Join us for the second annual Mountain West Diversity Conference on Saturday, October 27, 2018!

This event is built on YCD’s highly successful model of bringing together students and teachers from public and private, large and small, urban and rural schools to build community, spark dialogue, and initiate positive change in Colorado’s schools and communities. All Western Slope high school students and supportive faculty advisors are invited to join us.

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

Last year we were pleased to be joined by 19 schools and youth organizations, with a total attendance over 250, and we anticipate an even larger audience joining us in 2018. The conference will take place at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum, Colorado, centrally located in the Colorado Rockies for most mountain-area schools to be within 2 hours’ driving time.  You can get directions to the event here.

Keynote Speaker Announced

Marissa Molina

The Executive Committee of students planning the Mountain West Diversity Conference are excited to announce the keynote speaker for the event, Marissa Molina.

A native of Mexico, Marissa grew up in the Western Slope of Colorado in Glenwood Springs. She attended Fort Lewis College, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Political Science and Economics. As a 2014 Teach for America Corps Member, Marissa taught Spanish for Native Speakers at DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School. In July 2015, Marissa was one of nine educators with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status to be honored by the White House as a Champion of Change. She was recognized for being a strong role model for her students and their families as well as being an agent of change within her community. She currently works for Rocky Mountain Prep as the Manager of Community Engagement.

Conference Goals

The conference changes dynamically each year under the guidance of our Executive Committee, a group of some twenty students from across the Western Slope who volunteer their time, select workshop topics and speakers, and undergo a deeper exploration of diversity and social issues throughout the year.

Our goals are to:

  • Promote diversity and understanding within and among students attending Colorado’s public and private high schools;
  • Focus on any issue that might impact a student’s ability to achieve academically or socially, both in and out of the school setting;
  • Provide an opportunity for students from public and private, large and small, urban and rural schools to share ideas in a cooperative atmosphere;
  • Establish a supportive network of students, faculty and administrators committed to carrying out these goals; and
  • Empower participants to speak out or take action in their local schools and communities and increase tolerance and appreciation of diversity.

Who Should Attend

The Mountain West Diversity Conference is open to all high school students and supportive teachers/adults from across the Western Slope. We welcome people from all backgrounds to join us.

In particular, this event is a great opportunity for groups such as:

  • Diversity or multicultural student clubs
  • Student councils
  • Peace/conflict resolution-focused organizations, including PeaceJam and Interact
  • Religious student organizations interested in exploring interfaith dialogue and positive social change
  • Peer counselors
  • Deaf and blind students and their allies, including ASL signing clubs
  • Creative writing and performance student groups, including poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, dance and other clubs
  • Students from a local youth organization, even if they attend different schools
  • ANY group of teens interested in improving their school’s culture or making a positive change in their community

Note each group is required to be chaperoned by at least one adult or teacher, who we call their “faculty advisor.” This adult is responsible for registering the school to attend, resolving payment and chaperoning the group on the day of the event. As the conference date nears, we will collect names and workshop choices from individual attendees.

Empowerment Projects

As part of YCD’s commitment to empowering students to improve their local schools and communities, our program now asks all participating schools and youth organizations to brainstorm, conduct and report on a project after the conference.

We provide each school group with time at the end of the event to meet and discuss what they experienced throughout the day, but more importantly to brainstorm a project or activities inspired by the conference. These projects can take a variety of forms and should be determined by the students of each school.

Some examples and ideas include:

  • Bringing in a guest speaker and inviting others throughout the school to an upcoming club meeting
  • Conducting a community service project
  • Watching a film that highlights issues relevant to students, followed by a discussion
  • Passing new resolutions at a Student Council meeting
  • Meeting with school or local government officials to advocate for changes needing support from administration
  • Starting a diversity club
  • Hosting a diversity conference for the school’s entire student body
  • Creating a skit on a social issue and performing for local middle or elementary school students
  • Or any other project you can think of!

We will ask each school attending the 2018 Mountain West Diversity Conference to report back on their plan within 6 weeks after the conference. YCD can assist schools with finding appropriate guest speakers, connecting you to local organizations, or even providing microgrants for costs involved with the project. Once the project is completed, we also ask for your group to conduct some form of evaluation to measure the impact or outcome of the initiative.

If you have any questions or concerns about this empowerment project requirement for attending the conference, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Registration

If you’re ready to reserve spots for your school or organization at the Mountain West Diversity Conference, head over to register here.

Select Your Workshops at the Conference

Ready to sign up for your spot at the Mountain West Diversity Conference? Click here to select your workshops at the event.