Thank you to the students and teachers of the Western Slope for an amazing day! 

In October 2017, we were thrilled to have 19 schools and youth organizations participating at the 1st annual Mountain West Diversity Conference, with a total attendance over 225.

Below are articles that appeared across the Western Slope about last year’s program and its impact. If you are a journalist (student or professional) and would like to do a story on YCD, the Mountain West Diversity Conference or teen activism on diversity issues, please contact us.

Student organizers hope to make Mountain West Diversity Conference an annual event

The Vail Daily, November 13, 2017

… Last month, approximately 250 high school students from Eagle County, Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction and Fruita met for the inaugural Mountain West Diversity Conference. The event, which was planned and hosted by Eagle Valley High School students and supported by Youth Celebrate Diversity, was almost a year in the making and was the first of its kind in this part of the state.

Vail Daily articleEagle Valley juniors Alondra Escobar, Kalista Farmer and Jamie Rawlings were integral in bringing the event to the valley, and prior to the start of the conference, they were eager to discuss what they hoped their fellow students would gain from the event.

“So many kids from the Western Slope had to cancel going to (the Cherry Creek Diversity Conference) due to the winter weather, we wanted to bring it here, and we are hoping that after we graduate, the legacy that we’ve started will continue,” Rawlings said. “We want to celebrate inclusion and acceptance so that all students feel like they belong.”

“We met with our high school advisor at the end of last year to see if we could bring this cool experience to our valley to show kids that we care about diversity,” Escobar said.

The trio — part of the student executive committee, led by Eagle Valley High School language arts teacher Hannah Shapiro — gave the opening remarks before students went to their choice of one of several workshops.

“We want everyone to have big takeaways,” Farmer said. “I hope we have an environment inclusive to everyone so that one person’s goals are another person’s goals because we are a group.”

Continue reading here on vaildaily.com.

Lindsey Simbeye and Lexi Miller: Diversity is important topic for youth

Steamboat Pilot & Today, November 1, 2017

… As a take-away from the event, Teen Council members discussed ways to become more diverse in their own schools and local environment.

Steamboat Pilot article on October 10A student from Hayden is exploring ways to include more students who may feel left out of alternative activities, including extending personal invitations to attend. Students from Steamboat Springs are looking at ways to diversify their friend groups by having lunch with students they may not engage with on a normal basis.

Diversity is an important topic for our youth and bringing those issues to light through discussion is one way we can spark change within our own communities. Conversing with peers from other walks of life helps students feel heard and walk away with the idea that they too can have an impact and a voice in their communities. Continue reading here at steamboattoday.com.

Conference will allow Routt County students to focus on diversity

Steamboat Pilot & Today, October 10, 2017

… One of those speakers will be Carlotta Walls LaNier, who was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine — a group of African-American students who were the first African-American students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. She was the first African-American female to graduate from Central High School.

Steamboat Pilot article - October 10LaNier will kick the day off and then students from different geographic areas will be split into discussion groups.

“The students are expected to engage with their peers and other students at the conference,” Miller said.

In the afternoon, the students will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions addressing race and ethnicity, gender, disabilities, hate crimes, stereotypes, self care, art, music and yoga.

“We are lucky to have this opportunity to take students to this event,” Miller said. “This gives them the opportunity to talk without adults around and hopefully get into conversations about what they see in their communities, schools and friends and how they can be more inclusive and understanding of others.” Continue reading at steamboattoday.com.