplished the following: 7 Valley’s Voice Passion Projects. She has been involved in the development, proposal, implementation, and evaluation of 7 projects that are driven by youth and adult supported. Highlighted projects include ProtectOurValley, a COVID response project for 19 to 25 year old; Tu Guia, a student/family academic support system to reduce summer regression caused by COVID; and Screenagers, The Next Chapter, an interactive family engagement opportunity on how to cope with stress and anxiety. 19 + 6 + 12 youth participating in Passion Projects, each helping to develop leadership skills in the youth who direct the projects. That youth leadership ends up affecting the lives of individuals. The 19 youth who are working with English Language Development families are teaching adults how to help their own children, teaching children valuable skills, and their own personal take-away is the pride they feel for being a catalyst for that change. Anabel manages their growth and shares it with others. The 6 is the number of young people who contributed to the development of a new Youth Center in Edwards and the 12 are the youth who serve on the Youth Executive Board of Valley’s Voice. 64 + art submissions for Heart of the Vail Valley that were displayed on June 29th to celebrate how art is therapeutic in times of stress and anxiety. From soup (all of the local artists and adult role models who presented at the event) to nuts (the virtual presence and presentation by all-star Mikaela Shiffrin), Anabel facilitated, coordinated, organized, and implemented the 4-hour experience. How? She craftily delegated youth to leadership roles and had adults support along the way. Folks, not just anyone can do this; Anabel made this happen. 10 + 19 families + children who receive support from a Passion Project called Tu Guia. While the project itself is run by youth, it is Anabel who manages all of the behind the scenes necessities: scheduling meetings, troubleshooting communication, getting tutors paid, monitoring successes and challenges and so much more. These are families whose children already struggle in school as English Language Development students and who had been at risk of falling behind their peers. By teaching parents and supporting children, their academic careers will be greatly improved. $5029.90 into the hands of young people who are working to affect change here in Eagle County. Each youth who participates in the Passion Projects and submits a time sheet is paid a minimum of 15$ per hour. That adds up and it is Anabel who is doing the adding and the tracking. Youth voice has value and making sure that value is rewarded is part of what Anabel brings to her role. 91,160 people reached on FaceBook accounts. The stats say that almost 100K people were engaged at He(Art) of the Vail Valley’s Youth on that one day. The message was all about the use of art to help cope with difficulties in life, a message not only for youth, but for adults, too. Anabel, with her passion for the arts and experience to match, brought this message to people across our county and across the world. Cosmic, my friends. Cosmic. And, Eagle County Community, that is just the beginning of her professional career. As a Battle Mountain student, she served on the Youth Leadership Council with Mountain Youth and helped direct change at that time as a member of the Board of Directors. With her robust experience in theater, organizing events, working with young people, and making community impact, we will all be seeing much, much more of Anabel. Consider her “revealed” now.

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    • All Youth Thrive | Mountain Youth | Edwards,CO

      youth /yo͞oTH/ noun: youth; plural noun: youths the period between childhood and adult age; anyone between the ages of 9 and 25. Aprendiendo Juntos | Consejos Para Mantenerse Saludable Facebook Live Event Do you want to be a tutor? ¿Necesitas un tutor? Do you need a tutor? Show More

    • Where To Go | Mountain Youth

      Where To Go LGBTQ+ Healthy Kids Colorado Survey Behavioral Health Parenting Resource Directory Safe & Sober Driving Show More

    • Press + Newsletters

      Annual Report 2019 Mountain Youth Annual Report Click what Mountain here to read Youth accomplished in 2019.

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