Latino Youth Summit returns to CMC’s Spring Valley Campus |

Latino Youth Summit returns to CMC’s Spring Valley Campus

Submitted PhotoCMC student access and success coordinator Aide Arana worked on the Latino Youth Summit workshop schedule that includes student requests for health care information on STDs, career choices and CMC academic programs. This year's summit has expanded from last year's and takes place throughout the Spring Valley Campus.

While the winter semester break continues through Jan. 11 for Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus, a very important student gathering takes place there on Jan. 6.

Approximately 300 students from highs school in the Roaring Fork Valley and Rifle will participate in the second annual Latino Youth Summit, this year titled “Leadership and Understanding.”

A collaborative project of the Re-1 school district, the Stepstone Center, La Mision newspaper, and Colorado Mountain College, the day-long event will commemorate Basalt High School student Dayan Diaz, whose suicide in 2002 led to the organization of this event specifically designed to address issues important to Latino youth. At the time of her death, Diaz was a teen mother to a baby boy.

CMC’s Mariana Velasquez-Schmahl worked with participants of last year’s summit and is youth outreach coordinator for the college’s Student Access and Success Office. “Through their participation in the summit activities, we’re giving these students tools and resources to deal with and improve their lives.”

This year’s summit will be conducted mostly in Spanish; translation will be provided for the few English-only workshops. Workshops will be presented on drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and child development, domestic violence, suicide prevention, and immigration education. Responding to specific requests from last year’s participants, additional workshops have been added.

According to CMC student access and success coordinator Aide Arana, “We asked the students through a survey to tell us what information they would like presented. From their responses, we are providing health care information on STDs as well as an information fair on career choices, academic programs at CMC, and fun activities. We’re including wall-climbing leadership and trust activities, salsa and hip-hop dancing and an art activity.”

The art project will be a mural of tiles painted by the students during the Summit. The Carbondale Clay center will help arrange and connect the tiles that will later be installed at Basalt High School.

Presenters for this year’s Latino Youth Summit include: Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program, Family Visitor Programs, Advocate Safehouse, Colorado West, Mountain Family Health, CMC, Christopher Maier, Carbondale Clay Center, Albino Garcia, and La Mision.

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