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.

Propose a Workshop

Do you have an idea for a good workshop at this event?  We are currently accepting proposals and would love to hear from you! Past presenters have included high school students, non-profit organizations, teachers, parents, and interested members of the community. Propose your workshop idea here.

Example Workshops

Below is the list of workshops that have occurred at other YCD conferences.  We will post the updated list of workshops for the New Mexico event as the workshops are identified and confirmed by the event’s Executive Committee.

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 participate in a discussion on depression, anxiety and stress but with a positive spin. Local psychologists will provide you with some useful strategies on how to boost your happiness quotient!

A Day in the Life of an Undocumented Student

A group of students speaking.

What is it like to be an undocumented student living today in a divided America? A panel of college students will share stories of their hopes, fears and dreams in an effort to help conference participants understand the dilemma many undocumented students face today. They will also provide suggestions and resources on what we can do to provide a safe space for undocumented immigrants so that they can feel protected and empowered to continue their education or chosen work paths.

Deconstructing Identity

What are the components of your identity?  How does this compare to others, and what can we learn by understanding the different components of our identities?  Join this workshop to explore these questions and more in an interactive format.

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.

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, even chat a bit about 13 Reasons Why.

The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Finding Self through Yoga

Students doing yoga in a room.

This workshop will allow students to experience the ancient Indian practice of yoga as they discover ways yoga can benefit them in their daily lives. We will explore techniques for relaxation and stress relief to find peace with ourselves. It is through acceptance of our authentic selves that we can become prepared as vehicles for positive change in our communities and the greater world.

A Forum for LGBTQ Students

A speaker addresses a room of students.

Nadine Bridges and Hope Anderson of Rainbow Alley at The GLBT Community Center of Colorado, will share resources that are available to youth in Colorado. This session will be an informal discussion which will support LGBTQ youth. Allies are welcome to attend, to support, and learn with their LGBTQ peers. No questions will be turned down, all questions are encouraged. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde

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.

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 to Spot Fake News

A group of teenagers huddle around a person looking something up on their phone.

Are you puzzled about telling real news from fake news? Join savvy researchers to learn the tricks and tools reference librarians use to evaluate the credibility of news stories.​ Then use your new skills to rate media sources on a journalistic reliability scale.

How to Survive When You Go Homeless

A student listens to a speaker talk about becoming homeless and how to survive.

If you were to go homeless, how would you survive?  What would you include in your backpack? What would you keep and what would you need to leave behind?  Where would you eat and how can you make sure you get nutritional balance?  How would you make friends?

We will teach participants what is involved in homelessness for a deeper understanding of this marginalized and misunderstood population.

The Instagram Effect

Together, we will explore the ways that Instagram affects high school aged girls (14-19 years old) and their developing body image. During this workshop, two current students will provide insight on the effect Instagram has on them. Additionally, The Instagram Effect will provide tools and techniques to utilize social media in positive ways to resist harmful messages, foster healthy self-esteem, and encourage body positivity in young girls.

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

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 how to handle a police interaction to keep students safe and help de-escalate a tense encounter while not giving away their rights.

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.

Living Well with a Disability

Students with physical challenges address the room.

Join the Center for People with Disabilities (CPWD) for a panel discussion with individuals who have all types of disabilities.

How have they worked with issues of accessibility in school or on the job? What was a difficult social experience that they had in high school, and how did they work through it? What people in their lives have made positive differences for them? We will address how members in the audience can become allies to individuals with disabilities.

Locker Room Talk

What is “locker room talk”?  How can we create a positive culture in the locker room and athletics more broadly for everyone?

Topics will include the importance of language, casual homophobia, bullying, privacy, etc. Students will be provided a toolkit to become ambassadors for a healthy environment in this susceptible school space.

Men and Women: Breaking down the Stereotypes

Joyce Bignell addresses a room of students.

Despite confrontation, gender stereotypes still remain a heavy influence in culture today through politics, media, sports, and daily interactions. In this workshop students will learn how to confront the stereotypes that play an underlying role in male-female relations.

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!

Our Minds, Their Messages: Understanding the Media’s Impact

Students stand in a circle.

Did you know the average American spends three years of their life watching television commercials? Then add in on-line ads, billboards, magazine ads and messages from family and friends…What impact does this have on us? This interactive workshop will engage participants in a number of activities to discover which people and which bodies are valued by the media.  Attendees will leave with tools they can use for educating others in their schools, families and communities.

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.

You Must be Carefully Taught to Love or Hate

Alice Wirth leads a discussion of how family impacts our ability to love and hate.

How have the lessons from home, spoken or unspoken, shaped who you are? How has your family affected how you interact with people who are similar and different from you?

This interactive workshop will feature activities, panel discussions, and audience participation. Panelists/audience will share how lessons learned from home affect their everyday life choices and experiences. Basic tools required to become accepting of yourself and others will be provided.

Yes, You Can Fight City Hall—Let Us Teach You How

We will teach young people that do not like to accept the answer “because that is the rule” to learn how to change rules that do not make sense or that are unfair. Often rules are set up by people that do not have to live within the rules.

Instead of this cycle, we work to teach people how to change the rules that are causing the problem. When we organize and get a bunch of people together we CAN change City Hall.  Join us to learn how the disability community has been changing city halls all over the country for decades, and tools you can use to advance your cause.

You Mean, There’s RACE in My Movie?

A student smiles while in a workshop.

Why is it so difficult to get people to see “eye to eye” on matters of race? Well, in this session, we get our diverse audience to share a common perspective — mainstream movies! Learn specifically how to identify the six primary character patterns occupied by minority characters in mainstream movies and how to use these patterns to leverage more substantive and meaningful dialogues about race at school, home or within the community. You will NEVER see movies the same way again!

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.

There is No Racism Problem in America

For the last 23 years Joe has consistently received excellent ratings from those who attended this workshop.  Here are some reactions:  “Freaking awesome!”  “What an eye-opening experience”  “Turned my life around”  You will hear a brutally honest presentation about racism, stereotypes, bullying, leadership, political correctness, family, education, beliefs and more.  Recommended for those who truly celebrate diversity.

Transgender 101 and Beyond

How do we talk about gender? It isn’t simple when a transgender or gender non-conforming person expresses their real feelings. This workshop will discuss the gender spectrum through terminology, games, and personal stories. We’ll go from blue to pink and girl to boy and back.

The Truth about Adulting: The Stuff No One Tells You

A student and teacher bump fists in a school meeting.

Rushing to adulthood is something all teens want to do, it means freedom! It also means bills, insurance, career, relationships and all kinds of other stuff that no one tells you about.

Come find out about the basics of adulting. This interactive and crazy look at bills, insurance, housing, cars, jobs, promotions, money will have you laughing and crying, (and maybe wanting to live with mom and dad forever) but you will walk away armed with knowledge and hopefully a sense of humor about the stuff no one ever told you about being an adult.

What Young Adults Can Do to Prevent Terrorism

Students will have the opportunity to consider and engage in conversation about extremist groups. Radicalization and violent extremism threats are growing across Colorado. Our hope is to help students have the tools to recognize groups who radicalize, how they can identify the threat, and learn about ways to support peers to open social concerns.

Welcoming Refugees and Immigrants in Colorado

It’s no secret that refugees and immigrants have become a topic of the news. But who are they, how did they get here, and why are they here? This workshop will give you an overview about who refugees and immigrants are with personal testimonials from refugees themselves about their journey from their country to the US, and how you can welcome them in Colorado.

Xpress Yourself! Hip Hop, Poetry, and Spoken Word

Ara Cruz

Step inside this workshop and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings through hip hop, poetry, and spoken word. Give voice to our stories of love, struggle, injustice, and celebration. With our words, we can represent our culture and traditions as we strengthen our minds and better our communities.

Youth Power + Civic Change

Our democracy is broken, and young people are our future. If we want to achieve equity in our lifetime, we must know how to change the systems that operate in the world. In this workshop we’ll be exploring our identities, learning about power dynamics, and hatching a plan to build youth power to create real change.