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About Us!

Colorado 9to25 is a collective, action-oriented group of Colorado youth and adults working in partnership to align efforts and achieve positive outcomes for all youth, ages 9-25, so they can reach their full potential.

This youth system-building effort aims to ensure that:

  1. All youth are safe.
  2. All youth are physically and mentally healthy.
  3. All youth receive a quality education.
  4. All youth are connected to caring adults, school and their communities.
  5. All youth are contributing to their community (e.g. volunteering, working).
Youth make transitions through pre-, early, middle and late stages of adolescence, and each stage brings with it a new set of physical, mental and emotional challenges. While most youth successfully navigate this transition, a significant proportion takes unhealthy or dangerous risks and initiates habits that may lead to chronic illnesses in adulthood. Please share your feedback with us by clicking here.
Welcome to CO9to25.org, Colorado’s clearinghouse for ‘all things adolescent health.’ This site has been developed to provide resources and information on a variety of youth-related topics, while also connecting statewide initiatives that promote the health and well-being of all Colorado youth between the ages of 9 and 25.
  • Who we Are


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Anne-Marie Braga

Title, Organization: Population and Community Health Manager, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Young people are full of creative, smart ideas! If we give them the chance and take the time to listen, they can help us “all-knowing” adults solve the really complex problems we are dealing with. This will not only help us now, but prepare those young people for whatever tomorrow brings!

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
I want all young people to share their voice and for adults to really listen to them so we can achieve better results. 

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
I loved age 22. That is the year I discovered who I really was. I was in NYC studying social work in graduate school. I met so many different people and learned so many new things

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Audra Bishop

Title, Organization: Youth Health Specialist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
On a big scale, it is amazing to witness young people make changes to big things, like policies and the way in which adults do business, that ultimately have an impact on ALL of Colorado’s youth.  From a personal standpoint, it is indescribable to watch a young person, who may be doubted by most people in their life, give themselves permission to acknowledge their dreams and come to not only realize what they are passionate about and the great things that they are capable of, but then begin to take action and actually BECOME what they’ve once imagined was impossible.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
For so many reasons, but here are my top 3:

  • they make coming to work much more fun and creative.
  • working alongside young people helps me grow….allowing me to see things differently and think in ways that I wouldn’t have done without their vision and ideas.
  • Finally, the outcomes we get to are usually far beyond what I would have imagined if I was working on my own.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Hmmm…why does this seem so impossibly long ago?!?!  I’m not sure if it was necessarily my favorite, but 18 was probably my most memorable year.  It was 1995 and I had just graduated high school as an extremely shy and insecure young woman.  Because I wanted to get out of the town I was in, I took a summer job at Crater Lake National Park.  As I drove myself down there, and was in the final stretches of entering where I would spend my summer, I remember saying out loud to myself “I will be different here”.  Because I knew no one, I was able to be the person that I wanted to be and in turn “showed up” as a strong, confident, social butterfly.  This, at first fake confidence (fake it til you make it, right?), led me on lots of adventures that summer, including going skydiving and getting my tongue pierced…things I would have never experienced as the introvert that I previously spent 18 years being.


José Esquibel, director of the Colorado Prevention Leadership Council, receives his Ready by 21 award from Forum CEO Karen Pittman.

José Esquibel 

Title, Organization:  Director, Interagency Prevention Systems for Children and Youth/Office of Children, Youth and Families/Colorado Department of Human Services

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Helping youth explore their potential and learning more about them and myself in the process.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Adults have as much to learn from youth as youth do from adults. Youth-adult partnerships result in more relevant and exciting ideas and strategies for helping youth reach their full potential.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
In the summer of 1976, I was 18 years old and had the opportunity to travel out of the U.S. as a part of group of youth and adults. We traveled by bus and train to Guatemala to help with recovery efforts of a region of the country devastated by a major earthquake. I spent three months working with others to assist in the reconstruction of houses and buildings of small villages in high mountain areas. I learned new skills from the adults and I worked side by side with humble Guatemalan villagers. The experience was critical in the development of my values as an adult. On the downside, I watched scenes in which military personal came into villages and towns and simply picked up older boys and young men from off the streets, presumably as involuntary recruits into the national army. My three months in Guatemala, living in a tent and working on recovery efforts, was a life changing experience for me. It was a mix of hard work, times for fun, and a solid dose of the harsh reality of poverty and political oppression in a country ruled by a military regime.

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Madison Thompson

Title, Organization:  Youth Advisor, The Civic Canopy

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Being able to work with my peers and getting to learn more from them like what their life stories are and to be able to help to lift each other up when are down.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
They are important to me because they make feel like I am an integral part of something and my voice and ideas are being heard. I have learned so much from both my youth and adult partnerships and I am able to become a stronger person because of them.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
MY favorite age was 10 because I felt like I was getting older but I didn’t have so many expectations. I felt like I could enjoy my childhood while easing into becoming a young adult.

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Mae Thompson

Title, Organization:  Youth Advisor, The Civic Canopy

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Seeing the dedication of youth to create a better future is rewarding and is what inspires me to do more. So many young people in Colorado are driven to exceed what is expected, which as a young person I find inspiring. Knowing there are other youth who are active within the community makes me feel like we are all connected within all of the work.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
I have been impacted by many mentors and adults in my life. I see youth- adult partnerships as extremely impactful. I believe that both youth and adults have a lot to learn from each other. It is vital to have these partnerships in order to have open honest discussions about what is going on within the community and what a solution is.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
I have not experienced the full spectrum of ages 9 to 25, but so far I have enjoyed being 18. I feel like I am independent, but at the same time not expected to be a full adult and pay bills.


Mike Johnson

Title, Organization:  Executive Director, Project PAVE

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Youth provide a different and positive way of viewing how we can challenge our communities and society.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Youth provide an approach for adult of really looking at the “issues”. They are structural and institutional. Youth see this and while they have great ideas they need adult involvement and we adults need to clearly be ­inspired to do our own work of transformation.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Middle/high school because so much is coming into question and there is a willingness to create change.



Minna Castillo Cohen

Title, Organization: Director, Youth Success  at Mile High United Way

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Working in partnership with youth allows me the opportunity to learn from their journey and experiences, to make mutually beneficial decisions together, to serve as resources and teachers for one another and to build on each other’s strengths. I am  impressed by their resilience, thoughtfulness, creativity, and energy. I am always inspired and proud when I get the opportunity to work together with youth on a project or task that allows the youth to shine.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
When developing supportive services for youth, I believe strongly that we should do ‘nothing about them without them’. We must continue to meaningfully involve youth in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the services and supports that are intended to help them achieve their goals. When youth and adults work together, the services developed are stronger because they’re delivered in ways and in places that are accessible, welcoming, cognitively and developmentally appropriate, engaging and truly supportive.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
I actually loved being in middle school! It was the first time I started to feel some independence, had a great group of friends, found a love for performing and enjoyed learning new things from a variety of teachers. I also loved being 17 because it was the year I went away to college and excelled in school because I was choosing what I wanted to study. I liked living in the dorms and meeting a variety of people from various backgrounds. I had a great roommate that I’m still friends with to this day and it was the year I traveled on an airplane for the first time.



Nkem Nwankwo

Title, Organization: Youth Advisor, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
Colorado youth as all youth when given the opportunity are the most lively creative, awe inspiring problem solvers. It is amazing what happens when you get them in a room to discuss solutions and community improvement. As always they are always really cool, laid back, and easy to relate with. So its hard not to enjoy their company and their partnership.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Too often and too quickly youth and adult forget that their success is dependent on one another and also that at one point in time we have all experienced joys and hardship in its varying form. When youth and Adults partner with one another it resembles a gathering of vast expertise which of course works to efficiently create, improve and maintain change.

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
I loved when I was 18, I felt that the world was in the palm of my hand and all in it were for my taking. That mindset still hasn’t changed but now I am beginning to realize that the taking of all the world has to offer takers quite the  time and effort.

Sam Wood

Samuel Wood

Title, Organization: Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs Special Projects Coordinator, Youth Engagement

What is most rewarding about working with Colorado youth?
The youth leaders I work with motivate me to be a better person, teach me interpersonal and communication skills and finally set the bar inspire me as a leader and an artist.

Why are youth-adult partnerships important to you?
Solutions to community issues that work and are sustainable can only be discovered when all voices are honored. Youth are community resources that must be cultivated. They are not problems that need to be fixed

What was your favorite age between 9 to 25 and why?
Junior High. I rode my horse Bijoux every day along the banks of the Shari River. Racing across the hot sand, I felt pure freedom.

How Colorado 9to25 Works


Reaching Our Full Potential - Infographic
Reaching Our Full Potential – Infographic

Learn more about Colorado 9to25 by downloading these documents!

One Response to “About Us!”

  • Do you have a chapter in Northwest Colorado? We care for adults with disabilities and are always looking for volunteers to do fun things.

    Tommy Larson
    (970) 879-4466 x 115

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