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.

Breaking the Chains: Engaging Young Men of Color in School

One student speaks while another looks at him intently.

In this student-led workshop, the Student Board of Education/5280 Challenge team from the Denver Center for International Studies will help participants reflect upon the status of young men of color in schools, as well as share and develop strategies to engage them. Young men of color, particularly African American and Raza male students, are often absent from leadership roles in school, find themselves alienated in classes, and are targeted for harsh disciplinary practices. Each group of participants will develop ways to address this problem in schools. All of us means ALL of us.

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!

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?

College is Like a Kitchen: Making Yourself at Home Once You Leave Home

A student speaks while another listens.

College is meant to be a time of exploration and purposeful community. Kitchens are often the most common room in a house where people tend to gather and just like college, you are being asked to show up, gather, have a seat at the table and begin a life long conversation focused on growth and exploration. Through the use of poignant question asking, personal story, and interactive dialogue we will talk about embracing the college experience with hope and anticipation.

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.

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.

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.

Gun Violence Prevention and Student Action

Student smile and make peace signs for the camera.

This workshop, led by a few select students from Team Enough and Students Demand Action, will inform students about the history and complexities of gun violence in America, the student activism movement focused around gun violence prevention, counter arguments, and solutions being advocated for federally and in Colorado. Students who have made a name for themselves in this movement will provide personal experiences, expertise, opportunities and ways for other students to get involved nationally, statewide, and in their own communities. This workshop will give students access to gun violence prevention tools and groups, and will inspire students to stand up for what they believe in.

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.

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: Fight for Gender Equality in the #MeToo Era

Students in discussion.

So you’re passionate about gender equality. Now what? What can you contribute in the fight for equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities? What is the #MeToo movement and how can you be a part of it?

In this workshop, you’ll learn some challenges that women and girls face worldwide. You’ll also learn some of the strengths and limitations of social media in the fight for gender equality, especially in the #MeToo era. You’ll get a chance to analyze the voices and stories we hear in the media and have some space to reflect on what they say and who they include. You’ll walk away with some concrete strategies for advocating for gender equality to make a difference in your school, with your group of friends, even in your own home. Young people carry a tremendous amount of power for equality. Learn how to use it!

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.

Inclusion, Identity and Belonging

A diverse group of students smile for the camera.

Starting with a spirited and interactive conversation—joining participant ideas and definitions regarding difference and inclusivity with common, current best practices—this workshop moves into a fun and dynamic small group activity surrounding identity, membership, and belonging, including associated challenges. Together, we will then define our vision for a perfectly inclusive world and work toward ideas and commitments to bring this vision to light. Wrapping up, we will reveal a specific commitment from each participant that is conceived in a very special format, bringing the workshop to a very comprehensive pin point of knowledge, ideas, and realistic future action steps.

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.

Left versus Right: Politics and Diversity

Corey Jones smiles and points his finger in front of a screen about left versus right.

Have you have ever had a debate, conversation or argument with someone with different political views? Maybe you feel uncomfortable sharing your views with others, for fear of being judged or criticized. If so, then you’ll want to attend this fun and interactive workshop to learn how to respectfully engage others in meaningful conversations about the issues that affect our world.

Lessons Learned from Home: 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.

Managing Anxiety after a School Lockdown

A teen girl speaks while another teen boy listens.

If you’re a teen, the fear and anxiety of a school lockdown are all too real. It’s as if school lockdowns are becoming our new norm, establishing an all-too-familiar cycle of fear, devastation, and loss. Participants will explore their own feelings that come with high school lockdowns and school shootings, and learn coping mechanisms for handling these situations.

The Many Faces of Privilege

A group of teachers put post-it notes on the wall.

During this session participants will generate a common understanding of privilege, and the many ways it impacts our lives. We will discuss multiple ways in which we all have some privilege, and which privileges have the most impact in our lives. Finally, we will consider what it might mean to give up some privilege we have.

Mindfulness for Teens

A group of students stand in a line thinking and listening.

We can’t change our biases until we know what they are, and mindfulness can serve as a tool to interact differently with other people, especially across social differences.

We will start out talking about what mindfulness is, its roots in Eastern/Buddhist philosophy, and how it can be used not only for self-care, but to minimize implicit bias and create cultural inclusion. We will interactively discuss each of these topics, ask participants to bring their whole selves into the room (not just their intellects) to mindfully check in to their own bodies as they consider their own biases and embodied reactions to stereotypes, and offer solutions and strategies for culturally inclusive behavior.

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.

On the Field and Out of the Closet: LGBTQ+ Athletes Speak

A group stands and poses for the camera.

A panel of LGBTQ+ athletes will participate in a panel/Q&A for attendees, discussing their experiences as closeted/out athletes in high school and college. We’ll discuss how we can support friends, siblings and ourselves in creating an inclusive and affirming experience for everyone in the sports world.

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.

Race: A Social Construct

A student listens and smiles.

Many think of race as a biological reality, a core characteristic that has implications for things such as athletic ability, intelligence, and temperament. In reality, race is a social construct, a tool for oppression. Race also has a definitive origin story, and one that every anti-racist or social justice activist should know. Join this training to learn a brief history of racial classification in the U.S., and how it influences our mistaken perception of race today.

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.

Resolving Conflict: What I Wish I Knew in High School

A student speaks while others listen.

Have you experienced conflict in school, at work, or with family and friends? Of course, everyone has! Everyone can also learn how to deal with that conflict more constructively. We will discuss conflicts that you are experiencing and effective ways to deal with them. We will use small-group discussion and role playing to explore tools to help you address conflict in positive ways.

Restorative Practices in Schools: Closing the Equity Gap

Students sit in a circle talking.

We will practice a community building circle, and discuss the unique and dynamic ways circles are used in schools to change climate and culture. You will then do a brief activity that demonstrates the influence of perspective. You will learn how restorative practices eliminate the power differential between people, which creates equity in conflict and discipline situations. The training is interactive, relevant, and fun.

Shifting Your Perception

A group of students listens intently.

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.

The Story of Your Name

A student speaks.

From their inception, names are embedded with meaning and coded with identity, and over time, they become layered with nuance and memory. Name stories can provide us with a set of communication and interpersonal tools that address racial and ethnic disparities. Join this workshop to explore the power behind the story of your name.

Sustaining Youth Activism

Our democracy is broken, and young people are leading the fight to transform it. If we want to achieve equity in our lifetime, youth must know how to change the systems that we operate in. In this workshop we’ll be learning what it takes to create long lasting change in unjust systems and organizations.

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 25 years Joe Chavez 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.

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.

We Hold These Truths: How Diverse and Inclusive is Your US History Curriculum?

A workshop presenter leads a conversation.

US History classes across the country vary widely in the content, curriculum, and events they include and exclude. Often, it’s up to students and teachers to take initiative to teach and learn accurate, inclusive history courses in which our country’s history is not sugar-coated and people of all races and backgrounds are represented. In order to fully understand our present, students must gain a full understanding of our nation’s past, no matter how uncomfortable learning that history may be. This workshop, led by a history teachers and students, will help high school students stretch their learning beyond the textbook to make sense of our past and present. We will analyze our own history class experiences and then identify and develop plans for learning and teaching a more inclusive US History curriculum.

What do You Want to be When You Grow Up?… How the #%$& do I Know?

A student and teacher bump fists in a school meeting.

You haven’t even been alive for 20 years yet and people expect you to plan the rest of your life? Let’s be honest—trying to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life can be scary and stressful. How do you decide on a major for college? How do you know if college is the right path? What happens if you change your mind? Where do you go to college? Do you take a gap year?

Join us for this insightful, comical, and real look at what it means to plan the rest of your life. It might change your life, at least for now.

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 that 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.

Youth Homelessness: Why are You not at Home?

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.