Considering what we have all seen repeatedly in the national media and in our own Colorado backyard, young people in our nation, our state, and our local communities have picked up the mantle of commitment and are visibly impacting the world.
Colorado Young Leaders (CYL) joined Youth Services America (YSA) for their annual Global Youth Service Day event. On April 21 and 22, 2018, in 7 communities along the front range: Sheridan, Montbello, Aurora, Villa Park (West Colfax), NW Denver, Arvada, Central Colorado Springs and Highlands Ranch, teams of CYL students enlisted teens and residents of all ages to identify and solve real-world and highly visible community issues. The wrap-up numbers are impressive: 228 Youth served, 295 total people served, over 913 volunteer hours with an economic impact of $22,825! As YSA says, these young people “offer youth-led solutions to real-world problems.” This was important, visible, and valuable to each of these communities.
CYL has 5 chapters in the Colorado Springs / Denver areas. Each chapter’s student group along with their Summit Guide determined the particular problem they wanted to tackle, and an amazing range of projects evolved. Here are the 4 powerful service adventures planned and executed by CYL young leaders and their community volunteers. The first CYL service adventure in the Montbello community packed over 250 bags of pet food to support 65 pet families. Next, Youth Mental Health Field Day was the theme and service opportunity for the Douglas County chapter. Along with the non-profit group, Check-In Foundation, the day was dedicated to games, socialization, and community collaboration while raising awareness for teen mental well-being.
“What’s Chalkin’” engaged local library patrons in chalk art projects to spread joy and kindness with messages of caring. Local Smoky Hill High School youth joined CYL and contributed to the unexpected beauty available in chalk art on the sidewalk approach to an Arapahoe library. And finally, Jefferson County CYL focused on the beautification of the Majestic View Nature Center in Arvada.
In total, these 4 CYL projects have the statistics to back up the passion and commitment for service to their communities demonstrated by these young people. On that singular April weekend, these CYL / Global Youth Service Day activities accomplished the following: over 27 bags of trash and rubbish were collected, 1.5 acres of land were cleaned up with some of the recyclables used to craft 61 collaborative art pieces, 875 feet of garden pathways were made handicap accessible, and 15 new plants helped launch springtime for a local community garden.
Recognition of the value and strength of their commitment came from a variety of adult leaders: local activist and hip-hop artist, III Se7en along with professional skier Chris Anthony participated side-by-side with CYL and community participants. Additionally, the Denver City Council proclaimed CYL, a “Champion of Youth Voice”, and recognized through a formal Proclamation that April 21-22, 2018 was recognized as Global Youth Service Day in Denver and along the front range.
No project requiring this much effort happens without the support of local government, non-profit, and community organizations. CYL would like to thank its Partners, Sponsors, and Media Supporters. CYL, Youth Services America, along with these partners have proven, once again, that together a community has the power and the endurance to tackle and complete service, education, support, communication, awareness, and beautification for real-world issues impacting us all.
Gratefully the work, collaboration, and commitment of CYL continues with ongoing focus and attention to issues and projects in neighborhoods near you. Watch closely as these Colorado young leaders make a profound difference in local communities, in Colorado, and in events like Global Youth Services Day. Your support here is invited, with the benefit of a truly visible investment in all our tomorrows. Check us out at www.coloradoyoungleaders.org.