Giant steps |

Giant steps

Post Independent photo/Kelley Cox Shauna McWilliams is congratulated by YouthZone director Debbie Wilde at an informal graduation ceremony Sunday evening in Glenwood Springs. McWilliams was one of 12 teens receiving a certificate for completing a four-hour training program, TITAN (Trained Involved Teens Assisting Non-profits).

Twelve teens went from being regular kids to TITANs on Sunday. The kids graduated from a YouthZone program called Trained Involved Teens Assisting Nonprofits. Each received a diploma certifying that they’ve received four hours of training on how to be on a nonprofit board. “I thought it was kind of neat how structured the board meetings are. There’s a whole different language,” said TITAN graduate Allison Schaiberger. The kids learned nonprofit board lingo, discussed how such an organization’s finances work and held a mock meeting to get the feel for a board gathering in the real world. Haley Carmer, one of the founders of the TITAN project, said that during the training she realized one of the most important reasons for having a board is to foster diverse opinions and differing points of view. YouthZone director and TITAN coordinator Debbie Wilde shook the kids’ hands after they picked up their diplomas and said she’s excited to see how this first crop of TITANs will do once they join the boards of some of the 250 nonprofit organizations throughout the area. So far, about 10 nonprofit boards – including those of YouthZone, Colorado West Mental Health, the Frontier Historical Society and Junior Achievement – have expressed interest in allowing the teens to join. And it’s not just a token membership; all the kids who join these boards will be full, voting members.

“We’re doing something here that’s pretty unique,” Wilde said, encouraging the TITANs to choose a board that represents something they’re passionate about. “I think you should feel good about what you’ve got under your belt,” she added. Shauna McWilliams, another of the program’s founders, said she’s looking forward to joining a board. She’s already a member of a board at Glenwood Springs High School that gives out grants to nonprofits, so the TITAN program will give her a chance to see how that money is spent. “I’m really excited about this because it will give teenagers at the high school a chance to try something new,” she said. Wilde said she’s looking for a company to sponsor the program to be sure YouthZone can continue to offer it. For more information on TITAN or YouthZone, call Wilde at 945-9300. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext.

TITAN graduatesAli BrownHannah GreenstreetCarli DeanKiley CarlsonJasmine NeurothNicole Fockler

Angie VichickAllison SchaibergerSam HouptMolly JankovskySam ScrubyShauna McWilliams

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