Our view of diversity is all-inclusive.

While most people often associate the word ‘diversity’ with ethnicity, the conference deals with a wide range of topics including cliques, physical and mental challenges, religion, sexual orientation, art and music, gender, socioeconomic concerns, mental health and teenage social problems.

Best of all, the workshops offered at our event each year are chosen by students on the Executive Committee, so that the topics are constantly reflecting the needs, interests and challenges of today’s youth.

Workshops at the 2020 Conference

Below is the list of workshops that will be offered at the 2020 Cherry Creek Diversity Conference, as chosen by this year’s Executive Committee of students.

Click on any title or picture to read more about the presenter or comments/ratings from prior attendees, if the workshop has been presented before at a YCD event.  You can also view a printable list of all workshop descriptions here.

If your school has registered to come to the event and you’re ready to select your workshops for the conference, continue to the Register page. Make sure to have your school or youth organization’s registration code with you to proceed.

An #ActuallyAutistic Tour of the Spectrum

A student speaks while others listen.

This workshop is a crash course on autism, the autistic community, and the neurodiversity movement. Led by an autistic self-advocate, this workshop will break down stereotypes and misconceptions about autism in order to help clarify who we are, what we think about ourselves, and how we perceive and interact with the world. It will also provide participants with the tools to support autistic friends and family and the language to advocate alongside us.

The American Dream: How do You Fit In?

A group of students play a game to understand the challenges facing low-income families.

In this workshop we will explore privilege, and the many levels of privilege that we may have, by playing, “The American Dream” game. After playing the game, students will have a discussion around privilege, how you use it to help yourself and how can you use it to help others.

Building a Strong Diversity Club at Your School

Are you interested in creating a diversity club at your own school? Do you already have a diversity club and are looking for ways to recruit students and host events? This workshop will allow you to engage in an open dialogue, provide you with tools, tricks, and ideas to grow and nurture your own diversity club, and create space for future collaboration with educators and students from many schools.

Can You Make Yourself Happier?

A student listens to a classmate.

Students will learn about the neuro-biological basis of emotion, and participate in a positive discussion about depression, anxiety, and stress. Special emphasis will be placed on psychological tools to cope with difficult thoughts and emotions—something that everyone has! Local psychologists in-training will provide you with some useful strategies on how to boost your happiness quotient!

Changing the Narrative: Unpacking Bias

Students walk down a hallway.

This interactive workshop engages community members in a discussion about personal biases and how they impact perceptions and behaviors between law enforcement and community. The workshop allows participants to reflect on how biases show up in both their professional and personal lives. The workshop is intended to promote self-reflection, self-accountability and personal growth through dialogue and creation of action steps.

Character Counts: Not Judging People

Let’s have a discussion about students who may be “different” than their peers. Using a hands-on demonstration, we will also talk about not labeling ourselves or one another. Not judging people is harder than it may seem; do you have what it takes?

Disability, Advocacy, and Building Power

A student in a wheelchair watches as two other students write on a paper in the hallway.

Join two advocates from the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition in exploring how to become an advocate for disability rights or an ally for students with disabilities. We’ll explore the intersection of disability and white privilege. We will give you concrete ideas on how to disrupt disability oppression.

Dispelling Stereotypes of Modern Native Americans

A group of students listening to a speaker.

This workshop will help young people meet modern Native American youth, to learn about the diversity within the Native community and dispel stereotypes about Native Americans.  We’ll have an open and frank discussion on how these stereotypes have been formed, but more importantly how we can end them.

Diversity in STEM

A student smiles as she talks with another student.

This workshop will provide an interactive presentation and discussion forum about the intersection of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and minority groups. We will discuss the biases and prejudices that exist within STEM and strategies for resisting them. The presentation will focus on how a variety of minority identities (gender, sexuality, racial, religious, etc.) interact with the scientific and technical communities and how our generation can work to improve this relationship.

Empowering You to Prevent Suicide

A group of students talks and smiles.

In this session, participants will gain insight and information into the risk factors students face when it comes to suicide. We’ll debunk some myths and face some hard truths. The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Empowering Your Creative Genius Through Poetry and Spoken Word

A student performs a poem on a stage.

It’s no secret that perception is an experience unique to each individual. Perception not only creates our experiences of the world, it often dictates our behavior within our environment. In this interactive spoken word workshop, participants will be given a series of 3-minute writing prompts designed to shut down judgement, increase connection amongst peers, and release the negative stories we tell ourselves that so often hold us back. Facilitators create a fun and safe space for writers and give lots of high-fives and encouragement. A special guest performer will kick off the session, and there will also be chocolate!

Finding Your Voice and Skills for Family Conflict Resolution

Everyone experiences conflict with family members—over who we are, what we believe, and so many other things. Sometimes that conflict grows until it harms or even ends those relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way. We will discuss conflicts that you are experiencing and effective ways to deal with them. We will use small-group discussion and practical tools to help each other address conflict in positive ways.

From Slacktivism to Activism

Students listen as another person talks.

Student leaders will engage with each other about leadership, social media activism and traditional activism, how they work together and what has been the most impactful. Students attendees will share their experiences, gain ideas from others and identify ways they can engage in activism to challenge issues and promote social justice in their communities.

Gatekeeping within the LGBTQ+ Community

Two students smile.

Who gets to decide who is part of the LGBTQ+ community and who isn’t? In this workshop participants will share their experiences with gatekeeping within the LGBTQ+ community. Participants will explore this topic through an interactive activity exploring the four I’s of oppression and the ideas we have about the LBGTQ+ community (internally and externally).

Gender Fluid: Shifting on the Spectrum of Gender Identity and Expression

Looking at the back of a student with dyed hair.

We will provide an overview of the differences among biological sex or sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as well as some common gender-related terminology. Opportunities to engage and consider your own gender development and gender non-conforming experiences will be encouraged. Then, we will focus more specifically on the concept of ‘gender fluid.’ This will include a description of gender fluid, video clip examples of gender-fluid experiences, discussing common areas of difficulty/discrimination, brainstorming ways to make spaces safer for gender-fluid individuals, and practicing the use of gender affirming language.

Hate Crimes? Youth Decide the Verdict

In this workshop lawyers will lead an interactive session on Colorado’s Hate Crimes Statute.  The lawyers will present a case involving criminal hate crimes. At the conclusion of the trial, small discussion groups of students will become “juries” to discuss the issues presented and, with the assistance of an adult facilitator, reach a verdict. The group will also discuss diversity in their community and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.

Healthy Masculinity = Healthy Men

Students in discussion.

It’s no secret that the quality of life for many men and boys has declined in the past several decades—from addictions to absent fathers, and failure to launch, to suicide across the lifespan. Dr. Steve Rissman, who has developed a Men’s Health program at MSU Denver, will discuss the roadblocks to healthy manhood, based our society’s “man rules”. He will show how those rules impede physical, social, emotional and psychological health. Finally, as a group we will create solutions for improving health for men/boys. By exploring this important relationship between masculinity norms and health, we can begin to improve the lives of men, boys, and ultimately everyone.

Hip-Hop and Social Justice

A singer performs in front of an audience.

Learn the art and history of hip-hop dance and its social justice context in a full body immersion. Make a choreographed dance that anyone can learn and add their own personal flavor, and explore your own sense of style and expression.

A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

A Holocaust survivor speaks to a group of students.

A survivor of the Holocaust will share stories about living through a period of time where diversity and respect for others was at its lowest point in human history. Most importantly, participants will understand why we must never forget what happened in the Holocaust.

How Much Does it Cost to Live (and Survive) in Colorado?

A student reads the program for the conference.

How much does rent cost? Childcare? Food and gas? Here’s your chance to balance and budget and understand what it will take to survive as an adult once you’ve graduated from high school or college. We’ll use the self-sufficiency standard research done by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy to explore and understand how much it takes for families to live and survive in different parts of the state.

How to Pay for College Without Going Broke

Students listen intently.

Is paying for college scaring you from applying? Does the financial aid process freak you out? In this session, we will break down it down into simple steps. We will talk about in-state tuition, grants, scholarships and loans, and share some creative ways to save money and pay for college. Learn about common mistakes and hurdles and how to avoid them. Bring your cell phone or laptop or a notepad because you’ll get some websites with resources. This session will cover financial aid options for DACA, Dreamer and undocumented students too.

Human Trafficking of Youth in Colorado

Youth and young adults hold specific vulnerabilities directly tied to their identity.  These vulnerabilities connect to age, adult authority relationships, access to economics, sexual and gender identity, race, color, education, etc.  This training will explore the root causes of the crime of human trafficking and the inequalities that can lead to trafficking, to help participants recognize the realities of human trafficking.

Intersectionality 101

Participants will learn the basics of identity and intersectionality through fun interactive activities and connecting with others through dialogue. Participants will then be able to connect their own experiences with identity to larger concepts such as privilege, stereotyping, and oppression. This workshop is perfect for those who need an introduction into intersectionality or want to deepen their understanding of social justice concepts.

An Introduction to Women’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Self-Defense

Teen girls and women participate in a training on Brazilian jiu jitsu for self-defense.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is ideal for women.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created specifically to allow the smaller person to overcome the bigger, stronger, more aggressive opponent through the proper use of timing, positioning, leverage, and technique.  When women are attacked, they are often taken to the ground by a larger, more aggressive assailant and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, known for its devastatingly effective ground fighting techniques, directly addresses this situation.  Because of this, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is often recognized as the single most effective self-defense system in the world, especially for women.  Take advantage of this opportunity to introduce yourself to the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

Islam and Islamophobia

Reema Wahdan addresses a classroom.

Islamophobia is the discrimination and oppression of Muslims. This workshop will serve as an open forum for students and adults to ask questions freely as they learn some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the Islamic faith and Muslim people. This session will also help participants understand how xenophobia against any race, religion or ethnicity should not be tolerated.

Know Your Rights: Students’ Rights

All people in the United States enjoy the same constitutional protections, regardless of nationality, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, disability and gender. The best way to protect your rights is to know your rights. In this workshop, the ACLU of Colorado will share information on students’ rights related to free speech, dress codes, privacy, LGBTQ rights, and immigrants’ rights.  We’ll also cover what to do if your school violates these protections.

Lest We Forget . . .

Cassandra Sewell telling stories to a group of students.

We will use storytelling to take a journey through American history from the perspective of the African American woman. The journey begins with slavery and travels into present day America. Racism, hatred, and stereotyping are some of the many topics touched upon in this presentation. We will end with a group discussion on how society has changed–for better or worse–to present day, and the power of one.

My Ethics versus Your Values

Effley Brooks addresses a room.

This interactive workshop will challenge students to explore their ethics and values that have been formed throughout their lives. They will face ethical dilemmas and practice communication techniques when faced with different thinking. There will be laughter!

Navigating Healthy Relationships: It’s Complicated

A student smiles as the group around him navigates a human knot.

Teen dating is hard. Texting, social media, and navigating the school environment make romantic relationships really hard. What are healthy and unhealthy qualities in a relationship? How do I kindly and respectfully break up with someone? This workshop will discuss what to look for in a healthy relationship and how to communicate better with your partner.

Preventing Sexual Violence and Supporting Survivors

A student smiles in a group.

This session will explore the power youth have to create spaces where sexually inappropriate or violent behaviors are recognized, and intervention occurs to support survivors. We will use small group activities and discussion to expand recognition of a range of sexually violent behaviors and the impacts of these behaviors, the systems in place to address these behaviors, and identify how youth have opportunities to intervene at all points as positive bystanders. Youth will practice bystander intervention using real life scenarios commonly described by high school students. Youth presenters will encourage participants to think creatively and develop a broad variety of intervention techniques, honoring personalities, identity, and safety. Presenters will create a safe space to facilitate honest, non-judgmental conversations throughout the session.

Reclaiming Our Stories

As LGBTQ+, people of color, and/or individuals with disabilities our stories are often crafted and told by others. During this workshop youth will learn about the untold stories of diverse people throughout history who advocated for their communities. Participants will engage in the process to explore their own experiences to create personal stories. They will be given and brainstorm ways to use these narratives for activism.

Religious Diversity: Working Together Across Differences

Two members of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado lead a discussion with teenagers on religious diversity.

Join leaders from the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and learn about how people from all the world’s religions can work together to create a more just and unified world. This participatory workshop will include leaders from a variety of faiths, and together, we will do more than just talk about religions working together—we’ll get to do it.

Shifting Your Perception

This transformative workshop consists of brain teaser exercises, illusions, videos and activities to explore how we see and what choices we make because of those beliefs. During this interactive experience we uncover origins that shaped our perceptions of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ability and appearance. We depict how the factors shaping our beliefs from our experiences and environment to the media influences choices with detrimental or beneficial results. In this heightening self-awareness session you will receive empowerment strategies to heal from harmful experiences and rid yourself of destructive conditioning in order to break unhealthy habits, attain self-love and build empathy and sincere relationships. Leave feeling stronger and uplifted with a newly evolved approach toward the treatment of self and others.

Telling Your Story

Students smile at the camera.

Join the City of Denver’s Chief Storyteller for a session on how to craft and tell stories in a captivating way.  We’ll explore how we can all use storytelling to find our voice, express our identity and share our passion for positive social change.

Theatre Games: Diversity of Perspectives

Ryan Foo works with students.

Diversity isn’t just about our upbringing, culture, and affluence—it’s also about our state of mind. Explore with Ryan Foo from the Black Actors Guild as you journey through improv games that are designed to push the very limits of your perspective and understanding. The workshop will help participants develop an understanding of perspective, relationship, and growth.

Understanding Immigration and Immigrants

Marissa Molina speaks to the audience.

We hear a lot of talk about immigration and immigrants from politicians and in the media. But how many immigrants have you met directly? Join us for this workshop where a panel of guest speakers will share their immigration stories and help us challenge our stereotypes on this politically hot topic.

West African Dance

Djeneba Sako

Come dance with the one and only Djeneba Sako from Mali, West Africa. Djeneba will share traditional and contemporary dances and choreography from Mali and get you moving!

Yoga IRL

This workshop delivers the benefits of yoga, in real life. Those who attend Yoga IRL can expect to gain knowledge and perspective of their individual existence, and how that relates to their environment and those around them. We will feature body awareness exercises, on and off our mats. We will learn strategies for experiencing everyday emotions—fear and excitement, anger and joy—in more than just our heads. And we will explore how all of that fits into the complex world around us. This is the yoga no one talks about … yet.

Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Victory

Many people don’t know that, for the first time in Colorado’s history, eligible 17-year-olds will be able to vote in 2020! Join us for a collaborative, exciting workshop during which we’ll explore: why voting matters, barriers to voting, how to become the vote captain of your community and build a powerful movement, and the crucial role 17-year-olds will play in the 2020 elections.

Youth Homelessness in Colorado

Two students engaged in a discussion.

Founded in 1988, Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization that provides full services for youth ages 15-24 experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. After an overview of homelessness in Colorado, a panel of young people currently experiencing homelessness will share their personal stories about the barriers, struggles, and victories they encounter on a daily basis.  They will also provide suggestions on what you can do to assist teens who may find themselves in similar situations.